Gratitude Guerilla Action

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E.B. White wrote, “ I arise each morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.” His conundrum is wither to save or savor the world.  Perhaps to savor, to be grateful for the world is one way to save it.

The Gratitude Guerilla Action is a walking “Thank-You”  performed throughout the City of St. Paul as a simple, non-dogmatic gesture of gratitude and a reminder of our collective good fortune. An elegant iridescent balloon with the words “thank-you” printed in white will be carried by a growing number of walkers May through October 2008.

The Gratitude Guerillas walk in an attentive focused manner along paths in parks, along lakes and rivers and on boulevards and bridges. These sites have been selected to bring the action to where people naturally gather and to avoid any sites that might be associated with a commercial venture. As these walks grow larger they are not intended to emulate a protest or organized walk-a-thons, rather the walkers are doing an ordinary daily activity carrying the balloon as an interjected gesture. The large community walks are created by very simple means: unannounced the Gratitude Guerillas will set up on a busy walking path and give away 500 “thank-you” balloons to walkers so that through out the day balloons will visibly flow around the lake or along the river and out into the community.

The primary aesthetic of this project is to reflect the quiet, inner nature of gratitude. For example the subtle white-on white design of the balloon whispers “thank-you”, as well it is light and buoyant like the feeling of gratefulness. And although the action is intended to be ubiquitous in the community it specifically avoids being loud or grandiose. The understated balloon, the gradual growing presence of the walkers, and the grassroots organizational structure are all designed to emulate the humble, generous spirit of gratitude.

The intention of this project is to infuse the community with a constant and contemplative presence of gratitude. The goal is to unobtrusively enjoin the community in creating a beautiful and memorable image in public spaces. The expectation is to raise awareness of our good fortune and inspire conversation about how gratitude can create a generous, resilient and strong community.