Today I want to share with you what lies at the very heart of gratitude: The Gratitude Knot. In our workshops, this is something we explore when we look at the ‘Bind’ component of gratitude - where children learn to look for the source of the good things in their lives, and start to see the connections that bind them to each other and to Earth.
The Gratitude Knot shows us that when we look at connection, we’re really just seeing one corner of a pattern that is woven through all life on Earth (and in fact, through the universe as a whole). Because the connections that make atoms into elements, and elements into compounds, and compounds into planets and plants and bodies, and bodies into ecosystems, only have such creative potential because there is also diversity. It's the combination of connection and diversity that allows our universe to be a place of infinite possibility, and of continually unfolding evolution.
...The solar system only functions as it does because there is both connection and diversity.
...Ecosystems only work as they do because there is both connection and diversity.
...Bodies only work as they do because there is both connection and diversity.
...Families only work as they do because there is both connection and diversity.
Please take a moment to stop and marvel. (This is where we move from transmission learning to transformational learning.)
Because the whole universe is built on this pattern of connection and diversity, it means that every single part of it has profound worth. Every single aspect is significant by virtue of the fact that its differences create possibility. Every single part of the universe is significant by virtue of the fact that it is connected to everything else. Rocks, racoons, microbes, magpies, clouds, chlorophyll and clementines - each has its place in our Earth Community, and each is of indescribable worth. And not just as categories, but as particulars - it is that specific magpie hopping across my decking, and that specific clementine in my fruit bowl, that carry the incredible weight of worth.
In a universe underpinned by connection, diversity and worth, you will always belong. You occupy an utterly unique space in the universe: an inimitable combination of differences and connections, that will only ever be seen in you, and that are ever-evolving over the course of your own lifetime. Your life, as you interact and create connections in myriad ways, will leave this planet altered. Your life is one of unbounded creative potential, simply because of the interplay of your differences and connections. This makes your life on Earth of profound worth.
Again, take a moment to pause and reflect.
Connection, diversity, worth. It's the very pattern of the universe, and consequently of every expression of life on Earth. Once you see it, you'll see it everywhere. Connection. Diversity. Worth. And when you experience the meeting of those three qualities in the particulars of your life - a Magnolia tree in bloom, a child's drawing given to you as a gift, voices joining together in song - you'll notice that this is precisely the place from which gratitude arises. Gratitude grows when we experience ourselves as connected, when we recognise that it is because of our differences that we are able to enrich one another's lives, and when we perceive the worth that this bestows on the people and places with whom and within which we co-exist.
Our Connect To Nature Gratitude Resource Pack, launching later this week, helps children begin to explore this pattern for themselves, through looking at the differences, links and specialness of everything that makes up their Great Big Earth Family. Before you begin working through the pack with your children however, take some time yourself to reflect on Connection, Diversity and Worth. Learn how to tune into this pattern that underpins life on Earth, and that lies at the very heart of gratitude. To get started, download the Gratitude Knot Daily Reflections prompt sheet. Because how we nurture our own spirituality is how we will nurture our children's spirituality. It's always a journey together.
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