The Gratitude Chain

Photo of Gilly Southwood holding a gratitude chain she made for me last week

It started with an email. Former student, colleague and fellow storyteller Abbie Simmonds wrote to me after a long gap, saying she was using the lockdown as an opportunity to express her gratitude to key people in her life. There followed some heart warming sentiments and memories, guarenteed to make the life of any teacher worth living. It’s so very rare to get to know the effect you can have in a person’s life that this email was a real gift (thank you Abbie). But it didn’t stop there. In the past weeks, I have received an outpouring of appreciation and gratitude from the past 25 years of being a storyteller and teacher. It has reminded me yet again of how, even in this time of social distancing, we all touch one another in ways we can never imagine. And we can be so creative with our gratitiude too. On a call to storyteller Gilly Southwood in Cape Town, she mentioned that she and her daughter had been making “gratitude chains” over the weekend. As they made them, they thought of all the loved and important people in their lives, each bead a person who had touched their lives. It reminded me of how a rosary might be used to send up prayers.

So it occurs to me that this might be the perfect time to start working on preparing a gratitude story or two from our lives to tell in the future. Imagine all the stories that we could pass on, creating a storytelling gratitude chain around the world. After all, what other theme could possibly be so relevent right now as we have the opportunity to slow down and appreciate all that we have? Who could I tell about? My parents, my sister, good friends all over the world, my former colleagues at the School of Storytelling, all the many people I have taught and told stories to over the past 25 years, strangers who have impacted my life without me even knowing their names – yes, a chain of gratitude spreading all over the world from my heart to yours.  


Photo of Gilly Southwood holding a gratitude chain she made for me last week.

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