Friday, August 28, 2009

Thanks-A Book on Gratitude

I recently read a book review by Bo R. Meinertsen on The full review can be found at:

Robert Emmons, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Positive Psychology, has written an easy to read textbook on the benefits of gratitude. Gratitude is often an underestimated tool for increasing happiness.

In a recent post, I wrote about a negative view of gratitude where the author seemed to have missed the point of being grateful for anything good around you and in your life. I recommend this book as a way to expand your definition or understanding of gratitude, its benefits and ways to incorporate the practice into your life.

Thanks is a mix of case studies, stories and ideas from many sources including literature and religion. In the last chapter Emmons describes methods you can try to increase your practice of gratitude.

Coach Renee

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Attitude about Gratitude

I read something recently that seemed to miss the point about gratitude. It was a post to a blog I decided not to mention due to its focus on what's not right with life. Maybe it was poking fun, but it didn't hit me that way.

Statement: gratitude is feeling superior to another.

Gratitude is an inside job. Gratitude is being thankful for what you have in your life. It is counting your blessings, however small and short lived. It is appreciating the lessons that come your way and the people or circumstances that brought them to you.

Statement: gratitude is about comparing our circumstances to the circumstances of others.

Gratitude is about appreciating your life and the abundance you have. It is appreciating who you are and who you can become by celebrating what surrounds you.

Immaculée Ilibagiza,once a young, vibrant university student experienced a dramatic life transformation during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. She and seven other women spent 91 days huddled in silence in a cramped bathroom of a local pastor's house. What began as a promising life with a loving family had turned into a nightmare.At 65pounds,she emerged to find her family (except on brother) had been brutally murdered during her captivity.

She could have chosen bitterness, rage, or anger; yet she chose to pray and ask for guidance so that she could find a way to forgive those that created such pain in her life. She was grateful she was alive,was surrounded by others, was given refuge by someone who put themselves at great risk. As she tells her story, she did fight against the power of hate and loathing. When faced with the choice, she chose to pray for grace.

Hopefully there are more people coming to a deeper understanding of gratitude. Gratitude is a state of mind, not a circumstance of being.

Coach Renee

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My father died just before my sixth birthday. How could he? My birthday present was to be without a father, to lose the Sunday morning walks in the garden after church, to never experience mystery rides in the car or Little Tavern hamburgers on occasion.

At 6 I am not sure I knew I had a choice about my reactions to events in my life. I selfishly chose anger, resentment, blame and several other not so pretty emotions. Throughout the next 20 or so years, I justified my actions and feelings. I had a right to be pissed off! I was a victim in the world.

Slowly,a feeling from underneath my skin began to emerge. I had a sense that feeling had been there this whole time. Why hadn't I chosen THAT feeling?

I discovered that feeling was gratitude. I would not have wished the death of my father or anyone else. Yet being given the opportunity at such a young age to learn how to cope with tragedy I realize is a gift. I have actually accomplished many things in spite of my horrible life and ruined birthday (lol).

My gratitude garden grew at a very slow speed. It harbored many weeds and was sometimes home to more weeds that good deeds. Yet, as I look back at how my life evolved and how I am able to still grow, despite an occasional weed, I am grateful for the lessons I learned along the way. I would have rather had an easier life. But then, what would I have learned?

Three Ways to Develop Gratitude

This is an excerpt from the article Three Ways to Develop Gratitude written by Alan Lurie, Author of Five Minutes on Mondays: Finding Unexpected Purpose, Peace, and Fulfillment at Work
Posted: August 24, 2009 01:04 PM Huffington Post

Please visit this link for the full article: (

"Gratitude can solve all that ails us because when we are truly grateful we immediately rise above our fear-based needs to dominate, control, or retreat in to cynicism. And when we approach people and situations with gratitude we will naturally be drawn to positive action, discovering new possibilities that we could never have imagined in the protective shell of self-isolation. These actions can take many forms, depending on the needs of the other person and the situation in the moment, but will always be beneficial for humanity.

Although gratitude is a feeling, it must be cultivated through action. The following offers several suggestions for developing gratitude:

1. Make a gratitude list: Srikumar Rao, who teaches a hugely popular class at Columbia Business School, and is author of "Are You Ready to Succeed"? recommends that we write a daily list of the things that have occurred for which we are grateful. These do not need to be major events, but can be the little occurrences that we usually ignore - the train arriving on time, good weather, a satisfying meal, a stranger's warm smile - and the wonderful people and things in our lives that we all to often take for granted - our families, spouses, friends, jobs, homes, health, bodies.

2. Say "Thank you" to others: Stay alert for opportunities to express gratitude to others as often as you can. You will find that even when you are not feeling grateful, simply saying "thank you" will connect you to others, and will have an impact beyond the moment.

3. Develop a daily gratitude prayer: All religious and spiritual traditions stress the essential nature of gratitude, and place it as the bedrock of faith. Within many of these traditions the first prayer that a practitioner says every morning is "I am thankful for having awakened to another day." This is a prayer of gratitude to our Creator for the very miracle of our lives.

These practices remind us that gratitude is available to us at any moment and under any circumstance, even - or especially - when we are not feeling particularly thankful. Seen from the highest perspective, gratitude is the door that opens to individual and world transformation, revealing our true nature, binding us to each other, and to the Divine. "

Friday, August 7, 2009

This is an excerpt from Mojo Boosters: 5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Energy Output by Theresa Rose posted to August 04, 2009

Be grateful. Expressing gratitude is like receiving a shot of adrenaline. When we are grateful for what we already have – a home, a family, love, health, food, and shelter – we instantly get a boost of mojo that can help us through the tough times. The key is to make the expression of gratitude a daily habit. Think about starting and ending each day with a “gratitude rant.” Before you get out of bed and drive to work, or before you shut off the light to get back into bed, mentally rattle off all of the fabulous things in your life. Take note of the gifts contained within the challenges of the day. What was the blessing in the postponed meeting or client call? Did it allow you to spend more time on a project that had a deadline, or did it make it so that you were able to drive home a few minutes earlier to see your family? If you operate from a perspective of gratitude, then you will never have that familiar feeling of running on empty.

To read the full article, please go to:

Theresa Rose is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of the new book, "Opening the Kimono." As founder of Serious Mojo Publications, Theresa specializes in fresh approaches to energy management, productivity and creative development. Her experience includes owning a healing center, senior manager of a Fortune 100 firm, and vice president of a consulting firm. For more information, visit

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hidden Miracles

A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided to take a short trip to the C&O Canal in Maryland. We are familiar with the canal and had visited several different sections since childhood. This Sunday, we decided to pick a lock on the canal we had not yet experienced.

As we drove, my husband missed our first choice; Pennyfield Lock in Potomac, Maryland. He didn't see the sign he was looking for. We drove further north, missing the next two locks: Violettes and Riley's locks. We had our dog, Happy, with us. She doesn't like riding in the car usually but she seemed very content. I, however, had a few minutes of tape running through my head:

"Why didn't he just turn? That's what an adventure is-no signs."
"There WAS a sign. Why does it have to look like what YOU want it to look like?"
"Well, I could complain or enjoy the ride. Happy seems to be doing just that."

We drove a bit further where the road narrows and turns to gravel. We turned around and began our search for a gravel parking lot with a wooden Park Service sign.

As we came around a bend, we saw it: The sign for McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area. We had arrived somewhere. Even though neither of us had any idea what we would find, it was a chance to walk around a bit and let the dog get fresh air. We walked across the parking lot towards the information station, beyond the post and wire fencing to an opening in the tree line.

Seeking a bit of adventure and stoked with curiosity as to how far a walk it might be to get to the canal or the Potomac River,we headed through the opening and immediately gasped in unison. There, in front of us, was a field of thousands of sunflowers! a sea of smiling faces shining toward all visitors. Happy must have sensed the significance of this event because she took off to encircle the entire field!

What an amazing adventure we experienced that day. We shared it with as many people as we could. Without giving away the breathtaking scene, we directed them to the gravel lot near the trees....

Seeds Of Possibility Framed by Sunshine

Coach Renee

Wednesday, August 5, 2009