One of the things I appreciate most about the Internet is that it has enabled me to discover and connect with so many amazing people whose work, art and lives are truly inspiring. One of the things I am keen to do here on the blog is share the stories of those who inspire and excite me. My first interview is with Eli Trier.
Eli Trier is an Artist and Author who travels the world writing and drawing and making gorgeous picture books for grown-ups about everything from gratitude to productivity. She spends her days exploring ideas, messing around with paint and counting her lucky stars. Her latest book The Gratitude Project: A Year of Saying Thank You to The People Who Changed My Life is available on Amazon.
Julia Elmore: What inspired The Gratitude Project?
Eli Trier: The Gratitude Project came about because I experienced a crippling episode of Depression and realised that the only way to save myself was to shift my attention from the bad things in my life to the good things.
I had spent several years working on a business which was completely out of alignment with my values and it culminated in an epic business deal which went horribly wrong. I’ve always been prone to Depression and had been suffering more and more in the lead up to this big collapse. When it all blew up in my face I basically had a breakdown and retired to bed for a month. After a while I decided that if I was going to be that miserable I may as well be miserable doing something I enjoyed so I started making art.
As I investigated my life I realised that there were things that made me feel better – the people who created the art, music, books, and blogs that always lifted my spirits; my family and friends; and so on. So I decided to draw a picture and write a thank you letter to one of these people a week, for a year. And thus, The Gratitude Project was born.
JE: What is your first art related memory?
ET: When I was six years old I set up my first business, with home made signage and a little shop front and everything. It was called Art Cloud and I sold painted sticks and stones to all of my parent’s friends and anyone else to came to visit. I’m a born artist-entrepreneur!
JE: How did you come up with the idea of combining art and gratitude?
ET: It just sort of happened, really. I wanted to make more art, I wanted to say thank you, and I wanted to commit to a project that mattered. Those three things came together and it turned out to be the perfect combination. The time I spent making each picture became a meditation on the person I was making it for and all the positive ways that they had influenced my life. It felt like I was infusing each picture with love and gratitude and that that would shine through when they opened it.
JE: When the idea of gratitude first appear on your radar?
ET: I don’t remember exactly, but I think that it was always something I was aware of. My family was bone-grindingly poor when I was a child, but I rarely felt deprived because my parents were always pointing out how lucky we were to have what we had. My brother and I were always encouraged to appreciate the little things in life – sunsets, walks in the woods, being together as a family. I was just brought up with the idea that you should always be grateful for what you have, and to just generally look on the bright side.
JE: How has gratitude made a difference in your life?
ET: Gratitude saved my life! Well, my sanity certainly. Doing The Gratitude Project has changed my life completely – not only has it had a remarkable impact on my mental health, but it has also changed the course of my career and helped me to build a life which is total alignment with who I am and how I want to show up in the world.
JE: Do you have a daily gratitude practice?
ET: Yes. Every day when I wake up I make myself a pot of coffee and write in my journal – and a large part of what I write is all the reasons I’m grateful for a specific thing in my life. I find that gratitude practices are much more powerful if you choose one thing and list five or more reasons why you are grateful for that particular thing, rather than listing five separate things, for example.
Find Eli online at http://elitrier.com