Our fifth episode of Project Give Back Connects happened to fall on the eve of the American Thanksgiving. We were shown that there is still so much to be grateful for and appreciate. This episode was about both appreciation and mindfulness. With 2020 as a prime example, we can’t control what happens around us, but we can take control of our thoughts, our words and our actions. Often it takes a blow, for us to truly learn this lesson. But it shouldn’t, because being grateful and appreciative is a mindset and an art that once practised can be life-changing.
Meet Marianne Altschul, a mindful psychotherapist, holistic life coach, a motivational speaker, yoga and meditation teacher. She has devoted her professional life to helping people learn to use self regulatory tools to cope.
Marianne shared that gratitude translates to all aspects of life and it is transformative. It can change the neurochemistry of your brain; If you change a habit, it will improve your health. Then, she introduced a game which brought to light our bad habit of looking at the negative; a negativity bias. Marianne showed us that we must retrain our brain to look for what is going right. “You have eyes and you can see, you have ears and you can hear…there is so much that you have that is going right.”
Marianne also took us through a mindfulness exercise involving imagery and breathing. The exercise taught us to “water the things that are going well, so they will grow”. Then, Marianne shared tips to enhance gratitude practice including; creating a gratitude journal, sharing appreciation with a partner and yourself, writing a thank you note, or even having a gratitude rampage. In other words, if someone irks you, learn to, “water the flowers, not the weeds”.
Next, we were introduced to Abby and Sarah; 16 year old identical twins who have been performing together since they were 9 years old. This is their second “Ellen” show appearance, having actually performed on the Ellen DeGeneres show. These talented young ladies shared their own wisdom, by reminding us not to get caught up in the little things and forget what is truly important. Then, they treated us to a live performance of their original song, ‘Believe’.
Alex Seligman is a student who has been passionate about philanthropy ever since he was young. He spoke about his philanthropic journey and his involvement with causes like ‘Compete for the Cure’ and ‘Parasport Ontario’. He urged us all to put our passion towards giving back to the community, to get involved and appreciate all that we have. By following his passion, Alex was inspired to start up his own initiatives. The first initiative was a golf tournament, ‘Fore the Boys’. More recently, he created a sledge hockey tournament at Western University. Alex hopes that in time, his contributions will help make a big impact. We already know they have! He aptly ended with a quote from Booker T.Washington, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others”.
Lindsay @one2give gave us a weekly challenge: to show appreciation for seniors or those living alone. If there is a senior nearby, send a letter, offer to do anerrand, check in or simply just visit. Lindsay also informed us that we can send letters and messages through lettersagainstisolation.com
Feeling gratitude and appreciation for all we do are key values to get us through these tough times. We are so grateful to all of you!