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November 24, 2019

Guests having breakfast at hotel restaurant

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”   

~ Willie Nelson

In This Edition
• Adding Rocket Fuel to Gratitude
• Invitation for YOU to experience Radical Inclusion in Action (FREE!)

Adding Rocket Fuel to Gratitude
We’ve all heard the research – study after study after study tells us that expressing gratitude is good for our wellbeing.

You may already have some form of gratitude practice. If so, you have likely felt how instantly that practice can change how you feel – the brain chemistry that is kicked into gear when we focus on gratitude. (And here's a study about that!)

The purpose of this week’s Try This exercise is about deepening that practice. And if you are new to gratitude practice, this is a great place to start!

Try this:
The first step in this week’s practice will be familiar to many of you. And while that step is powerful on its own, the rocket fuel comes from adding Steps 2 and 3.

Step 1: Be Grateful
At the end of each day, find at least one thing for which you are grateful, and note that thing out loud or in writing. 

There is something powerful in using your words - your voice, your writing - to say something vs. just thinking it. So say it out loud, or write it down:

Today, I am grateful for ______________.

You might do this by yourself, as you head home from work. You might do it with family members around the dinner table.

There are days when this feels easy, when those good things are obvious. Then there are those days when it feels like the only thing you’re grateful for is that the day is over. And that’s ok!

The practice is to find those things, big and small, for which you are grateful, and to say them out loud, to yourself or to others.

Step 2: What Caused That?
From there, ask yourself, “What led to that thing for which I’m grateful? What conditions created that result?”

If it weren’t for ____________, I wouldn’t have / feel / be the thing you’re grateful for .

Example: I am so grateful for meeting Shayla and the possibility of working on a project with her. If it weren't for Jaime introducing us, we never would have met!


I was able to have / feel / be    the thing you’re grateful for    because _________ made that possible.

Example: I was able to be in a good mood all morning because we were all laughing at breakfast.

You can stop here, seeing that one thing caused the next. Or you can dive in, moving backwards to establish the whole chain of events. To do that, simply ask the question over again, this time showing gratitude for the one-step-removed condition that led to the ultimate result.

"What led to Jaime introducing us? And who is it that introduced me to Jaime?" As you realize that meeting Shayla was dependent on the small choices of so many people, you will move beyond just this one incident, to feel grateful for the entire chain of cause-and-effect that led to that moment.

Step 3: Express Gratitude for All Those Causes and Effects
Once you realize that the things for which you are grateful are the result of many causes, you can express gratitude for each of the people who contributed to your day.

“If it weren’t for my husband feeling silly, we wouldn’t have been laughing at breakfast. And he was feeling silly because he watched the YouTube of that baby laughing before he came to breakfast. I’m so grateful for the person who posted that video, making it possible for him to see it. They must really love their baby!” 

If you practice this for even just a few minutes several times a week, you will begin noticing the interdependence of life all around you. You will begin listening through the lens of gratitude - a big part of Catalytic Listening. And you will begin seeing the interwoven threads that are essential for Catalytic Decision-making. It quickly becomes clear that gratitude is a big part of what makes Catalytic Thinking so catalytic!

So this week, practice seeing the cause-and-effect of the good things in your life. And as you notice what happens as a result of that simple step, stop by the Catalytic Thinking in Action community at Facebook, to let us all know what you find!

Resources to Support Your Practice
These resources will help you add rocket fuel to your gratitude practice:

  • WATCH: Psychology professor Robert Emmons on the Power of Gratitude to Change Your Life. Watch here...
  • READ: What is the best thank you gift you ever received? Great ideas here...
  • LISTEN: Christy McGill and Rhonda Lorch talk about embedding gratitude into every aspect of your work, whatever that work may be. Listen here...

Experience Radical Inclusion in Action!
At Creating the Future, we practice radical openness in our work. That means that anyone who is interested in a topic is invited to participate in our strategic decisions.

In December, there are 3 opportunities to participate in those conversations, all guided by Catalytic Thinking!

Board / Community Meeting
Topic: Blowing Up Traditional Governance and Starting Over
Monday, December 9th 10am-12noon Pacific time
Info is at this link

Communications Strategy Meetings
Topic: Using Catalytic Thinking to Develop a Communications & Engagement Strategy for Creating the Future
Wednesday, December 11th: 10am-12noon Pacific time
Thursday, December 12th: 8:30 am - 10:30 am Pacific time
Info is at this link 

* NOTE: Please feel comfortable attending
   one or both sessions. We want your perspectives! 

As with any new practice, the most effective way to learn is to "just do it." We hope you will join us for one or more of these opportunities!

Want to learn alongside other people who are also trying out Catalytic Thinking practices? Join our Catalytic Thinking in Action community on Facebook - a welcoming place where you can ask questions and learn from people like you who are experimenting with these practices. We look forward to seeing you there!

Help Keep Our Programs Freely Available
Most of the programs at Creating the Future are free or low cost, with liberal tuition assistance when they aren’t.

If you find our programs of benefit, we hope you will consider contributing, to help keep these programs available to as many people as possible.   Donate here ...

eJournal Archives:
If you’re new to our eJournal, or just want to remind yourself of past practice exercises we’ve shared, check out our eJournal archives here.

Creating the Future
is a collection of people around the world supporting each other in a grand experiment:
To determine how much more humane the world could be
if the systems that guide our work and our lives 
were rooted in questions that bring out the best in each of us.

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