Category Archives: Gratitude

My Happiness Project

I originally published this blog post on February 6, 2013,  Black, White and Gray, a blog hosted by Patheos. Click here to read the full post.

HappinessProject_bookcover“When I first started read Gretchen Rubin’s best-selling book, The Happiness Project, I thought, “Wow, she does a great job of summarizing tons on research on positive psychology in a way that is accessible and engaging. But, I mean, her life is so bourgeois! She has a happy marriage already, two lovely kids, and she lives comfortably in NYC. How applicable is her happiness project to my life or my students’ lives?”

Since I’m teaching some texts from positive psychology this semester, I asked my students to read Rubin’s book and to follow her lead and do their own happiness project. To set a good example, I started my own happiness project.  My dubiousness about Rubin faded as I realized two things. First, my own life often sounds (or is) just as bourgeois as Rubin’s. Second, her explanation of research in positive psychology and her practical tips for being happier helped me personally more than I if I had just read her book but not practiced anything new…”

Click here to read the full post.

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Haitians’ Gratitude Reminds us of the Meaning of Thanksgiving

It is appropriate Anne Barnard’s excellent coverage of Haitian Catholicism, entitled “Suffering, Haitians Turn to Charismatic Prayer,” should appear on the front page of the New York Times on Thanksgiving Day, for one of the strongest themes of Haitian Catholic Charismatic movement is gratitude. During the nearly two years of fieldwork I conducted in Haiti and the Haitian Catholic communities of Miami, Montreal and Paris, published as  Faith Makes Us Live: Surviving and Thriving in the Haitian Diaspora  (University of California Press 2009) I was struck by how Haitian Catholics, no matter how desperate their circumstances might seem like to outsiders, always expressed a profound sense of gratefulness for God’s gifts. During this holiday season, we can learn from Haitians how living in gratitude for the gifts we have received opens up our lives to be a gift to others.

To read my full comment on this article, visit the University of Notre Dame’s Contending Modernities blog.