Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
— William Arthur Ward

A soft, sweet rain is falling outside the windows of the cabin in the Trinity Mountains in Northern California where we’ve been for almost a week, resting and relaxing after three of the busiest months of my life. Over the course of ten weeks, I traveled to New York three times, to Dallas twice, and to Philadelphia, Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. I had my book launch party in mid-May and then embarked on an eight-city book tour, while at the same time, keeping up with a very busy coaching practice in the days between.

So much has happened in such a short time, and having a week off the grid has given me time to rest, reflect, and appreciate the many gifts I’ve been blessed to receive. But what I value most among these gifts is the treasure of friendship and support from the many people (family members, old friends, new friends, clients, and colleagues) who have offered such love and support. Interestingly, I read today in the latest World Happiness Report (2015) about the prime importance of family and friendship at the individual and community levels on our sense of happiness and well-being. I can say without a doubt, that due to each of you, my well of happiness is full.

Everywhere I’ve traveled these past few months, there have been friends, colleagues and loved ones willing to lend a hand, fix a meal, take me to dinner, provide a bed to sleep in, or a ride from the airport. The true gift of the journey of birthing this book has been reconnecting with friends from college, including sorority sisters who came out to the bookstores with friends in tow to fill the seats, to old college friends who made me a guest in their homes, to former boyfriends I hadn’t been in contact with who surprised me with their presence, to childhood friends I hadn’t seen in many years.

And to my family, I’m deeply grateful. To Julie, who took time off work to accompany me on several stops on the tour, to my niece and nephews who met me along the way, to my eighty-five to ninety-four year old uncle, aunts, and mother who came to cheer me on; to my sweet cousins who gave me a place to stay, held a party, and a place to host my friends. To my clients, colleagues, and former coaching clients, I’m deeply grateful for your words of encouragement and gifts of appreciation. And finally, to my fellow authors from She Writes Press, you’ve been an amazing source of hope and encouragement and it’s been an honor to walk beside you on this journey. I recently joked with a friend that everywhere I went on the book tour, I felt like I was going to a wedding because of how it reconnected me to all the love and support I am blessed to know in my life.

And I will always be grateful for the strangers I met along the way and for the many lessons they taught me. After a very slow day of sales at the Book Fair in Chicago, I was bemoaning the fact that I’d spent precious time and money to be there that weekend when I had so much on my plate. A man dressed in tattered clothes who looked like he might have been homeless came over to the table and kept touching my book. I started talking to him, sharing what the book was about, and he said, “My feet won’t move. I have to buy this book, and I don’t even know how to read.” When I asked him who he wanted the book inscribed to, he said, “Make it to my friend Susa. She is just getting out of prison next week after 25 years.” Thank you, my friend, for reminding me that often all I need to do is to get out of my own way.

I define thriving as being in full bloom no matter what season of life you are in. And gratitude is the nectar that makes that flower bloom. The French Novelist Marcel Proust expressed my feelings well: “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” I thank you, one and all, for all you have done to help me thrive and blossom these past few months. The memories of your kindness and love are forever etched like a precious diamond in my heart.

  • What is one thing that you’re deeply grateful for today?
  • Who are the charming gardeners in your life that help make your soul blossom?
  • In what ways might you express your gratitude to those people?
  • What is one step you could take today to help you bloom where you are planted?