Earlier this year, Laura Lavigne awoke from a vivid dream about contagious red hearts. In the dream, anyone who received a red heart was filled with a deep sense of peace. The hearts were spreading quickly throughout the world. This vision of something that “went viral” happened before Laura had heard much about COVID-19. When the pandemic began to take shape around her, she wondered if the dream was about how connected we all really are, and if it was time for a different dream – this one of a project whose timing had not been quite right before – to be realized.
Laura joined The Pollination Project family when her “Happiness Sprinkling Project” was an early recipient of seed funding. The project was simple and powerful: for one hour, a group of people wearing bright yellow shirts held signs with messages such as It’s Going to be Okay, Tell Them You Love Them, Live Your Dream, and Sure You Can. These signs crisscrossed the world, with a powerful impact on both participants and onlookers. Volunteer sign-holders experienced “pure joy,” “magic,” and tears of bliss; one man, who was 88, rated it as one of the top 100 most memorable days of his life.
As the founder of the Anacortes Center for Happiness, Laura’s more recent work has been about the intersection of happiness and gratitude. She started an online community to help people cultivate an “gratitude attitude,” recognizing how meaningfully our perspective shifts when we attune our senses to look for the ways in which we have been already blessed. Gratitude is also one of the biggest connective forces for relationships. For a few years now, Laura and a few friends wanted to expand this gratitude focus in a BIG way.
Inspired by Laura’s dream and a recognition of how much the world needs more happiness right now, they have launched “The Big Gratitude Project” with the support of an Impact Grant from The Pollination Project. Working with 19 Gratitude Ambassadors in 10 states, the group is sending cheery yellow locker boxes that ask people “What are you grateful for today?” People are encouraged to slip a note in the box, which serves as a visual reminder to think from a lens of gratitude.
“My hope is that there will be a box in every prison, school, and hospital,” she says. “Human nature is wired to tap into gratitude. This power just needs to be activated!”