The happiest pair of gloves in the world

April 26, 2011 by
Filed under: Social Brain, Social Economy 

What a wonderful surprise!

I arrived into work this morning to find a mysterious parcel containing…a pair of black thinsulate gloves.

 

I hadn’t ordered them, and I am unlikely to need them for a while, but they nevertheless filled me with joy.

Here is why:

1) They were a token of gratitude from dothegreenthing.com for whom I wrote a blog a few weeks ago in my capacity as a chess grandmaster. I had forgotten all about it. They say swift gratitude is the sweetest, but sometimes belated gratitude is better, because it makes you feel that the value of whatever you are being thanked for is enduring.

2) The gift was part of dothegreenthing’s ‘glove love‘ campaign which encourages people to send in single gloves wherever they are found. So many are received that they quickly find pairs. Then they are washed, and sent back out into the world. In my case, one was ‘rescued from’ Victoria park and the other from London Eye. They were washed and matched by Lebinh, to whom I am grateful.

3) This cycle of action was a series of gift exchanges, and began when Katee Hui of Dothegreenthing.com came to give a short lunchtime talk to the RSA. She heard about my chess background and asked me to write a blog about chess being a pleasurable and environmentally friendly activity. After a reminder of two, I gladly did so, and latched on to Earth Hour as the narrative hook.

4) Gratitude is a very powerful emotion. We feel good when we are thanked, but we feel even better when we take time to feel grateful. Of all the meditative practices I have tried, a guided gratitude meditation made the biggest impact…going back from the present moment to thank parents, the widwives who helped bring you in to the world, the people who cared for you when you were helpless, your first teachers, your friends, your doctors…if you keep going on like this you soon find yourself welling up with gratitude…which is a wonderfully affirming experience.

So the next time you see a single glove…think of all the gratitude you have the power to create.

 

Comments

  • Louise Thomas

    Nice blog Jonathan! I frequently feel grateful but it tends to be in the abstract (for my health, for the lovely sunny weather at the weekend, that I have such good friends) which is a bit odd considering I don’t believe in a higher power. In fact it’s a bit of a cop out. You’ve inspired me to be grateful more frequently toward specific people.

    Trouble is that my overriding urge is now to go out a buy them little presents to demonstrate my gratitude – should our society establish better, more ethical and less consumerist ways of showing gratitude a la Do The Green Thing’s gesture to you? New norms of reciprocity that don’t involve material things…any ideas?

    • Jonathanrowson

      Thanks Louise, I think yes is the answer- at least we should try. People are much more moved by the gift of time than commodities, so making something e.g. cakes, is a good idea…
      So gloves and cakes…a new strategy for saving the world.

      • http://twitter.com/RJDaddow Rebecca Daddow

        Hmmm, although not the best strategy for saving the waistline or in driving down the obesity ‘crisis’, Jonathan!

        It came as something of a sad realisation that I was really chuffed when a complete stranger said ‘happy easter’ to me over the weekend as I was toddling along the street in the sunshine. A simple gesture of friendliness and community – that I’m told was commonplace in times gone by – made me smile for hours.

        Showing gratitude in a meaningful way e.g. taking the time to reiterate thanks in an email or to text ‘I just wanted to say again, thank you’ or a phone call, makes all the difference. I am a fan of gifts, chocolate, anything shiny really… but often it’s just someone going that extra little bit makes all the difference in the world.

        In the immortal words of Newton Faulkner:

        “It’s just an observation I can’t ignore
        That people should smile more”

  • http://ladyfi.wordpress.com Lady Fi

    I wish someone would do the same with single socks! ;-)

    Great post.

    • Jonathanrowson

      Alas, nobody knows where the sock pairs have gone. Indeed the inexplicable pervasiveness of single socks is arguably the strongest argument we have for invisible aliens in our midst.

  • Louise Thomas

    Nice blog Jonathan! I frequently feel grateful but it tends to be in the abstract (for my health, for the lovely sunny weather at the weekend, that I have such good friends) which is a bit odd considering I don’t believe in a higher power. In fact it’s a bit of a cop out. You’ve inspired me to be grateful more frequently toward specific people.

    Trouble is that my overriding urge is now to go out a buy them little presents to demonstrate my gratitude – should our society establish better, more ethical and less consumerist ways of showing gratitude a la Do The Green Thing’s gesture to you? New norms of reciprocity that don’t involve material things…any ideas?

    • Jonathanrowson

      Thanks Louise, I think yes is the answer- at least we should try. People are much more moved by the gift of time than commodities, so making something e.g. cakes, is a good idea…
      So gloves and cakes…a new strategy for saving the world.

      • http://twitter.com/RJDaddow Rebecca Daddow

        Hmmm, although not the best strategy for saving the waistline or in driving down the obesity ‘crisis’, Jonathan!

        It came as something of a sad realisation that I was really chuffed when a complete stranger said ‘happy easter’ to me over the weekend as I was toddling along the street in the sunshine. A simple gesture of friendliness and community – that I’m told was commonplace in times gone by – made me smile for hours.

        Showing gratitude in a meaningful way e.g. taking the time to reiterate thanks in an email or to text ‘I just wanted to say again, thank you’ or a phone call, makes all the difference. I am a fan of gifts, chocolate, anything shiny really… but often it’s just someone going that extra little bit makes all the difference in the world.

        In the immortal words of Newton Faulkner:

        “It’s just an observation I can’t ignore
        That people should smile more”

  • http://ladyfi.wordpress.com Lady Fi

    I wish someone would do the same with single socks! ;-)

    Great post.

    • Jonathanrowson

      Alas, nobody knows where the sock pairs have gone. Indeed the inexplicable pervasiveness of single socks is arguably the strongest argument we have for invisible aliens in our midst.