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What a year! There is no doubt, 2021 has been tough for many. However, much like life, the year has been one of highs as well as lows. So, with an attitude of gratitude, we here at CoE are pleased to bring you a round-up of some of the great things that have happened in 2021 - the good, the glad, and the unbelievably wholesome - in our Gratitude Journal.

Our 2021 Global Gratitude Journal

We are grateful that…

  1. Conflict was met with kindness. For example, $6 million was raised in one day on Reddit in order to rescue Afghans and activists targeted by the Taliban.
  2. The response to sustainable living on our planet is improving. This year, it was announced that, in 2020, Europe generated more electricity through renewable sources than fossil fuels for the first time in history. Mother Nature is doing her bit to repair some damage, too. In the Australian oceans, 2021’s annual coral reef spawning was spectacularly successful, resulting in billions of babies that literally spawned new hope for the dying reef.
  3. The coral reefs spawning as part of a gratitude journal entry.

  4. We finally got to celebrate the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics! And what a display of incredible human strength it was. Take 17-year-old Beatrice de Lavalette who lost both legs below the knee in a 2016 terror attack in Brussels. This year, however, she competed as part of the American Para-Equestrian team. Hers is just one of many inspirational stories.
  5. Animals continue to bring joy to our world. In Los Angeles, a pet rescue rate of more than 90% was achieved this year, officially making it a ‘no-kill’ city.
  6. Racism is being addressed on the world stage. For example, the US made Juneteenth a federal holiday after decades of campaigning and the Black Lives Matter movement was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
  7. A BLM activist is part of a gratitude journal entry.

  8. There is renewed hope in the fight against HIV/AIDS thanks to a vaccine that showed a 97% response rate. While the vaccine is still in Phase I and has a long way to go before it can be widely distributed, it demonstrates innovation and progress.
  9. The Bank of England revealed the new face of £50 notes – the pioneer mathematician and codebreaker, Alan Turing, whose work to decipher Enigma machine messages during World War II saved countless lives and helped bring the war to an end sooner. He’s often thought of as the Father of Computing.
  10. Diverse voices are being championed. Nomadland director, Chloé Zhao, made history by becoming the first Asian woman to win a Golden Globe for best director and only the second woman ever to win an Oscar for best director. Riz Ahmed became the first Muslim actor and Steve Yeun was the first Asian-American actor to be nominated for an Oscar.
  11. People are fighting for what is right. For example, footballer and activist Marcus Rashford and his fans have given out more than 21 million meals to combat child poverty this year. Other athletes, including tennis players Emma Raducanu and Naomi Osaka, made headlines for championing good mental health and wellbeing for all, bravely speaking out in the face of media pressure and becoming excellent role models along the way.
  12. The beauty of the world perseveres. We enjoyed some incredible natural wonders, including the super-bright Perseid Meteor Shower and 12 full moons including three supermoons — the Full Pink Moon in April, the Full Flower Moon in May, and the Full Strawberry Moon in June, all signifying new opportunities for a fresh start.

A supermoon is part of a gratitude journal entry.

It’s always reassuring to hear positive news from around the world at a time when the media seems full of darkness. But, what about our day-to-day trials and tribulations? We know it’s been a hard time for many of you, our students, as well. So, we asked members of the Centre of Excellence Study Group to share some things they feel grateful for as they look back at 2021, too. Here’s what they said.

The Students of CoE Gratitude Journal 2021

Helen Lilley, CoE Student

“Being born with a disability and developing numerous other health conditions throughout your life, leaving you housebound and pretty much cut off from normal life, is tough. But it would have been so much tougher if it wasn't for the angel that is my mum. She's not just a normal mum, but my carer and best friend and I’m grateful to her for her love and support each and every day!”

Animals like this happy dog are represented by this gratitude journal entry.

Deb Ashton, CoE Student

“I’m grateful for the two great dog trainers we found this year. They have both helped to make my rescue dog a more confident little girl. I’m also grateful for the new friends we’ve both made at our Mantrailing and Scentwork classes. But most of all I’m grateful to my dog, Roxy, for making me laugh every single day.”

Sandie Ashing, CoE Student

“I am grateful for life. For every day when I wake up and the world is made new. One year ago, I nearly died, so every day I am thankful. I am grateful for my health, and that of all my family, that we have Zoom video and I can see and speak to my kids and grandkids in the UK even if I can’t physically hug them. I am grateful for this community of students, helping each other and supporting each other, and I am grateful to CoE for the number of courses that somehow magically fell into my basket again this year! I am grateful for learning so much and being able to share and pass on that knowledge to help others.”

Healing is represented by this gratitude journal entry.

Adam Stanley Costec-Goodrum, CoE Student

“I am very grateful for all of the new skills I have learnt and put into practice within my holistic services; aura and chakra healing, crystal healing, and reiki. I am thankful for all that I have learnt about myself whilst studying these subjects! I am thankful for my family and friends’ support and for my loving partner who gives so much time and care to me. I’m thankful for being nominated for the Centre of Excellence Awards. So much to be thankful for! Thank you, Centre of Excellence!”

Cat Cowan, CoE Student

“I am very grateful that I have been able to still work during another lockdown and also be able to continue to learn new skills, some of which might turn from a hobby into a side hustle in the next year. Thank you CoE for the great content you provide.”

Donna Harding, CoE Student

“I’m really grateful for the Candle Making Business Diploma Course, which has helped me add candles to my craft business. The only problem is that I have been so busy I haven’t had time to continue my other courses. I’m hoping things calm down a bit in the new year so I can look forward to finishing my Nutrition course and then begin the Calligraphy course. And then the Social Media course, so I can promote myself. So much to learn, so little time! Thank you, CoE!”

A gratitude journal entry.

Clare Birnie, CoE Student

“I'm grateful for CoE. I haven't been allowed to work since last October, because I cannot wear a mask. CoE has allowed me to do some very interesting courses that have helped me keep my mind active and given me a renewed feeling of purpose.”

Caz Pease, CoE Student

“I'm so grateful for the opportunity to retrain during lockdown – giving me peace of mind that if ever I was to lose my job (which I did for a very short time), I would be able to commence my own holistic practice. I still have a little way to go before I've learned everything I want to but I am well on the way to a new career working on something I'm passionate about. Thank you, CoE!”

David Holder, CoE Student

“I’m thankful for you guys having two courses that will help me feel more comfortable writing my book and it’s definitely helped expand my knowledge in an area of history I already knew a decent chunk about.”

A man writing a gratitude journal entry.

Anji Kolodziejczyk, CoE Student

“I'm grateful for being able to study at home, at my own pace and when it suits family life. It gave me new and more knowledge of leading a better life as well as family life. What started as an escape turned into a small home business, Angela's Serenity. After my baby groups stopped through the lockdown, I felt lost but I regained a new adventure thanks to CoE.”

Sascha Smith-Allum, CoE Student

“I’ve been grateful for the obstacles I’ve faced and overcome over the last year and, as a result, I’m happy to finally be stabilising my life and making my own path forward!”

Kathy Hull, CoE Student

“I’m grateful for being able to make sense of music theory after all these years of playing by ear. I started playing guitar and piano aged 9. I’m now 62. What an achievement!”

Playing music is part of the CoE gratitude journal for 2021.

Shirley Caroline Russell, CoE Student

“I am grateful that CoE provides many affordable courses to enable self-improvement. I am also grateful that I found out about CoE. Thank you.”

Catherine Walker, CoE Student

“I am grateful for Centre of Excellence and the high-quality, good-value courses on offer...I am still struggling with high anxiety and low mood but feel sure I will conquer them over time with the support of a positive mindset and new friendships in the Centre Of Excellence Study Group. Thank you all!”

Kiri-Ann Liddle, CoE Student

“I'm grateful that my Criminology Diploma Course gave me a shoulder to lean on in applying for university. As COVID struck in my key experience years where, otherwise, I would've been gaining experience to add to my application, my course became the best thing I had going for me. And thanks to that, I was offered places at all five universities I applied to within three weeks of submission.”

Lifelong education is part of the CoE gratitude journal for 2021.

Elizabeth Creagh, CoE Student

“I'm grateful that the universe has heard my voice and I am now able to retire from the workforce and devote my energies to my writing and other creative pursuits. I will be able to complete my writing courses and the candle making course now. I'm also grateful for the free audio course I found in my list of courses. It is about something I knew nothing about but I have discovered it is going to be most valuable in developing characters when I write. So, thank you for that, CoE.

“The universe has also provided me with the chance to find beautiful sapphires. I now own a sapphire mining claim that, with a lot of hard work, I should find sapphire stones that I can get cut so I can make jewellery. At almost 65, it seems that, if you hang in there long enough, your dreams do come true.”

Some sapphires are part of a CoE student's gratitude journal for 2021.

As we welcome in the new year, we hope these stories serve as a gentle reminder that there is always hope in times that may feel hopeless, and always some positives to be found.

With this attitude of gratitude, we ring in the new year and say: Bring on 2022!

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