Posts Tagged ‘family relationships’

Are you ready for a new normal?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Recently my wife accidentally banged her toe against the leg of a chair.  Believing it was just bruised she carried on in the hopes that the sting and subsequent pain would just go away.  Not so fast.  Weeks went by and it continued to be bothersome only to learn that it was broken. Throughout this extended healing process both consciously and unconsciously thoughts of discomfort were ever present.    It curtailed her activity, limited the shoes she could wear and created anxiety in thinking it might never heal.  Yes, it thankfully got better and life returned to normal.

So what is the point, you may be asking?   When is the last time we were grateful that our toes, or any other part of our body for that matter, were fine?   This irony transcends more than just our body.  Do you remember the last time you did not have hot water for your shower or the electricity in your home wasn’t working?  Or your sent emails were hopelessly stalled in your Outbox?  Inconvenient for sure.  Yes, the gratitude comes when these issues are resolved and our lives return to normal.

The good news about these situations is they were able to return to normal.  There are other areas of our lives that do not. Think of a dear friend or family member who was an important part of your life but is no longer here—the  pain of this loss and the grieving that followed were likely profound.

What is the common element that weaves through these stories?  It is often not until something is either temporarily, or worse yet, permanently lost that we remember how important it has been in our lives.

What a perfect time of year to be more conscious of this tendency and better yet, create a new normal.   Consciously value and be grateful for all you have.  Cherish it.  Everything.  This can happen in very simple, new habits. Consider those who say grace before each meal have three times a day to express explicit gratitude for all one’s blessings.   A friend of mine recently shared with me that he has converted his feelings of impatience while waiting at a stoplight to moments of expressing gratitude.

At this time of Thanksgiving, it is a perfect time to give some thought to a new practice that can lead you to a new behavior of gratitude.  It is often said that a new behavior can be created with just 21 repetitions.  However many it takes, imagine the elevation of the joyfulness in your life when you are able to manifest this “new normal”.

With gratitude,
Walter Green

Father’s Day—A Perfect Time for Reflection and Gratitude

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Right about now, many of you may be thinking about this upcoming Father’s Day and what you might do to make it extra special.  If you are blessed and your father is still alive, consider the expression of appreciation for all that he has done for you over your lifetime.

I am reminded of the story of what one graduate student did after hearing me speak on the subject of my book, This is the Moment…How One Man’s Yearlong Journey Captured the Power of Extraordinary Gratitude. She was a night student and still living at home.  When she returned home the night of the lecture she made a list of all the contributions her father made to her life.  When her father arrived home later than evening, she asked him to join her in the living room indicating she had things that she would like to share with him.   He inquired, “About what?”  She responded, “About what you have meant to me.”  The father responded, “I know you love me.”   The daughter added “Dad, it is more than that.  I would love you to just sit with me for a few minutes so I can share my feelings with you.”   The father acquiesced and the daughter proceeded to express the specific contributions he had made to her life and what it has meant to her.  They both were in tears before the conversation was finished.   The father said at the end that it was one of the most heartwarming moments of his life.

It is not important whether you communicate these expressions of gratitude in person.  If you will not be with your father on Father’s Day, a letter would do just fine.  The important issue is that you do not miss the opportunity.

Whether your father is or is not alive, I would reflect on one additional question.  Who else is alive that has given you very helpful fatherly advice over the years?

We all know we are not self -made.  Was there a mentor, a teacher, someone in the older generation that made a difference in your life?

If you watched the recent running of the Preakness, the winning jockey was a Hall of  Fame rider by the name of Gary Stevens.  What makes this story even more remarkable is that Gary is 50 years old and has not raced in the last seven years and his horse, Oxbow was a 15 to 1 shot.  When the commentator asked how he was able to do it, Gary responded that his father has been very important to him but he is also so indebted to others who have given him advice and support over the years.  He then added, “If it weren’t for the encouragement and opportunity of Wayne Lucas, the world class horse trainer, I may have never raced again.  For sure, not be in the winner’s circle of The Preakness, one of horseracing Triple Crown.”

The odds of achieving lifelong dreams are a long shot in most of our lives.  Think about who has helped you get into your “winner’s circle” and let them know what they mean to you on this Father’s Day.

With gratitude,

Walter Green

Grateful Wife Makes Exceptional Ambassador for Expression of Gratitude

Monday, June 4th, 2012

I had the real pleasure to receive a very special message of gratitude through the Share Your Story page of this website and with permission of the author I am excited to share it with all of you.

Barb Kryke wrote a wonderful letter to her husband, Ron. As you will see by the reprinted version of her message below, expressing profound love and deep gratitude was definitely “within her reach.”  I was touched by her capacity to acknowledge and express the impact her husband has had on her life.

My dearest husband,

I know that first and foremost in all my thoughts, is my gratitude that you have entered my life. You have the greatest soul, modest nature, and the sweetest, most loving heart I have ever known.  I am, and will always be in awe that this meeting of hearts and minds and souls is not coincidental, but a purposeful life brought together by God.

I thank you for showing me how hard I am capable of working, far beyond my wildest dreams. Your encouragement and unending faith in me has now and forever, shaped me as the whole person I dreamed of becoming.  My love, my reverence, my admiration for you, is not measurable by human means and far outreach my ability to express, in words, how incredibly grateful I am that your love for me is perfect.


My warmth,
Your loving wife



When I reached out to Barb to find out more about her experience, she was kind enough to indulge me by answering a couple of questions.

  1. What did it feel like to express this profound gratitude to your husband?

I was moved by my own words. I am, by nature, reflective and use each morning and night to breathe in my good fortune. I am blessed to have the ability to express my gratitude for my husband, daughters, friends and 7th grade students.

  1. Do you have a sense of what it meant to him?

Ron texted me, “You brought me tears of joy with your letter of gratitude.  I adore you.” I guess that says it all.

Barb is indeed blessed on so many levels. My hope is that everyone reading this will be inspired by Barb’s story and will reach out to a significant relationship and express profound gratitude.

I would be honored if you shared your story here on this website.  Simply go to Share Your Story and send me a message.

An Exceptional Holiday Gift Everyone Can Afford

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

We have all seen the TV ads for Black Friday and our mailboxes are being filled with retail advertisements for holiday shopping.  For many of us the experience of gift giving is stressful not only because we feel the need to buy the perfect gift, but we also feel pressure to spend money at a time when budgets are tight.

Make the most of this holiday season with a personal, thoughtful and inexpensive gift that will be a perfect “fit.”

There is nothing more personal than a gift of explicit gratitude to someone who has made a real difference in your life. This is a gift only you can give and in doing so, it is likely that you will enrich your life, enhance your relationship and bring joy to the recipient.

I recognize that it’s highly unlikely that anyone will take a journey similar to my yearlong victory lap. I was fortunate to have the time and resources to devote to this significant undertaking, and it was also important for me to do it in this way.

All of our life circumstances are different, however, and our processes and journeys will of course go in various directions. I did things my way, and you should do them your way. For example, you don’t have to travel around the country having face-to-face conversations with people. If you do want to meet in person, you can start with those close to home and schedule others during vacations, holiday visits, business trips, and so forth.

Writing a letter costs the paper it’s written on and a stamp, and e-mails and phone calls are virtually free. In other words, everyone can afford to make these expressions of gratitude. The investment is low and the payoff is high, and there are so few opportunities in life that this can be said for. How you go about conveying your messages is entirely up to you; just design a way that’s meaningful but doable (and affordable) for you.

In my book This Is The Moment! I share a story entitled “44-cent stamp.”  It is the real-life tale of two marines that had a relationship spanning over a half a century.  My friend, one of the marines shared with me that by writing a letter to his dying friend took just 15 minutes required only two pieces of paper, an envelope, and a 44-cent stamp but in doing so gave him amazing peace of mind and closure to this all important relationship.

Take a few moments this holiday season to give the perfect gift.  I’d love to hear how you expressed profound gratitude and the reactions it created.

Ripples of Gratitude

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

In the short time since I completed my personal victory lap, I’ve started hearing about how it’s also serving others who weren’t part of my journey, and even people that I’ve never met. I hope you find the following story as fascinating as I do.

48 Hours

One driven businessman in his 40s, who heard about my journey from a mutual friend, said that it was life-changing for him. It enabled him to renew his relationship with his grandmother, who’d done everything for him when he was younger except give birth to him.

This man hadn’t visited his grandmother in some time because he had no patience for spending time with an 88-year-old who, like many elderly people, tended to repeat stories and was hard of hearing. But now he was inspired to call her on a Friday night, and he simply listened to her for an hour. “She so appreciated my time,” he said.

The experience made him feel so good that he called her again the next day, talked for another 45 minutes, and then invited her to Sunday brunch. She was so excited that she said she was going to visit the beauty parlor in anticipation of the outing.

When the man and his grandmother saw each other, they cried, realizing how much they valued and missed each other. “There won’t be another 48 hours of my life that goes by without my calling her,” he vowed.

Have you been putting off expressing gratitude to someone significant in your life?  Or have you shared your gratitude and enriched a relationship?  I would love to hear your story and share it with our community.  Please use the Comments section below or send me a private message by using the Share Your Story form on this website.

The preceding is an excerpt from This is the Moment!:  How One Man’s Yearlong Journey Captured the Power of Extraordinary Gratitude (Hay House, October, 2010)

Parents Urged to Teach Gratitude – Why It’s Only the Beginning

Friday, March 18th, 2011

When we teach our children to say “thank you” are we training them to act thankful or be a grateful person?

Most parents will respond, “Well, you have to start somewhere.”  I agree.  We do have to start somewhere.  In the early years of our children’s life we begin to get them into the habit (which implies a routine to some) of expressing their gratitude.  But at the core of that gesture is the recognition of being thankful for things rather than grateful for how someone impacts our lives.

I found Jeremy Olsen’s column “Can Forcing Kids to Say “Thank You” Backfire?” raised the important subject of gratitude and when and how it is expressed.  Although the column referred to children’s expressions, it is a lifelong issue.   I refer to the expression of gratitude like the exercising of a muscle group.  Young children learn when and how to say thank you.  I would refer to this episodic expression as the small, albeit important muscle.

When I took my yearlong journey to express extraordinary gratitude to those who have profoundly influenced my life, I referred to these expressions as a big muscle group.  This type of appreciation was not for just one act but for a series of influences that had a big impact on my life.  In my book, This Is the Moment, I write about this journey and strongly encourage readers to express their gratitude while everyone is alive and well rather than in a eulogy or worse yet, letting it remain unsaid.

What is central to both of these expressions is awareness.  No matter where you are in your stage of life you should be conscious of what someone has done for you.  Acknowledging their impact should be followed by an expression from you.  From my experience, you have a lot of choices for how you share your gratitude.  I think Mary O’ Donnell’s message to parents to teach young children to express thanks is a great start to developing a lifelong practice of being aware and showing gratitude.

How do you teach your children to be thankful and grateful?  How do you demonstrate it to them and for them?  I’d love to hear from you so please share the creative and thoughtful ways you are inspiring the next generation of appreciative and expressive souls.

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Entering the House of Gratitude Through Many Doors

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

When we think of expressing profound gratitude towards others our thoughts often focus on those people who are the most prominent figures in our lives – children, parents, spouse, and friends.  They have most likely been in our lives the longest and have shared wonderful memories and supported us during difficult times.  To many, this is an obvious choice because they represent the strongest place in our hearts.    When we express our appreciation for them it is as though we are walking through the front door of the “house of gratitude.”

After reading this recent article, I was reminded and encouraged to see that we have more than one door available.  These school students were asked to write letters of appreciation to veteran’s for Valentine’s Day.  As a result of the assignment, one teenage girl, Madelaine took the opportunity to spend time with her father and learn all about his military service.  Their conversation created new memories she will always have of her father, as he died within days of their precious time together.

To me, the young people in this article had the opportunity to express their profound gratitude to someone they didn’t know for what they had given to them by serving our country.  You might say they came in the back door to the “house of gratitude.”  That gesture in and of itself would be very rewarding to the student and the beneficiary.

While they are expressing gratitude to a stranger, they can incorporate a tribute to someone in their own family who is no longer alive but had also served our country in the military.  Although it would have been more meaningful to express this gratitude when the family member was alive it is still a wonderful way to feel and share their appreciation.

Now for the side door.

Sometimes there is hesitancy about how to begin the conversation.  If you can start with a particular subject, like Madelaine did with her father about his military service, the conversation can grow from there.  Once you have entered the “house of gratitude” take the time to mention the many other influences this person had in your life.  It will enrich your expression of gratitude and your relationship.

No matter how you approach it or which door you take, living in the “house of gratitude” is a comfort everyone should experience.  Who can you start a conversation with today?

Free Book Promotion: If you share your story of expressing profound gratitude here on my website during the month of February, you will be eligible to win a free autographed copy of This is the Moment!

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To read the entire article of the school-aged children writing letters to veterans, click here.

One Single Resolution that Enriches Your Entire Life

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Did you make your list yet?  Have you written them down or are they just percolating in your mind a bit?  How many do you have?  Are they the same ones as last year?

Ahh…. New Year’s Resolutions.

It seems like an annual ritual to think and act upon the ongoing challenges to eat healthier, exercise more, sleep more and take our business or career to the next level.  With each New Year we continue to be hopeful that we will make them all happen.

Would you be willing to make ONE resolution that could enrich many areas of your life?

All you need to do is make one resolution to enrich your relationships.  By expressing profound gratitude to one person –  a member of your family, a friend, a colleague, a client and anyone who has really helped you in your life  can not only elevate your relationship but also provide peace of mind.

Your resolution could be stated as easily as…

I will express explicit gratitude to someone who has made a real difference in my life.

Unlike so many resolutions, this is very doable. Think of a person who has been important to you not just this past year, but over the years.  Your deep gratitude can be expressed in less than an hour and the benefits can last a lifetime.  I believe you will find that after experiencing the positive benefits from doing it to just one person you will decide to do more.  When was the last time you exceeded a New Year’s resolution?

By expressing profound gratitude you will not only enrich your life but the lives of the “receivers” and the people to whom they pay it forward.  Imagine the wonderful year you can create not only for yourself but for others.  The process is easy, it is comfortable and it will make a significant difference in your life.

Do you have any regrets from years gone by?  Most do.  Has someone passed away or drifted out of your life that you wished you could have told him/her what they meant to you?

Make this year different.  Actively give yourself the peace of mind that nothing has gone unsaid to someone, or more, who have been important to you.  Eliminate future regret and have a conversation, send a letter, make a video, record a song or poem…. do it any way that feels right to you.

If you want help in executing this resolution, you can go to the bottom of this page and sign up for your FREE guide to Creating Your Own Gratitude Conversations.

This experience will be a life enhancer of significant value.  In my recently released book, This Is the Moment I provide you with all the tools you need to make this resolution one that you will achieve this coming year and be life changing in the process.

The Most Personal Holiday Gift that You Hope Gets Re-Gifted

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

What do you buy for those special people in your life?

We struggle for that just-right gift that will show them how much they mean to us, how much we care about them, and we want to give a gift that is from the heart and is personal.

In economic times like these, money is understandably limited for gifts.  There is nothing more special than a personal gift and nothing more personal than an expression of profound gratitude to those who had a major impact on our lives.

This is a gift for all people of any age, all backgrounds and all economic circumstances.  This uncommon approach to gratitude is a way to enrich our lives, enhance our important relationships and achieve peace of mind that can only come from not having regrets for things left unsaid.

In addition, there are several ways to give this “uncommon gift” that will cost a lot less than most people normally spend and the likely impact on the giver and the recipient are far greater than you can imagine.

I encourage you to reach out to the significant people in your life and have a one-on-one connection – in person, on the phone, in a letter – in whichever medium works best for both of you.  Do it your way. If you need assistance with what and how to communicate your profound gratitude, take a look at the last section of my book, This is the Moment or download the Free Guide offered at the bottom of this page by entering your email address.

Expressing extraordinary gratitude to those people who have impacted your life may be your perfect gift this year. The best thing that could happen is that it is re-gifted to someone else – that the receiver shares this wonderful experience with their significant relationships and then they share it, and so on….

Be the first to start the momentum of what will be one of the most rewarding and joyous gifts you have ever given.

Nephew Shares Blessing of Gratitude on WPIX-TV in New York

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Most people know that you like and love them, but very seldom (if at all) do they know how they’ve specifically impacted your life.  In this brief segment on WPIX-TV in New York I touch on the four key elements of an extraordinary expression of gratitude.

My nephew, Eric Herrenkohl was one of the 44 people on my yearlong journey to express profound gratitude.

You can also see what our gratitude conversation meant to him during this television segment and the action he took immediately following our time together.

 

For your own peace of mind so that you don’t have any regrets, have your gratitude conversation with those significant people in your life today. If you are not sure how to start, sign in at the bottom of this page and download your FREE guide. It will show you the simple steps to creating your own gratitude conversation.

Once you start your journey I would love for you to share your experience with our community. Please go to the Share Your Story page on the website and ignite sparks of gratitude.