A part from chapter 5...
Just about 15 minutes ago I was sitting in a swinging chair (or at least that’s how I called it), continuing the book I’m reading. Suddenly I decided to stop and open my computer and write this post.
I stopped because I think that what I have just read was really worth it to share to everyone. It also reminds me of what Erica used to write in her blog. So, below is quoted directly from the book Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman, Ph.D. It’s taken from the chapter of “Satisfaction About The Past”, in the part about “Gratitude”. Hope it’s worth reading :)
For example, one year I was stumped for an assignment to “contrast doing something fun with doing something altruistic.” So I made the creation of such an exercise itself an exercise. Marisa Lascher, one of the least conventional students, suggested that we have a “Gratitude Night.” Class members would bring a guest who had been important in their lives, but whom they had never properly thanked. Each would present a testimonial about that person by way of thanks, and a discussion would follow each testimonial. The guests would not know about the exact purpose of the gathering until the gathering itself.
"How do we value a person? Can we measure her worth like a piece of gold, with the purest 24-karat nugget shining more brightly than the rest? If a person’s inner worth were this apparent to everyone, I would not need to make this speech. As it is not, I would like to describe the purest soul I know: my mom. Now I know she’s looking at me at this very moment, with one eyebrow cocked effortlessly higher than the other. No, Mom, you have not been selected for having the purest mind. You are, however, the most genuine and pure-of-heart person I have ever met…
When complete strangers will call you to talk about the loss of their dearest pet, however, I am truly taken aback. Each time you speak with a bereaved person, you begin crying yourself, just as if your own pet had died. You provide comfort in a time of great loss for these people. As a child, this confused me, but I realize now that it is simply your genuine heart, reaching out in a time of need…
There is nothing but joy in my heart as I talk about the most wonderful person I know. I can only dream of becoming the pure piece of gold I believe stands before me. It is with the utmost humility that you travel through life, never once asking for thanks, simply hoping along the way people have enjoyed their time with you."
There was literally not a dry eye in the room as Patty read and her mom chocked out, “You will always be my Peppermint Patty.” One student said afterward, “The givers, receivers, and observers all cried. When starting to cry, I didn’t know why I was crying.” Crying in any class is extraordinary, and when everyone is crying, something has happened that touches the great rhizome underneath all humanity.
Guido wrote a hilarious song of gratitude for Miguel's friendship and sang it with guitar accompaniment:
We're both manly men, I will sing no mush,
But I want you to know I care.
If you need a friend, you can count on me;
Call out "Guido", and I'll be there.
In their evaluations of the course at the end of the semester,” Friday, October 27th was one of the greatest nights of my life” was not an untypical comment from observers and speakers alike. As a teacher and human being, it is hard to ignore all this. We do not have a vehicle in our culture for telling the people who mean the most to us how thankful we are that they are on the planet – and even when we are moved to do so, we shrink in embarrassment.