By Cheri Rae
It’s been quite a past few weeks on social media as the ice bucket challenge for ALS has raised an unprecedented amount of cold, hard cash to fight one wicked disease.
At last count some $100 million has been donated, thanks to the willingness of plenty of people to take the challenge and call out their friends to do the same.
It’s a cool way to make money for research and increase knowledge about a devastating disease that destroys the promising lives of individuals and families. It may change the face of fund-raising, causing many to question the need to organize fancy charity galas that cost big bucks. Maybe there’s another way to go—both for raising funds and raising awareness.
While so many were making a splash and writing checks for that challenge, there was another, quieter one making the rounds: The Seven-Day Gratitude Challenge.
Writing the check in honor of my favorite college professor who passed too soon due to ALS was one thing; soul searching for seven days of expressions of gratitude was something else. No ice cubes or freezing water, no public display on video—just taking the time to sit down, contemplate and communicate what makes life great. And then telling the world about it.
Three expressions of gratitude per day for seven days posted to your Facebook page. The first couple of days are easy: friends, family, good health, creative work. By day three or so, it’s time for deeper reflection, and by day seven, it’s a pretty good snapshot of personal values, personality, talents and interests.
More importantly, it’s become a commitment to sit down daily and take an inventory of feelings of personal gratitude, and express it. It doesn’t have to go out to the world of social media, or even a private journal. It’s the act of taking the time to slow down for some honest soul-searching, of calming the mind, listening to the inner voice and hearing the heart. And feeling grateful.
That discipline might just help make this world a better place in so many ways, even raising money and awareness, no ice buckets needed.
The Seven-Day Gratitude Challenge: I nominate you.