success stories

Posted January 23, 2003

Book: Season of Grace: The Life Giving Practice of Gratitude
Authors: Alan Jones & John O'Neil with Diana Landau
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, New Jersey, pp. 253

Excerpt from Jacket:

By taking the time to give thanks and experience gratitude for life's everyday pleasures and surprises, we open ourselves to joy and wonder and plant the seeds for spiritual renewal.

Offering a cornucopia of practical advice, astute reflections, and beautiful excerpts from literary and spiritual works, Seasons of Grace will release you from stress by showing you how easy it is to practice gratitude in your daily life. Through inspiring real-life stories from authors' lives and those of their friends and the people they've helped in their work, you'll discover that gratitude isn't just etiquette or one more thing to do. Rather, it is a spontaneous response that will restore peace, awe, and a sense of well-being in your life. Seasons of Grace traces gratitude through the metaphor of the four seasons, charting the many hallmark occasions and often-surprising opportunities to practice gratitude throughout the year:

Spring: a season of rebirth and a time to appreciate the gift of creation, your family and heritage, and the importance of spring cleaning in every sense of the term;

Summer: a season to give thanks for being alive, explore gardens filled with beautiful flowers, meet your fears, appreciate the healing power of play and the magic of your five senses, and experience healing rest;

Autumn: a season to reflect on what it means to be alive, discover authenticity, enjoy transformative journeys, feed your mind and spirit, and find your own true life story;

Winter: a season to gather around the table with loved ones, celebrate life's bounty, enjoy the holidays with friends, do what you can to change the world, and be grateful for being a mortal creature who is alive right now.

Excerpt from Book:

The groundwork of any gratitude practice is opening to wonder, recovering the ability to be astonished. In order to experience gratitude as more than trivial acceptance of what is given (perhaps owed) to us, we must first be able to experience life's gifts as truly extraordinary and miraculous. In this way, the springtime of gratitude entails a revival and deepening of the imagination. Our horizons easily become narrowed, our perceptions blunted. The soil on which our growth as humans depends can be poisoned by patterns and strategies of denial, cynicism, resentment, and revenge. . . .

Practicing gratitude both feeds our need for wonder and frames ways we can get out of ourselves (off the treadmill of me, me, me) and risk appropriately and courageously. We can then dare to love. We can risk openness to others and the world. We can see how absurd our mentality of scarcity is in the light of our relative wealth. In short, we can stop playing dead and become fully alive. Specific practices that help open us to wonder include slowing down, paying attention, giving up some control, and being alive to the unexpected.

Table of Contents:

Spring: Opening to Wonder
1. The Unexpected Gift
2. Singing Creation
3. Meeting Nature in the Flesh
4. Celebrating Our Genes
5. Cleaning House

Summer: The Flowering of Thanks
6. Cultivating Gardens of Gratitude
7. Thanking Our Dragons
8. Playing Live
9. Living in the Realm of the Senses
10. Sweet Rest

Autumn: The Grateful Self
11. Going for Authentic Life
12. Your Sustaining Narrative
13. Feeding Your Mind
14. Journeys of the Soul
15. Entering the Spirit

Winter: Living into Gratitude
16. The Host and the Guest
17. Grateful Connections
18. Repairing the World
19. Moral Gratitude