It all started one crisp, fall day in October 2011 when I printed 500 blank invitation postcards and distributed them locally in post offices, parks, cafés, community centers, libraries, and anywhere I could think of. I thought it might be fun for people and wondered if anyone would respond. To my delight, people did. Within three weeks, I was getting handmade postcards from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Germany, Australia... and now – almost two years later – I have thousands of responses from all over the world. In fact, I got so many postcards that I put together a number of exhibits and installations; I had the chance to share the cards in the media; I made some wonderful new friends; And I unexpectedly went through a lot of healing.
You see, about twelve years before this project began, I went through a sexual assault that I never fully processed. Still in my teens, I found the experience so upsetting that I bottled it up for the next decade... hiding behind science and philosophy to distance myself from the pain. In fact, I couldn’t even remember the whole thing until just a few years ago.
That’s why these postcards have been so healing. Not only did they help me face old hurts and wounds that kept me stuck in the past, but they were evidence that I wasn’t alone.
Because the fact of the matter is we ALL have bad things that happen to us. We each have things we regret. But the question is: What do you do about it? Do you get stuck in the drama of the experience and use it as an excuse to stay angry? Or do you use it as an opportunity to learn a little more about life, love, peace, happiness, and all the intangible qualities that make life great?
For example, shortly after this project began, due to a combination of unforeseen circumstances and the financial crunch of running a project like this, I had to let go of my car, my apartment, my friends... and literally start over. The one thing that remained, however, was my PO Box which kept revealing - day by day - more messages about gratitude.
"What Makes You Grateful?"
I just couldn't get away from this question. People kept answering it... reporters kept asking about it... and as I finally softened into it and allowed it to lead, my life began to change. Even though I was borrowing my parents' car, barely had enough to eat, and was moving from house to house, week by week, working as an overnight petsitter (which to most folks would be the bottom of the barrel), I was getting happier, things were getting easier, and I was actually becoming more peaceful. And after a year of this nomad-like existence, a door opened and my life shifted: my relationships improved, my purpose has become clear, I've fallen in love, and I've become much more accepting of myself and those around me. No longer do I relate to the idea that I am a victim... or that I am broken... or that I have anything to fix. Instead, I am uncovering an underlying goodness and grace which has been with me all along.
That's why this project isn't really about postcards or doors or anything you share with me. Instead, it's about the quality of your presence every time you choose gratitude. "What Makes You Grateful?" - this is such an important question. Because without even knowing the answer, it will roll around in your head until your heart opens, your eyes soften, and your whole life begins to reorganize.
In this way... little by little... YOU become the art and WE become the masterpiece.
Listen to the beating of your own heart.
It is speaking to you now,
waiting for you to hear it,
and to respond to its call of love.
- Anne Kubitsky
Creator & Curator of The Look for the Good Project
A video about the project created in May of 2012
Sean - the love of my life.
Learn how a daring whale rescue propelled me to switch careers (from science to art) and eventually blossomed into this project.