"What do you say?"
Maybe it's because we're always reminding our children to say it, or because our parents kept reminding us to say it, but we rarely stop and think about those two little words we use all the time.
Don't just say it. Feel it. Try this. Close your eyes. Sit up straight. Take deep breath. As you exhale think . . . thank you.
Do it again, please.
Who were you thanking? God? The Universe? Yourself? No one in particular? It doesn't really matter. It feels good no matter who you're thanking -- especially when it's for nothing, or everything.
"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others."
Cicero said that and so do the Rev. Alan Jones, the dean of Grace Cathedral, and John O'Neil, the president of the Center for Leadership Renewel, in a simple and wise new book called "Seasons of Grace -- The Life-Giving Practice of Gratitude". (SF Chronicle, January 26, 2003)
"In this beautifully written book, Alan Jones and John O'Neil deliver a timely antidote to the stressed-out, spiritually barren lives that too many of us accept as the price of success. This is a book that may both comfort and challenge you to change your life and the world for the better."
-Dean Ornish, M.D., author of Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease and Love & Survival
"I love this book. It is packed with inspirational stories from the lives of the authors and their friends that illustrate how feelings of gratitude for even the smallest gifts and kindnesses and joys help us to live each day to the full. Reading Seasons of Grace will help you to cope with the hard times, to find the silver linings. It is a splendid, joyous, and enriching recipe for life."
-Jane Goodall, author of Reason for Hope and The Ten Trusts
"Most people are grateful because they're happy; wise people are happy because they're grateful. Thank you, Alan Jones and John O'Neil, for reminding us of this happy fact."
-Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D., author of Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind
"As gentle as it is wise, Seasons of Grace shows us everyday life as a joyous spiritual art: the art of receiving, day by day, the life we are given-every last bit of it."
-Jacob Needleman, author of The American Soul