Look for the Good Project (Smithie ’05)
Probably many of you have heard about postsecret.com, which started out as a small-scale project to collect individual’s secrets, anonymously, and went viral. A 2005 Smithie* named Anne has started something in a similar tradition, called the Look for The Good Project.
As Anne describes it, the project was borne out of a time of frustration:
After graduation, I was working as a research assistant, where my job was to sit at the bottom of a coral reef in Belize and identify fish for a bio-erosion assessment. It was really fun and the sea life I encountered was so amazing that I just had to share it. So, as soon as I finished the research, I gave up my science career and trotted off to art school so I could learn how to paint. While there, I came across a fantastic news article about a whale that expressed gratitude after being released from a series of crab trap lines in California. I was so enthralled with the story that I used it as the basis for a picture book, “Graycie’s Catch.” But when the publishers wouldn’t buy it, and the book just sat on my desk, I started to get a little grumpy… actually, really grumpy. I felt aimless… directionless… and completely lost my gratitude.But then I realized: Why wait?This whole project was about gratitude, right? So, instead of focusing on getting the book published… why not just focus on being grateful? So, from that moment on, I began to play a game. Every time I got upset, every time I ran into a problem, I took the time to look for good. What was it—right now—that I could be grateful for? And even if I couldn’t see something right away, if I took the time to look… and really dig… there was always something good. That’s how my perspective began to shift.It worked so well actually that I started to invite other people to do it too… even strangers. Because in this economy… with the political upheaval we’re having… and the way the physical/mental environment is degrading… gratitude is SO important. That’s what brings us together, breaks down barriers, opens us up to creative solutions, and (as evidenced from the rescue story I came across) even unites species.That’s why I’m inviting people to take a moment to reflect on gratitude. It’s simple really. It only takes a moment. But little by little, as we look for the good, our perspectives softens… things start to shift… and the potential of the moment expands. So, even though I know how important it is to acknowledge the problems we’re having… and to experience our reactions when we have them… if we can each take the time to share a little glimmer of gladness, I think the world might be a happier, healthier place.
I agree! (And so do UC Davis scientists!) Check out the submissions (and get instructions for submitting some gratitude of your own) at LookfortheGoodProject.org. If you feel moved to support the efforts to exhibit the work, check out the project’s Kickstarter page.
*I promise that this blog is not turning into one all about the class of 2005! These are just some interesting tidbits that have come to my attention recently. If you know some that should be here, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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