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Seasons of Grace: The Life-Giving Practice of Gratitude



Seasons of Grace: The Life-Giving Practice of Gratitude

Alan Jones, John O'Neil

ISBN: 978-0-471-20832-7 January 2003 253 Pages

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Praise for Seasons of Grace

"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

Introduction: Gratitude and "Going Live".


1. The Unexpected Gift.

2. Singing Creation.

3. Meeting Nature in the Flesh.

4. Celebrating Our Genes.

5. Cleaning House.


6. Cultivating Gardens of Gratitude.

7. Thanking Our Dragons.

8. Playing Live.

9. Living in the Realm of the Senses.

10. Sweet Rest.


11. Going for Authentic Life.

12. Your Sustaining Narrative.

13. Feeding Your Mind.

14. Journeys of the Soul.

15. Entering the Spirit.


16. The Host and the Guest.

17. Grateful Connections.

18. Repairing the World.

19. Mortal Gratitude.

Bibliography and Recommended Reading.

Gratitude, Cicero observed, is more than just a virtue; it is the parent of all the other virtues.  In Seasons of Grace: The Life-giving Practice of Gratitude, Alan Jones and John O’Neil explore the spiritual practice of gratitude, which can be expressed in acts as simple as writing a thank-you note, cleaning the house or meditating in the garden.  Although the authors do not draw explicitly on Naikan Buddhism, their approach is astoundingly similar to Naikan, which emphasizes gratitude as the key to compassionate living.  The book is beautifully organized into sections around the four seasons: spring is a time to appreciate the gift of a renewed creation; summer a season of frolicking in nature and enjoying some rest; autumn a contemplative period of introspection; and winter an interval of gathering with loved ones.  Each chapter closes with “gratitude practices,” offering concrete ideas of ways to cultivate and express gratitude.  (Publishers Weekly, January 27, 2003)

"What do you say?"
"Thank you."
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.
Thank you.
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.
Thank you.
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)