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EINHORN COLLABORATIVE
In the season of gratitude

Dear Friends,
 

Daylight Savings is never a popular time of year. Yet, somehow falling back this November didn’t bring with it my usual gripes. Perhaps it’s that my children are growing older and a bit more independent (meaning, they can each fill a bowl of Cheerios on their own and turn on a screen without adult assistance). Or perhaps it’s my own age catching up to me, as I’ve lost the ability to sleep in and instead revel in the joy of a few extra minutes of calm before the morning frenzy of getting everyone out the door. As the days grow shorter and colder, I’m reminded of the importance of practicing gratitude.

In a dark month in a challenging year in what seems determined to be a “VUCA” decade, gratitude for all the bright spots in my life — big, small, and teeny-tiny — is what helps shift my attitude from a sense that I need to power through to get to some unknown stress-free place, to instead take a big deep breath, notice what’s around me in the present, and truly relish the gifts right before my eyes.

Bright pink begonias. A great night’s sleep. Grandma Esther’s “Magic Soup.” Nail art. A call from a dear friend. My health. Long hugs from my kids after being away. Sweater weather. A morning without rushing. Making up after a fight.

These are a smattering of entries over the last few weeks in my five-minute journal, answering the first prompt: Three things I am grateful for...

Over five-years ago, a member of my “circle of trust” shared her experience using the journal. She took it out of her bag, showing us the well-worn pages in the front half with the soon-to-be filled out daily pages that followed. “Everyone has five minutes,” she argued. ”And really, it’s only three in the morning and two at night.” Then, she said: “It’s worth it. I promise.”

Following the gratitude prompt comes: “What would make today great?” — a seemingly simple question that always forces me to pause and reflect on what matters most. Sometimes I’m surprised by what emerges. Not the high-priority tasks on my to-do list, but rather the feelings I hope to experience that day: enjoying the walk to work. Staying calm during a challenging meeting. Extra snuggle time putting my kids to bed.

It’s then in the evening that I’m faced with its counterquestion: “Three amazing things that happened today...” It’s remarkable how many days these two play off one another, where my intention set in the morning becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Ever since this daily practice was shared with me, it’s been in my life, albeit, in fits and starts. Sometimes the world’s woes rightly demand upset and outrage. Giving myself the permission to feel the full range of human emotions, including the negative ones induced by challenge, is just as important as finding the serenity of gratitude. However, those are often the days I miss and I fall out of the routine. Sometimes, when I notice I'm feeling particularly “glass half empty,” I realize I’ve lapsed. But documenting the bright spots in my life helps me remember why I’m here. And when I forget, it’s simply time to start again. No judgement.

Like my friend, I started first with the hardbound book. Now, I use the digital app on my phone. It’s one of the only notifications I allow — reminders for how to start and close my days well. The digital version gives me the ability to include photos, where my gratitude is best captured in an image rather than words. A sunset. The curl cascading down my daughter’s forehead. That tiny brown fleck in my son's bright blue eyes. Our dog’s unseemly back-sleeping position.



The daily practice closes with the question: “How could you have made the day better?”

While I enjoy flipping through my gratitude entries, it’s the answers I write to this question that I return to most. Some are self-care reminders: going for a walk or getting a manicure. But most are about the people in my life. Following up with a teammate after a misunderstanding. Not raising my voice in exasperation the 10th time I asked my daughter to brush her teeth. These entries are never about office work (clearing out my inbox or checking off a to do). Rather, they’re reminders of the moments of human connection I missed out on or longed for.

As we move into this season of Thanksgiving, I invite you to join me in this five-minute practice. It’s a gift that was given to me that I hope becomes a gift to you, too. It’s helped me hold onto and fully see the beautiful people, kind words, constructive criticism, and audacious achievements that fill my days.

Many of my gratitude entries this fall encompass aspects of returning to the office and being together — in the same physical location — as my remarkable colleagues. I am immensely grateful for the chance to once again be together in real life. Coworking with awesome people working hard on difficult problems together is such a joy. This month, my colleagues Nick Kusner and Lucie Addison will leave us, Lucie returning home to Australia and Nick moving on to new adventures. They have had a transformative impact on Einhorn Collaborative, and I will miss them both.

I am also grateful to have the wise counsel of Rachel Godsil and Dr. Sandra Chapman at Perception Institute, who have been helping our team navigate the complexity of our journey towards more deeply understanding racism and belonging. In addition to being willing to complicate the narrative, I am always seeking to learn more about myself and the world. Both Rachel and Dr. Chap have taught me so much, and I am grateful for our remarkable team accompanying me on this journey.
 

This month, we went Through the Prism with Becky Margiotta, a great teacher of mine and I know many of yours too! Becky’s experience ranges from helping 100,000 homeless people get off the street and into homes to creating Billions Institute and the Skid Row School of Large-Scale Social Change, that I was fortunate enough to attend many years ago. I am grateful to Becky for changing the way I see myself and understand the world. If you don’t know Becky or her work, I encourage you to embrace her wisdom and experience in her forthcoming book, Impact with Integrity: Repair the World Without Breaking Yourself. You can pre-order Becky’s book, and read more about her, below.  
 

In this newsletter, you also have access to great insights from across our team and partners. Our Bonding Lead Ira Hillman reflects on World Prematurity Day (November 17), as a parent and also as the person leading our efforts to advance specialized nurture interventions for the 10 percent of American babies born prematurely. Our Building Lead Jonathan Gruber writes about the concept of shared humanity and practical, research-backed ways to see our shared humanity in a new light. Resources below cover the themes of gratitude as we move into the holiday season.  
 

We invite you to start your gratitude journey with Greater Good In Action or sign up for Braver Angels’ new social media workshop to learn how to engage across difference. Explore how we might approach fixes to the world’s problems, and learn how laughter is one of the best antidotes to conflict. Get a jump on holiday giving: check out The Gratitude Project. Or for the changemaker in your life: the Greater Good Toolkit.
 

Thank you to everyone who has given us feedback on this newsletter. As we move into the new year, we will continue to seek to serve this growing community in meaningful and powerful ways.  
 

I wish you a restful and restorative Thanksgiving holiday.  
 

With gratitude, 

Jenn 

 

Jenn Hoos Rothberg 

Executive Director, Einhorn Collaborative

Through the Prism
with Becky Margiotta

 
Our Reflections on
Human Connection & Belonging
Healing the Trauma of Premature Birth
OUR BONDING LEAD IRA HILLMAN SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE AS A PARENT OF A PREMATURE INFANT IN HONOR OF WORLD PREMATURITY DAY, AND VITAL INTERVENTIONS FOR PRE-TERM BABIES. 
Our Shared Humanity: What Is It and How Can We See It?
OUR BUILDING LEAD JONATHAN GRUBER REFLECTS ON THESE QUESTIONS ALONGSIDE THE FINDINGS OF DEEP SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND LONG-HELD SOCIAL PRACTICES THAT CAN HELP US MORE CLEARLY SEE OURSELVES IN ONE ANOTHER. 
In the Season of Gratitude
OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JENN HOOS ROTHBERG SHARES HER PERSONAL PRACTICE OF GRATITUDE ALONGSIDE SO MANY THINGS SHE (AND EACH OF US) HAS TO BE GRATEFUL FOR.
Resources and Inspiration
DISCOVER | Your Pathway to Happiness
Greater Good Science Center offers a tailored service that can serve to jumpstart your journey to a more meaningful life through weekly science-based practices. Once you answer a few questions about yourself and your goals, GGSC will send you weekly updates that are just for you!
LEARN | Braver Angels Skills for Social Media
Social media posts are often highly polarizing. Braver Angels Skills for Social Media is a new workshop designed to improve the culture of posts and conversations in social media and provide a constructive alternative to the polarized and judgmental exchanges that dominate the current discourse.
READ | If We Can Report on the Problem, We Can Report on the Solution
Tina Rosenberg and David Bornstein, two solutions journalists, discuss, in their final New York Times column ‘Fixes,’ how to fix the world’s problems. (Hint: The world (mostly) doesn’t need new inventions. It needs better distribution of what’s already out there.) 
READ | Laughing: The Second Most Powerful Tool in Conflict
Amanda Ripley, author of High Conflict, shares how levity and laughter can help bolster our ability to address conflict among those with whom we disagree.
READ & TRY | Baking with Children: How Chores Make Kids Resilient 
Preparing meals and cleaning the house can be meaningful ways to spend time with our kids. If we make chores activities of connection, we can turn the mundane into something meaningful. Here are some tips from the Nurture Science Program at Columbia University to help parents  to help parents turn the mundane into activities that are both helpful and connecting.
READ (OR GIVE) | The Gratitude Project
Gratitude is powerful: not only does it feel good, it’s also been proven to increase our well-being in myriad ways. The result of a multiyear collaboration between Greater Good Science Center and Robert Emmons of the University of California, Davis, The Gratitude Project explores gratitude’s deep roots in human psychology—how it evolved and how it affects our brain—as well as the transformative impact it has on creating a meaningful life and a better world.

GIVE | The Gift of Greater Good

Made in collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, this toolkit includes 30 science-based practices for a meaningful life.

Join The Great Thanksgiving Listen!

Every holiday season, StoryCorps’ The Great Thanksgiving Listen encourages people of all ages to record a conversation with a loved one, where they ask each other meaningful questions about their lives. This holiday season, whether virtually or in person, you can record a conversation using StoryCorps’ free recording tools: StoryCorps Connect and the StoryCorps App. With both participants’ permission, conversations become part of the StoryCorps archives at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. These stories contribute to the oral history of our nation and ensure the wisdom of our loved ones are preserved for future generations.

Check out the five steps to participate.

P.S.: And because the holidays can come with a mix of emotions, here's OpenMind's10-minute guide with 3 science-backed steps to navigate difficult conversations.

See our humanity in a new light
  
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