Wednesday, June 9, 2010

G R A T I T U D E: The Prayer Of The Enlightened

A few days ago, at an all-day media coaching conference at Hachette Book Group USA, a group of four authors with upcoming books--myself included--had the rare opportunity of being coached for our upcoming radio and T.V. appearances. 

Leading the way were brilliant media experts Joel and Heidi Roberts, Joel a veteran talk radio host-turned-corporate media coach, and his business partner and perspicacious wife Heidi, a longtime TV producer, both indispensable in their astute observations of the day. They were also joined by well-known TV producer, publicist, and media coach, Tom Martin

And as the long 8-hour day unfolded, with each of us receiving critiques of our presentations and being drilled over and over again to hone our message concisely for a national audience--I found myself filled with the one thing that often eludes me--Gratitude. 

Why was this the case? Well, there I was surrounded by my Hachette family--the group of people I've grown to know so well, each of them expertly helping to launch my book, KATIE UP AND DOWN THE HALL, including the great publicity director Shanon Stowe, Internet geniuses Kelly Leonard, Valerie Russo, and Anna Balasi, Hachette's marketing guru, Martha Otis, not to mention Editorial Director, Harry Helm, my brilliant editor and book's greatest champion.  

Everyone this day was drawing together, supporting one common mission, making each of our book launches successful. 

In the end, this wasn't just about ego or making money. It was about pulling together as a TEAM. And when I left the day beyind--I carried with me something just as valuable as the lessons of the media training--i.e., a profound feeling of thankfulness. 

In an article I wrote about gratitude for Family Circle, I remember one wise interview subject telling me that the glass isn't just half-full; it's always full. Opportunity doesn't knock just once, it's always knocking. 

     Yet, racing through a daily marathon of household chores, obligations at work, and 

short-term goals, how many of us take our good fortune for granted, focused solely on what we don’t have? 
     Perhaps money, time or love may seem to be in short supply. Maybe we don’t have the body we’d like, or the right car or house. Even worse, a crisis of some kind may be intruding upon us. So narrowly fixed on these perceived lacks and problems are we that our days are saturated with panic, irritation, worry, and a sense of deprivation: the tendency to compare and despair  steadily depleting us at every turn.     
    This thankless attitude--or ‘stinkin’ thinkin’,  a phrase humorously coined by 12-step recovery groups--can lead to chronic backaches, ulcers, headaches, depression, and multiple addictions, say medical experts who chart the connection between body and mind.      
     Today, many health-care specialists,  therapists, and spiritual counselors believe that the solution to such a commonplace dilemma is a simple, yet profound one: putting gratitude into your attitude--”waking up” from an ungrateful mind, and allowing ourselves to appreciate the so-called ‘little things’ in life, that aren’t little at all.      
       How often do we disregard a bright moon, the taste of an apple, a child’s laughter, or the welcome wag of our dog’s tail? In a perpetual rush, we may ignore the smell of freshly-mown grass, a friend’s concern, the feel of sand in our toes, or the miracles of  technology--not to mention how well our arms and legs work, and how terrific it is to breathe and experience our senses.  
      What, then, is true gratitude? And how can we cultivate it? I just start by counting my blessings--and find that I have a very very long list. So will you!