Gratefulness is like a soul movement which is contagious and bonds humanity – family, friend or strangers – instantaneously and without judgement and there are no wrong answers.

What is a grateful day? What is grateful living? What are you grateful for? These are questions that inspire many different answers and it is in the asking of these questions that the greatest insights, joys and treasures become clear, both for the speaker and the listener. This proved true for me when I had a chance to ask some friends these questions without allowing them to overthink, rehearse or over-analyze their answers. I invited them to speak and reflect from the heart — in just one take — because it is when we allow our minds and hearts to connect naturally with the subject of gratitude that it leads most honestly to what gratifies us in the moment and the now. It was in asking these questions of my friends that I received so many precious gifts from them.

Sheila responds to the question: What is “a grateful day” to you?

However, there is another powerful way to deepen our gratitude practice — by looking outside ourselves and bearing witness tenderly to the experiences of others.

Gratitude practices are rituals that are not always shared out loud. For instance, some of us may start the day in meditation or quiet prayer or greet the day with thanks for opening our eyes. During the day, we may have a fleeting thought that gives us joy or we might end our day by writing our thankful thoughts in a journal which may, or may not, be read again. However, there is another powerful way to deepen our gratitude practice — by looking outside ourselves and bearing witness tenderly to the experiences of others.

Mark reflects on gratitude, gratefulness…and music.

Over the years I’ve been lucky to have a circle of friends with whom I’ve shared a bond through cultivating mindfulness practices like meditation (walking and sitting), creative arts, nature walks and compassionate outreach and volunteer work. At a recent gathering in New England, I kicked off our gathering by asking everyone to close their eyes and listen to the powerful message in A Grateful Day and followed it up by inviting some in our circle to share what inspires gratefulness in their lives.

Barbara shares what makes her feel grateful in the day.

I watched and listened to each person ease into a sense of calm and peace as they reflected on the simplest joys, life experiences and moments that were special for them.

As each person (Sheila, Mark and Barbara) reflected out loud I could feel a sense of awe and calm wash over me. I watched and listened to each person ease into a sense of calm and peace as they reflected on the simplest joys, life experiences and moments that were special for them. They spoke of things to which anyone could relate and feel connected. It was in listening to their stories that I was reminded of a powerful lesson;  gratefulness is like a soul movement which is contagious and bonds humanity – family, friend or strangers – instantaneously and without judgement and there are no wrong answers. I found myself nodding in agreement at every word my friends said and realized that sharing gratitude reflections out loud is more valuable than keeping them to ourselves. In these clips I introduce three amazing people from my circle of friends. May you enjoy their voices of gratitude as much as I did.


We invite you to share a story about yourself or another person, reflecting on the question: “How has gratefulness shifted a moment, an experience, or a lifetime?”

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Stories of Grateful Living
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Adetola Abiade

Adetola Abiade

About the author
Adetola Abiade serves on the Board of A Network for Grateful Living and is an Executive Director of Organizational Effectiveness in Consumer and Commercial Banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co, with 20 years of experience driving global business transformation, organizational development, technology, innovation and intrapreneurship initiatives for startup, not-for-profit and Fortune 500 companies. Her other skills and interests include mentoring, singing/performing arts, travel, writing, community partnership and volunteering.