6 mins – Notice the subtle serendipities that move you from “I am” to “I am that.”

It’s delicate. Gratitude is about being authentic and expressing more than a simple thank you. Saying thank you is often initiated by expectation through social convention, and this expectation removes the joy and intention of the connection. If there’s an expectation that we should do it, we lose the joy of dancing with the feeling of being truly grateful. It’s an act of letting go of where this experience might go, fully immersing yourself in what it is, and discovering what it means to you. Gratitude demands sensitive awareness, and letting joy creep into those moments that catch your soul. These moments cultivate feelings of being grateful because we realize the experience and feeling of becoming aware of this thing will never happen again. And the more often you discover these feelings of being grateful, the more you’ll begin to search for them because you want to, not because you ought to.

Gratitude can be scary though, and a little mysterious. Gratitude is scary because it’s a two-way street, and gratitude must be expressed to each other. We need to slow down and notice the connection being made, see what’s right in this moment, and savor it for what it is. This expression of gratitude is a gift meant only for each other, and yet we often take it for granted and resist the urge to sit with it and show appreciation for how it came about. Gratitude is mysterious because it’s something we don’t fully understand. To better understand it, we must to get closer to it, and lean into it. As we lean into the feelings of gratitude, our hard shell of individuality begins to soften and allows joy and connection in. This connection can be as simple and powerful as receiving an encouraging smile, or an acknowledgment of the work you’ve done and a nudge to keep you going where you seek to go. As you notice and engage with these experiences, they add dimension and intention to your life. They harden your resolve and soften your outlook of where you can go from here, and then you notice all the connections that can get you from here to there.

The only way we can express gratitude and feel grateful for these connections and experiences is through unselfishness. We need to recognize that there’s a process behind what created the gratitude we’re feeling, and that someone else is creating joy and leaving a trail of possibility so someone like us can find it. The sharp lens of gratitude enables you to become aware of subtle serendipities that move you from “I am” to “I am that.” It’s our responsibility to discover who is helping us become more grateful and changing the way we imagine ourselves, and use this energy to bring us closer together. But this energy is elusive, and it takes peace and strength to hold on to it. The culture has an energy that brings us closer together and changes the way we imagine ourselves too—but in a different way. As a culture, we have a tendency to notice others who have gained higher status, created more influence, or achieved more success. Social media has levered this tendency by creating likes, and comments, and reviews to provide feedback to someone else’s creation. As we search through feedback in search of the truth, we find it easier to see the truth in the negative feedback we receive. So, we hesitate, and we shy away from vulnerability that allows us to grow. Social platforms also leverage status by labeling people influencers or top contributors giving them a higher social value than the others, which changes the way we value ourselves too. These interactions flow from top to bottom and from me to the others from a selfish point of view. It’s this selfishness that interrupts real connection, the numbs feelings of being grateful, and suppresses the expression of gratitude between each of us, and for all of us. We might not be able to change the culture, but we can always change the way in which we engage with it. There is always someone else leaving a trail of joy and possibility for us to discover, and our challenge is to find them—and then pay it forward so others can find it too.

GrayVyne is where learners become aware, it’s where they find the others. They seek those experiences that make them feel alive, and take the risk of expressing gratitude for the unselfish performance of someone else. When learners share their work, they share it with the intention of inspiring their peers to believe that someone like them can make an impact like this too. There’s no expectation of achieving status, or influence, or success. There are no likes, or ratings, or comments, or reviews. But there is a gratitude button. When something of value is delivered to someone with care, it comes packaged in pure intentions and zero expectations. Learners have a choice to dance with this gift and find comfort in letting go, and then send warmth and appreciation to the others who made it so. They choose to acknowledge the things that are complete, and acceptable, and perfectly imperfectable—and believe all these things are worthy of being grateful.