Oak Communications • Biography
• Personal Statement
Nothing is more honorable than a grateful
As a coach, I sometimes ask a client, "What
are you thankful for?" This gives her the opportunity to
stop and consider her life and to articulate what she appreciates.
I encourage her to think about not just the big things for which
she gives thanks (good health or her children) but also the
many small things (for example the smile that comes to her face
when she witnesses her cat sleeping with paws crossed, her co-worker's
offer to buy her a latte, the sun as it streams into her office
in the late afternoon). By paying attention to what we are thankful
for, we give ourselves a moment to pause. This pause is like
a breath, a waking up to the present moment.
In his book, Peace Is Every Step,
Vietnamese Buddhist Zen master and poet, Thich Nhat Hanh, offers
the following lines that can be said to oneself as one breathes
in and out:
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment!
Consider when someone says "Thank you"
to you in a heartfelt way, and how that makes you feel - acknowledged
and appreciated. It is so easy to say, "Thank you"
and yet many of us don't do it often enough.
Marshall Goldsmith, in his book, Nonviolent
Communication: A Language of Life, suggests including three
components in expressing appreciation: this is what you did;
this is what I feel, this is the need of mine that was met.
For example, I might say: "Thank you. I really appreciate
your offer to feed my cat when I am away. I am grateful to know
she will be well taken care of." "Thank you for getting
the financial report to me today. I know that meant you had
to put another project on hold. I feel so relieved that we were
able to get the application in on time."
Thanks and Giving. When expressing thanks
to another person, we give something of ourselves. We give our
attention, our focus, and our words of gratitude. We honor that
person and our relationship. By speaking and thinking words
of thanks, we embody gratitude. It becomes a way of being in
We can only be said to be alive in those
moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. Thornton
I have noticed that it is sometimes easier
for people to say the words "thank you" and "please"
to those outside of their immediate families than it is to their
own spouses/partners/children. One client said, "I don't
need to tell my husband thank you. He'll just think I am being
sappy". I propose that we can never say thank you enough
if done in a heartfelt manner, by looking the person in the
eye and saying "thank you" with true gratitude. And
in fact the place to practice these words is with our families.
By generating kindness within my home, I am
more able to bring it out into the world. If I start the morning
by saying thank you to my husband for refilling my coffee cup,
and thanking my nephew for brushing his teeth without my asking
him, we all start our day with peace and gratitude. These small
gestures add up and over time create an environment of respect
and well being that we can then transport into our daily lives.
I propose that today you count how many times
that you say "thanks". Tomorrow, make an effort to
say thank you more often. Observe how that makes you feel. Observe
how others react to you. Now choose if you want to make the
phrase "thank you" a more important part of your vocabulary.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing
it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
-William Arthur Ward
© Sue Schleifer,