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#139: Diana Butler Bass, 100 Days of Gratitude

2018-06-13
Author and religion scholar Diana Butler Bass has tried on many forms of Christianity, from growing up Methodist to becoming an Evangelical Christian for years and then joining the Episcopal Church, where she started exploring Centering Prayer and eventually meditation. Though her 10 books span a range of facets on Christianity, Bass says writing her most recent book, "Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks," saved her life.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For maybe see ten percent happier Vodka Dan, were attacking of a big issue this week with somebody who, I think comes out of some really interesting perspective. The issues gratitude something a lot of us lack, and I'm interested in the notion that you can train it as a skill, so diet Butler Bass, who approaches it from a christian contemplative standpoint is a really interesting person to talk to about this, and she got a new book conveniently entitled grateful. When I talk to her in a second, though, first, your voice, males and here's number one, I question: should I and how do I let persons thoughts pass through my meditation It seemed a little easier when I was a boy depressed to meditate. It's actually a little more challenging when I have decided to stay with a Bradford stand task.
I should have issued, might have yet if this is annoying to regular listeners, but I'm gonna do it every time, I'm not an editor, you're, not a mental health experts, and I have not heard this- he square she's in invents jobs do my best as a ragged found meditate or to answer them. That being said, thoughts are thoughts. Author in meditation should be treated the same way, which is you give a respectful salute and gently escort your attention back to the breath. I can understand and not picking on you, because I can understand why positive thoughts would be sticky and especially if you ve been the history of depression and positive thoughts. Therefore, our sticky Arabic as there are more novel so the again. No, no, no shame And our game, I'm just saying the the move from a meditative Damn point is the same, which again is to notice you you couldn't.
make us a soft mental note of thinking. Ok, that's that's thinking it's not attended by an emotion, maybe that maybe the emotion is released enjoy restlessness, because you can't wait to go, do whatever you can make, make a middle of mental note that you know joy or excitement or whatever, and then, if you want to get you know, an extra credit you might even explore how that shown up in your body. Is it tingling somewhere is it do you feel further the urge to get up Pompey fist, whatever look at all those things mindfully and then, when its past which you will then you can go back to the breath by the way might be worth even noting that it does pass as everything does, because that's a really important, window into one of the big insights, which is nothing lasts, including you
That's one of the things were we're getting in touch with In meditation- and so why again before from from our super practical standpoint, what's the point, treating all of the of the content coughed up by Europe, ego or whatever mindfully the point is that when you're overtaken by any kind of thought or emotion, positive or negative, that you'd aren't owned by it. That you can. respond wisely to it. Other than racking. Finally, so you might be united, A new positive emotions and you do something, but you probably do something. Annoying and overly ebullience, as account clench. Maybe you want to let the thing pass, examine it for a second and then take positive construction, constructive acts. action just the same way, the same technique that we have with say dealing with anger when angry
up rather than just snapping, or something that you'll later regret, maybe letting it pass and then responding wisely to the emotion or to the situation rather than reacting blindly and and and on the impermanence thing. Why is that important to see? Because it is a fundamental factor, the universe and it's not something we cotton too easily. So it makes sense It's too, in a universe where we're not in control of the things are going to come and go. People in our lives our hair, our house, all sorts of these will come and go. We wanted developer healthier relationship to this. law of the universe. Aright question number two very
could be calling an. I got out of the question in a roundabout way. I have a teenager who I tried to do meditation ways to help us in inviting it was really coming overwhelming and I never did condemned Turkey do it. I read your book
kind of the same type of thing, society, with your edge and even with all in local hyperplasia, couldn't get her there. But I did start meditation as a way to hopefully get her to do with me, and I found a lot of great results that I shouldn't what is really well and parenting. For me, in in being more present, I was able to say things that caused her to be more present with really great results, and I just added my question is: do you know? How do we think is a great american tool? How do we encourage people to help their loved ones? You haven't biting and meditation would benefit, but you can't I get them there, because I found by us was that I was able to transport, allow the mindfulness I was getting from meditation over her and it's been very active and I see my practice reflecting back
That means through broke them. I actually I'm taking. You proletaire appreciate it not round about a pleasure to listen, and you answer your own question for me beautifully answer: is you can't for somebody to meditate in even attempting is incredibly annoying and and likely to backfire method. You can the most you can, who is in a kind of gently recommended, but Pushing you too hard is just as said, likely to backfire, because your basically recommending somebody take on one more task that their campaign out, what I add to their lives, also your car and telling them- and I think you're doing this- as a pair in your specific situation, but often when you run and people meditated like it, kind of a way of saying your messed up broken whatever you know, it's a! U needs of deep work did so
I shall be very careful about pushing met it, on anyone, it's really tricky when you're apparent, especially if your kid is, you know in his or her teens, aware they're likely to reject reflexively anything. You suggest. So you did you did what I would have recommended in your sounds. Like you did a beautifully bitches. You know. I often tell parents if you ve got it. It is with anxiety and anxiety among children is an epidemic right now. The best way to get a mindful kid is to be a mindful parent, that's a pain in the bud to here, because it means you have to do the work. But I really think you do have to do the work. Your kid in my view is most likely to model what you do now. what you say. I said this before in the Pike Ass, my parents, sure man, all sorts of things, none of which I mean I Ivan joke that they told me I could watch tv,
I work in the box so but but they date model, the bunch of behave up the river there, a bunch of things they did that are all of which I now do. You know importance of meaningful work importance of having a healthy marriage importance of daily exercise. importance of a healthy diet, all these because I didn't actually lecture me much about- I just saw them do or power judges count of pounded in my neurons as a consequence and that's obviously an end of one small small dataset, but I think as it from understanding, not exhaustively familiar with the parental literature, but I think I'm on a reason. solid ground there. When I say that you, should model mindfulness and let it seep into her in her own time or, as you said by us and then there This thing where you can hear answers to some of your questions can include meditative concepts. What that would
can be useful. Even if she's not meditating, you can refrain summit these issues and refresh, yet through your understanding of meditative concepts such as responding, rather than reacting or toppling yourself from from habitual thought processes and that can be really use again, even if she's not practising ice just spent. I had the privilege of Spain twenty four hours just a day or I'll go with my good friend and and Co. Author of the last book I wrote a Jeff Warren. We wrote meditation for fidgety sceptics together is an incredible met. mission teacher from Toronto, and and we were given a talk together and he was telling me about. A project is working out where he we really thinks of rotation as like a first aid kit for sanity. You know first aid carefully human condition where, if you, if
more people learn how to meditate Eve if they're not teaching others to meditate they may be, but at the very police. There also just kind of modelling sanity and that can spits you you're like little nodes, little ambassadors of sanity and that that really can spread through the human network, so good on you, if also to other things, to say before we to get our guest, last week, somebody asked me about C B, T Cognitive Behavioral, therapy and I I made my best guess in my answer. You can go listen to if you want I was a little. I was openly unsure that I was answer correctly, but I want to send a thank you to Rich bloom. Who is a psychologist in Connecticut who called
and assured me that I did answer the question correctly. So Richard thank you for that. I really do appreciate that anybody who wants to go here, my apparently correct answer you can go back to last week's episode. Die the Butler Bass, but a great guest shoes recommended to me- and I am grateful is a loaded term for the recommendation. Diana has just written a book called grateful all about her coming to terms with the fact She wasn't that something of an ingrate in her own life and an she talks about how she went about cultivating what is, of a life scale par excellence, and I'm really, You know that in a regular listeners, will have heard me say before that may be animated inside for me and my whole side. Hustle
in the meditative world, is that the mind is training and they're. All these skills, no gratitude, generosity, compassion, happiness, com that we want and, as it turns out, these are tradable skills. They're, not factory settings that Campi tinkered with gratitude. One of them, and I am actually working on a book about kindness- I don't even love that word so much is because people find a treacly, but I'm going to do my own serve been on kindness and the grass one of the skills I want to look at, which is why I wanted to have Diana on also interested. I was president, and that interest has now been somewhat sated because, as you'll hear sheet, she also talks about meditation with as it as its practice within the christian community, so a lot to recommend Diana Butler Bass, but she's better at
making the case for herself than I am so here she is Diana Butler Bass. Thank you become a non really push it. It here gum glad ANA Marie Tax recommended you. I should say that is just in case people know, but she's. The host of with friends like these on the crooked media network and choose cut enough to have manner show, and she strongly urged me to talk to you and I'm glad for a number of reasons that I will get to shortly, and I want to talk about gratitude and your new book grateful. But first, let's just with meditation. How did you get into it in the first place? How into it are you meditation is not something I knew growing up. I grew up as a Methodist kid and too Church very seriously, and then I wound up for several years within Angela Merkel churches. As an adult, I became an appeal Apparently, wetware would tell me that a interrupt you felt something I do believe in experience where
where is that of mostly happened in Arizona and California? When I was in high school and then in college and so I wound up in a very large bible church in Scots they'll Arizona as a teenager, and then I went on to any Van College in Southern California. So I have some pretty wide experience within American Protestantism but from main line to Joel correct and neither one of those traditions are traditions that do meditation. I wasn't until affect some evangelical. Preposterous will tell you it's if you it's a dab, ass, yeah, you're, opening self up to demons coming in. They think that it's dangerous, and so later on. When I was a young adult, I wound up. going to the pistol church, which is its own
thing. Its main line protestant, but is also a kind of catholic and it's just a different part of american religion and escapade plans have been over the last twenty years or so years, exploring the territory of what they call centering prayer, and so that practice, general prayer, which is literally prayer Where are you you sit quietly where you discover the presence of God inside I'd. In yourself. and oftentimes in centering prayer. You will meditate around a particular scripture or an answer, maybe in the life of Christ, but it's a different approach to prayer. It's not the kind of prayer where you're asking for something instead it's a prayer where you're being with the Holy Spirit and so it was there where I first began on counter what is really a classic
meditation within the christian tradition and after exploring that, which I still do centering prayer retreats. On occasion, I owe you'll go off for several days. Just do that yeah. I keep. Do you when you, but can I just ask you about centering prayer, because the folks who was in his podcast I spec then we're doing a kind of meditation witches. You pay attention. The feeling of your breath, come again and going out and then, when you get distracted, you start again or you doing the kind of meditation where you work with a mantra? You know ass, a word silently repeated yourself and then, when you get started start again, I'm sure there folks was in the past. To do other has meditation entirely or none at all, but I think the broad swath, probably one of those two- I'll get the Danish initially describe. What are they? Differences are similarities that centering prayer would have with what I just described. Now, Our experience in the silent
and forms of meditation that are much more out of Buddhist and completely non secular kinds of traditions. So I can actually speak to that with some sense of authority and experience and wits what's fascinating to me is there at the similarities are intriguing, and I think that allowed people who don't do christian forms of meditation dont know this. That Wkrisha meditation does have money. there's and usually there, the name of Jesus, perhaps or saying the word over and over again love or some aspect of her Christians understand. Gods being so, there that kind of mantra meditation, there is of very traditional a form of since entering prayer that has a longer mantra and it is to say, over and over again I Lord Jesus Christ.
have mercy on me a sinner and it's so you say that over and over again and a lot of people actually say it, and each time they say it. They drop a word off, and so you begin it begin them playstation process with the whole mantra, and then you drop back a word at a time and so you have more more space and fewer and fewer. Words until the final word is Lord, and then the last act the meditation last moment of meditation is just silence. And you're sitting there and you ve, had this experience of praying through. You know it's not really prank through words, but its letting these birds come in to you and experiencing them with great damp with your breathing and you know, sitting use they or on a pillow in some way, and so it's very similar, two kinds of meditations that my
who are Buddhists experience so that Montier meditate. Ten is present and Christianity and something that lie Christians, don't even know it There is also just the classic silent breath, meditation which some people do with her with rosary beats and I know I actually have a wonderful set of beads- that I got from a buddhist friend that I you sometimes imitation. The hundred mate is at a model yeah yeah yeah the hundred beats as I have this beautiful these beautiful, invitation, beats that I carry around with me. I haven't here in New York with me as my effect. So would I e the? U of high school in college wow would you I own. When the family, you came from which I'd like to hear more about what, how would the old you in the family of origin feel about your current.
Serve more eclectic religious contemplative style. My by parents have sadly passed away, so I can't ask My my dad mama really amazingly interesting, open people, and they were the kind of Christians that, wherever there his love and wherever there was goodness and acts of generosity, they could praise those things, and so they were not there sort of christian parents who raised us to think that you know Jesus Christ is the only way and that everybody else is going to Hell. That was not my parents world, for you, and so I credit, a lot of my open ass to the fact that I was raised in this really very gentle form of methodism that I heard a lot about the world and cared a lot about our neighbours? And so my prince would have been happy for anything that
I would discover my my life that made me virtual journey better. That would make me a better person and that will contribute to love in the world. So that would be my parents. There need to be more Christians like that on the planet, I'm afraid that right now, Christianity has in some way deservedly bad rap because the noisiest voices of the christian tradition. Right now are ones of exclusion and condemnation and that that really the Serbs me, but they of course, do not appreciate. Borrowed practices or practices multiple religion share, they think that that's dangerous. Would you have thought that when you are young, you Angelica, I might have, I think, probably when I was moving into the tradition in my teens and you're. Just you know kind of in an age where your exploring the theology
for yourself and There is a lot of voices, especially for young women, so out of work does that around you telling you how you're supposed to believe, and I think that young women have a tendency always to one, please those people, the mostly male pastors or in authority in those communities, so I think that yes, there would have been I'm when I would have found- self, on the judge side of that and my parents were who were alive than were actually a little worried about me My mother in particular, said. Oh, my gosh. I can't believe that you're going to this kind of Bible, thumping church and later on, when I became an episcopalian I came home and I told her that I'd made another sort of move, amazed, spiritual journey and my mom looked me said episcopal. Ah, that's
something I can understand, thank goodness so so I Methodist mother, approved of me recovery and a piss Capelli and cause she knew that it was a more open and more that less judgmental I'd, say form of of Christianity. So not there at there aren't good evangelist goals, but they certainly do not necessarily bring as a tradition any kind of openness to the to the practices of things like meditation and gratitude. There's, that's not that's not their strong point, although I will say just that just amplify the point you are making to the end. I mean I have a lot of evangelical friends who are really interested in imitation then, and so you know, I don't think their representative, I think there is there, maybe they're representative. In some way I dont know I shouldn't have the data social speak too, to which authority, but I do there are many in evangelical world who are kind of anti meditation, but for sure them and even juggles that I know, for example, MIKE,
liquor on and weekend good Morning, America Paul affairs, whose very whose quite devout She is a very active meditate her and not actually in a more in this sort of secular mindfulness, tradition. Interestingly, so so, there's a there's a diversity there and I've learned as somebody who grew up in the people's Republic of Massachusetts and had no exposure growing up to the eventual community that others, this infamous Washington posted at all. Well that refer to the evangelical community is sort of like Domini. Early lead from decades ago, is. That was not my experience that I to really had in being deserve? Evangelical hell agenda and also to serve rank of our folks in the pews not at all similar to the caricature, said I encountered some cases- yes, but not in many cases, not similarly encounters titty characteristic, one encounters in liberal, dominated media. That being said,
I'm not I. I wish that there was more of an openness to Yeah, it's it's an interesting question about how people see of Goals- and I act as I do. I have a huge part of my life spent in that sub culture and the college but I went to in California was an evangelical college and, was not a place that was intellectually close. in any way. We read pretty much end. Then you can imagine and the idea there was that you could encounter any idea any any thinker and you could gain from that And end it wasn't just an issue of of reading people. wanted to argue with that, but it was really an issue to read people like Nietzsche and understand Nietzsche on the terms that Nietzsche presents so part of my
a movement eventually towards the episcopal church, came because my college was so open minded as an essential at the school. I think that the difficulty hums as I was saying I was part of a congregation and Arizona and there's a car. Never the ground almost kind of folk religion aspect too many parts of even our goal is on particularly in the southwest. the American South parts of the MID West, where those kinds of ideas like you know they do that, remember, occupy you if you meditate are kind of common, ideas among people who are in pews and then there- this other aspect of evangelical at when we're seeing that right now to because evangelical ISM itself is so divided and it's become very divided around a course. Donald Trump and but what you often witnessing. If you follow religion in the news,
is that a lot of the more two more intellectual angelic goals are beside themselves that there still such a high level of Angelica Support for Donald TUSK, and so that division right, there's reveal it reveals within itself, is sort of a fault line within you haven't jellicoe community between Evans articles who are more open and more engaged frankly and things that are happening in the world, whether their politically it politically attuned or whether there are tuned to trans around spiritual practices and that their willing to engage and willing to listen and sometimes find great benefit and ideas outside of that they have. In general, world in their own spiritual lives. But then there is this other part of, Angela Merkel them. That is really really really strong on the ground and that support but then I know too from my
Am I forget Arians, I don't wanna get bogged down this because I do want to get your book, but the its I'll just say by way of a button. Buttoning up comment here, the so interesting this debate about how trump plays the evangelical of a community United States, because you often hear those some event. I shall pass your shirt, bemoaning the how how much loyalty there is. The trump in any event juggle circles. And then, on the other hand, you ll, hear folks say: look I didn't elect a pastor elected somebody's gonna defend my faith in me, Put gorse eternal new course agendas a cordon and he's doing all the things. I I want him to do on foreign policy level, so let's call it good anyway. Fascinating debate were one actually if I had the time that I would want to delving quite deeply with you, but I do want to rob you of talking about the things that are quite would probably more relevant to this package. So I had derailed before when you were talking about your meditation career, you, you were talking about centering prayer that you have done for couple
decades when we get you back on the rails, so you had done after a little bit and then you started moving into other forms of meditation. How did that come up with some other came about through personal experience, which I think that your pray relate to? I have all is struggle with anxiety and depression and on those things they just sort of entered in my life in ways that I did not expect the first time ever had and anxiety attack. I was in a Kroger Superman. Give em Durham. North Carolina was right before I started working on my phd, and I literally did not know, what was happening to me. It was so terrifying that the room, the emblem, the grocery, where was spinning and I dropped whatever. Wasn't buying, I don't even remember and ran out the grocery store and sat down in my car in this intense the Carolina summer heat as sweat just pouring from every every?
part of my body and crying, and that was the first time that that had ever to me and I didn't at first, I thought something terror, all was wrong with me and physically. So I went to the doktor, went to the hospital and discovered that this was something called an anxiety at tat and for me it was twinned with depression as well as very hard, and we actually ties in with our current conversation the very hard to be eleven Jellicoe woman. In the mid nineteen eighties, who was working on a doctorate in religious studies? It was not done, and so I was very alone and I was breaking ground. You know my my own community, so it cosmic credible manner. Stress personally and my first marriage first
so so anyway that whole episode open my life up, two different kinds of tools that win. Just help and somewhere along the line. Those early years when I was dealing with stress of graduate school someone introduce me too. I believe it occur having been a therapist who introduce me to the idea of meditation guided meditation, in particular and gave me some cds by a woman by the name of a Bell worth Knapsack, who has done cities, route, Cleveland, clinic and other places and those, meditations that literally do guide you through processes to reduce stress or to take away fear. Those kinds of things is so so those guided better Patients were an opening and I realise that they were sort of like the centering prayer expire answers that I had so both of those things were
tools and practices that I began to pursue and eventually that, I realise there was something else to the asylum annotation. Am I had experienced that mostly in Quaker churches, where they have some Quaker communal, These have our long Sunday, worship, services that are completely silent and the similarities between what happens in a Sunday morning, silent Quaker meeting and what happens at health and wellness, retreat, led by by Buddhists, is removed, come on an so I've been to both and its for me at least very similar experience, and now I I prefer silent, meditation above the fur,
arms of the mantra, meditations and centering prayer and guided meditation. I really appreciate whatever it is. It happens within my my being when I can be, in that kind of silence for half an hour to an hour, but what we do things done for you. as you mean, has your anxiety and depression these days and do if it's gone down, would you credit meditation at all with the diminution? Ah, yes, don't struggle nearly as much as I used to with anxiety and depression, and I think that part of it. For me, I hope this is into embarrassing, but women have entered sing phases in their lives related to hormones, and so when I went pastor when in a manner pause as in my early mid fifties at, and I'm not that far past
now. That will, you think, maybe the embarrassing seventeen folks they I'd start embarrassing me, but I don't know it my my offer. in Methodist mother sometimes stands by me and says: can you say that on the radio unity for that matter of Mozilla is so anyway? I, when I got to that that part of my life when Everything was changing biologically for me, a lot of my stress and depression, literally just ebbed away, and so I at some sort of hormonal change, helped me a great deal but I also had had years of of walking through these period of intense fear or intense grief and had learned from meditation and learned from it assertive other ways of availing myself to practices. I think that cause us to be grounded in things like come walking a labyrinth
being out in nature. These are things I back try to balance with it, busy life and also with the life of being a writer which is a very stressful, surprisingly stressful. career to have. I hear you here. You writing sucks People always say they want to be a writer, and I always kind of look in say: that's nice, don't do it, he her it's hard. Well, let's talk what you're writing as one of the many reasons side from the founding recommendation from Honorary Cox that I wanted to have you on was was the subject of this book, which is called grateful. I is selfishly wanted. Have you on because not only my interest in the subject generally, but I'm gonna write a new book about all. I can say the title on my own: podcast become
as it has word in word, in not allowed to bad words. But let me just say also menopause is ok, but bad words are wrong: will, Yes, a bad words at an amateur Disney employees are not allowed, but the the title of the book is the self interested case for not being a and the no final word started in a and ends with an easy and you can fill in the thousand continents as you please, as Lenin, a jerk would be another word, and one of the things I want to write about is how gratitude actually very useful in this. So having said all that tell to talk with you give your book and then we'll there. This book was not a book that I wrote out of a sense of expertise at their tenth book that I have written, which means there's a been a lot of stress along the way and many
of my early books were about liberal Christianity and congregational life and how all that was changing in America. Different kinds of religious and spiritual trends in those things cause I do. I have a doctorate in that and I also have a lot of life experience in those kinds of congregations, and so when I went to write those books, I was an authority, I'm an expert, and all my degrees say that so I was writing my former books out of that sense. This book I went to- and I said, I'm fifty six years old and I don't really think I understand gratitude what why did you think it was something that will be important stand well. Impart there was a year is about three years ago. When two of my good friends passed away, one was set He too, and the other one was eighty two, and these are people who meant,
for me and that I really cared about- and I worked with quite frequently a new testament writer by the name of Marcus Borg and then I'm a woman who wrote wrote about. what religion in the media for many years by name of Phyllis Tickle and these two meant they were just teachers they really in a sense. If Christians have gurus, they were mine, and when they passed away. I got me thinking quite a bit about the fact that I was in my mid late fifties and what kind of person I want to be for the next twenty to twenty, I've thirty years of my life and how kind of legacy. What I leave behind and I realize I have had friends through the year- but who are older than myself who's who get into their sixty seventies and eighties and their lives are full of regret and they have just let regret, eat them alive and
then there are other friends like markets and Phyllis, who were people who carried around hissing, horrible sense of Thanksgiving that their lives had not necessarily Easy had not necessarily been always what they expected, but through who everything I happened to them. They were able to find the presence of goodness they were able. appreciate the abundance that surrounded them. They were able to see good and other people and, as I thought about their law. I've done what they had taught me through the years after they they died within like three or four months of each other. I realized I want to be like that and when in your mid fifties there still plenty of time to grow and to become the person you wanna be as good as a why as you know, a wise person alive
the elder in society, and so that was the first thing that prompted me. Is this something it's tradable yes, I actually learned it while writing the book, which was fast, meaning. So I walk into this project. I said to my my long time editor, I'm thinking about this idea. And he said I'm so glad because you really need to learn this up. I thought to myself: oh my gosh, that one honest editor. Why did is why he or she say that he was a he yeah? it's a he and if it relates to writing, which, as it is hard to admit in its I've, I feel sad saying in but in a writers have expectations of their Their vocational life, in the same way a lawyer or a doctor college, professor anybody really does, and there sir kinds of milestones that you really want to achieve. As as an author and I
cotton in my maid fifties, I'm on my writing was successful. I have a very solid and lovely and an audience? I care for. I got deeply I had never really sort of my work had never really got to the place where I wanted it to either in terms of its literary quality, which I really keep striving to improve with three every book, but also in terms of simple things like like sales. Which really matter, especially when, like myself, I'm it. Ll answer I dont have a day job other than writing and then doing consulting and speaking about the topic, some writing about. So I felt really bad about that and I was beginning to get kind of bitter, And despite you you're, a good company, I mean, if you see, and I my Amazon Rank minutes embarrassing. So I get it. and it's
like, I said it's, it's a little hard to admit that, but I am glad that you could say that to cause it's it's something. I think people don't Sid are often they see your name on the front of a book and they think six, your success and an yes that is true, and I ve learned to be much more grateful about that. But there is also things that we old inside, where we feel our own failures more deeply, and so my friend Hence my and my family, you know my husband and then my editor here his on the first house No doubt this is my second can whose we ve been married for twenty one years now, and it's been a resounding beautiful, amazing success. We have a wonderful twenty year old daughter but then my editor Roger who has worked with me on every one of my projects. In he's, like my brother Nobody knows me so well when he's
that to me I thought. Oh, my gosh, when my husband Richard knows this, but that Roger knows it now. This really is getting me a little concerned and so that's them. was the death of my friends, Marcus and fill us, but then, when my my editor Roger said to me what he said, I went ok, it's time to. Take this very seriously, so I start the book with. What was it was originally a chapter entitled confessions of an ingrate. I think that Chapter title now is just a confessions, no thanks a confession, but I talk about a very common thing, and that is my struggle as a young teenager with writing. Thank notes to my grandparents and about how this this struggle cause such anxiety.
such a bra between myself and my mother, that I almost just gave up the idea of of gratitude. I thought I was born sort of gratitude klutz. So that is the frame of the book but I am not an expert that I'm a strugglers and yet in struggle, there was something about gratefulness it was calling me to be of a different kind of person and a better person. As I look forward to the years that lie ahead. And so that gets laid out in the beginning of the book and then the book arcs through who that deeply personal experience that share. I think that so many people share that experience of our mothers in us Handing over us saying right Thank you notes. I was so bad at it. That way,
My mom one Christmas, I think of us my eyes of fourteen or fifteen. Every year we used to get one hard back book. Among our other Christmas presents under the tree. And so every year there was that one book and I and I loved, opening it and seeing what it would be to erase Apulian to the Christmas tree this one morning in my early mid teens, and I pull the the wrapping paper off and the book is I'm kidding miss manners. my mother had put a bookmark in the section on how to write. Thank you notes. It was the most passive aggressive Christmas as an I have ever, I'm sure. That's even passiveaggressive. That's just aggressive. it's on my just like, like you know, I want you to learn how to do this, because I want you to be a civilised person and I just never. I was bad at it.
and so I've learned since then lots of people about it. That an end is, I didn't, understand gratitude because of those experiences, and so this book says: ok, gratitude Scobie more than more than our conversation read up. It is with great brought to you by indeed used by over three million businesses for hiring where business owners and h, are professionals can post job openings with screener questions? then sort review and communicate with candidates from an online dashboard learn more at indeed dot com slash higher There's a lot coming at you right now, turmoil, tweets and insane amount of chatter, I'm bread milky with ABC News, and I am here to throw you a lifeline. It'll do podcast called start here or our exports give you on the ground access to the biggest stories of the day. We're gonna give you some context, some clarity among the chaos twenty minutes every week day subscribed now,
apple, podcast or wherever you get your blog causes and start here. I think of it something like people which is now taking everything for granted, yes and eventually force. I figured out that I was really and in great that that there were things that I felt very grateful for, but because I had is early experiences. Were my mom had taught me that gratitude had a particular shape and form I was about you know, writing notes or giving give sir giving an apple to a teacher at the end of the school year, making sure that the people who had given me something got something in return. It was an exchange acquired sectional yeah kind of quid pro quo. Oh transactional approach to Gratitude
that I didn't really appreciate other forms of gratitude, and so in the book I talk about how gratitude is much more care plaques, then what we often think and that involves our feelings and our actions, and that Those feelings and actions are expressed in two levels of human spirit, hence for us as individuals and also for us in community and so that there is really for large spheres in which Gratefulness plays a major role, and that is, I identify them in the book. Is me and my emotions me He and my ethics not becomes like the practices of writing. Thank you notes or the making sure you you return a favour. If someone does your good favour so so that feelings
ethics on a personal level, and then then, the next few sections of the book are about. We and our feelings and how attitude is some part of communal life that we don't pay attention to, and yet it's always present. So you gets these sort of unexpected moment, in our public and social lives were say. For example, the Cubs win the World Series, and everybody you know, Literally millions of people in Chicago poured out into the streets, and, as reporters wrote about that, it became very clear that it was about, and joy was also background, and times people were interviewed around the time of cot. Cubs won the world Series and they all said things I'm so thankful that I'm alive now, but I could see this thing that my grandparents only dreamed about and so on. So gratitude shows up as a public
emotional practice or public emotional response often, and then I argue at the end of the book that if it if we can feel grateful as people in expected Ed serendipitous sort of ways. What would it look like if we attended to gratitude more deeply In our political and social lives, could we have a politics of gratitude? There is based, round a vision of abundance, a bill, a vision of connection Anne and care for one another a real, deep and profound social humility instead of hubris and so wet starts. As a book with me morning, the loss of two friends and thinking about growing older. Be com, is a sort of an arc from my youthfulness adventures with gratitude into,
a vision of a politics of gratitude that could save us as a people I want to touch on efforts. I am only just heard what you do. You feel like you're, better gratitude now after having done this book and what made you better well on it's a funny story, because the book contract was signed in the spring of two thousand sixteen, so I had been through all this stuff. With my editor and my husband and thinking through the idea in late two thousand fifteen, we talked with them my publisher, witches Harper through the a month or two thousand sixteen. We all agreed on it. Ok, yes, good red book by Gratitude contracts signed and then two thousand sixteen happened and. watching the news that year, it was a really unexpected an awful year, and I can remember being
transfixed, by what I was seeing on television, that you're here was this political candidate yelling at and encouraging violence at rallies and peoples an things that I just never would have dreamed that I would see people say in public and these upsetting sort of episode, in the news and it was it was so distracting and so distressing to me that I couldn't write. So I did my research and I structured my book, but I could not literally at my desk, and feel grateful in such a way that it could write a book about gratitude. So I said, ok I'm just going to sit this aside I'll, do what I can and afternoon Amber eighth. When everything goes back to normal, then I'll be able to write a book on gratitude, and
course November eighth happened and, while I am I oh that there were some people who were thankful for the feelings they had on the morning of November ninth, I was not one of those people literally who is in bad, and my husband came in with a cup of coffee and I said to him: tell me I dreamed what happened last night. Tell me that was a nightmare and he said no and I Donald Trump is presently nice AIDS, and he said yes- and I think I cried for six weeks and I did not grateful, nor did anybody on my street. I live on a suburb outside of wash TIM Dc. My friends are worth the Smithsonian in our sky. Teachers, were for the AG department and other things, and they were. They were stunned and so the first six weeks or so
After the election were mostly it was my neighbours, and through them, the motions of past and then Christmas and talking about our world and our little Neighbourhood street ass. He thinks giving me of Thanksgiving then receive the item. I must not pass over monitor that yeah yeah, I'm thinking eastern ass ever, but thanks being an impact than Hanukkah and Christmas. You know all happened right after that, and so you know I was in the neighborhood and, and we were thinking about what was happen to our street, you know with it with his huge change and we knew it was gonna, be huge change. So you know I started sort of pulling my
I followed by together and I went back in my office in the contract- was lying there. I called up my my publisher and I tried to change course. I said: can I read a book about something else and they said no, but this is what your contracted to do, and I thought oh, my gosh, okay. Well, what am I gonna do now, and because I'm the person than I am, I I can't write on speck. I can't write something because somebody just how then I'm supposed to write about a subject is that I have to write about it because I have some connection to it and I said- alright longer to do with some of the literature is actually said that I should do, and that is going to get I'm going to try to be grateful for one thing, so I got up about three days.
so before the inauguration, and I said, ok kid. I am grateful that Barack Obama's president for three more days and I walked down to my office and I spent five hours- writing my gratitude and next day I got up, and I was thankful for the fact that you know my daughter was getting ready to go back to school for her second semester and call And went down and I wrote, and that became the next one hundred days of my life. The first draft was finished on the hundredth day of Donald Trump Presidency, and it could forget that because of course the news in the post in the tv were awful of the hundredth day and I sent the book in that morning. So I didn't realize, that's what I done, but I had spent one hundred days of getting up. seeing that there was
huge uproar on the front page of the washing post or on the New York Times or new footing, a tv in here in the morning shows talk about some tragedy of the day, and then, I would literally walk into my office, and I would say whether my grateful for I, what I learned in that process was that the when you're grateful for one thing it becomes easier to be grateful for two things and then it becomes easier to be grateful for three and that gratitude functions almost like us or spiritual multiplication. After a little while, and so I got to the end of the of of the first draft of the book. An I literally saw the world differently than when I had began be, and my husband It means he said. You know writing this book is saved. You
I didn't realize it, that's what it had done, but I I've I've written books, I love and am proud of, and have written a lot of work. but there were no there's, never been in a two hundred pages, of words that I've written that saved my life and this book did so. Let's get practical matters of what people, what practices or maybe just one big practice that that are my listeners could embrace, and then we also just twin that with a question which As you know, how are you feeling now because Donald Trump is still present? A lot of people are delighted about that fact: you're not have you on how you feel about the book coming out. Are you gonna be checking your Amazon rank as much as I did a lot of machines and want it. But it is a lot of questions at one moment, the first one again,
what's the practice that you will do and that you would recommend for the rest of us who struggle with issues of gratitude whether beer on politics are not at the practice itself is the practice of the of having it. disposition which sees through under the circumstances- are in life to recognize that there that we live in a gifted universe and that those gifts are constant, the coming at us and that our Lives are not bereft of those gifts, whether it's the air he breathed a summons simply being gracious to us honour on a subway in the morning having food to eat, whatever those things are, no matter how rich or how poor you are. If you have the life and if you feel the abundance of that first gift. We have everything we need the poet Wendell Bury that's when my very favorite islands and poetry. He says ever
thing we need is here and that's a line about the practice of gratitude when we recognise that everything we need is here abundance and then that that Thank you coms and we move on out of that abundance, rather than a vision of scarcity and fear. So that's what the practices, the practices recognizing life in a gifted says something to do first thing in the morning: yeah direct nice that we live in a gifted universe is what we want to get too. But because we human beings, we need to have tools to help us get there, and so in the book. I talk about several some kinds of practices, most of which have been recommended by thereupon, the sun and spiritual guides and medical doctors for years and their things like keeping a gratitude journal or another really popular, one is writing. Thank you notes. You no trick to two p.
Thank you, no Sesar, sorry, but to people who do nice things for you. You know so like to go back and think about your teachers or go back and think about Iraq whatever friend, who spend particularly kind and take it a moment and send them a card and just let them know, as so to incorporate those kinds of practices. Recognising the gifts that you ve been given, and by writing them down. I have done journaling to some success in my life, but that was not how work for me. Why was doing this book? Instead? It was literally a morning at them the morning prompt, meet, prompted me and for in the first one hundred days at least have tromp. It became kind of a negative prompt, and that was picking up the washing impose tough, my porch. It was so depressing to read those headlines that it literally prompted me. Oh yes, what are we agree
for four today Diana you know, and so then the bad thing reminded me to look for the good thing, and so that became my prompt, but eventually the thing that I like the best right now and it's a kind of a silly thing, as I literally carry around a little river rock with me when I travel and a habit home on my bed, stand when I'm at home and at the river rock just says across it has carved crossing gratitude, just a single word, and so, when I'm at home that little river rock sits next to my cell phone on my bedside, table it's. The last word I see before I fall asleep at night, and so it prompts me to say thank you for whatever has happened during the day or to God or to the universe, and then, and when I wake up in the morning, my cell phone rings, of course Irene shhh over and sometimes I do
the cell phone first, but sometimes my hand lands first on the rock, and I go. Oh it's my gratitude, rock I'm awake, thank you and so that the first thing I think, when I wake up and end that, little goofy rock has become so important to me that I take it with me when I travel and M couple weeks ago, I was on an airplane and innocence, your your right or to you probably do this as I have to carry books with me and then papers to edit and all kinds of stuff when I'm traveling to my bag is off and really heavy. And so my rock is in my bag and a couple bucks remember and some things I have to editor in my bag and at nice, gentlemen, decides who was help me pick up my bag, and here is what you got in here, rocks I like that. I said yes, as a matter of fact there, either near her- and he looked at me
what are you a geologist, though? I'm just grateful, suddenly imagine what kind of befuddled meant that most must have ruled over his face He was glad he was sitting couple rode back for me on the flight. Not we cannot next to me, who is this crazy lady so or has it helped you deal with the political situation and will help you deal with the vagaries of publishing a book? Yes, has helped me enormously deal with the political situation, because whether it reminds me in terms of the politics that so much of american politics is built on really up a myth of scarcity and that is the idea that the gifts of of a good unit, forests are in the hands of only a few and that those few control all of our lives. Now there is a corrupted structure of the universe that is trying to do exactly. That thing is true and to control the gifts of the universe and monetize them and make them
only available for the few. But that's a corruption, the reality that is the deepest reality of creation if you believe, in God, its deep reality of the nature of God by fewer humanist. It's humanist deep for that, the abundance of the universe, the abundance of the gifts of of the created order are our present all the time an available to everyone in every way, and so that, that's the reality of things and to be able to live into that. reality and recognise the other story, the political story as an inch, I stress and the corruption of what is meant for good for human, kind and for the earth gives be a sense of empowerment to be able to move out and participate in the political process, not out of hopelessness, but instead out of hopeful
and it also just has given me a great deal perspective. I I do not appreciate the vision or the politics. Of President Trump, but I also recognise that so many of my more liberal friends and my progressive friends have been allowed themselves to be colonized by him. It's all they talk about it. It is literally like they give hemp, complete power over their lives and being grateful, been queued to remember the gifts being cue to remember Abundance remain it's me one of the greatest Ursus in the whole of the new testament and that is in everything, give thanks and m that first doesn't say for everything give thanks. I dont give thanks for the fact that we're living in a great time a political division up
evil of pain and fear for so many people, but we can be thankful in these times in such a way that we can see more clearly the connections we have one. there and what should be our love for neighbour and how gift are to be shared and not hoarded and finally publishing Will it help with the well? I didn't my Amazon Rankings today, but I'm successive about it than I have been in the past. So I am very thankful for that part of it. there are million things. I would love to ask about. Sadly, though, were at a time, but before we close Can you play on us the name of the book than ever? Some of your other books
We find you a social media, anything else we I this is what we often refer to as the plug zone. Cages plug everything for us. The new book is called grateful, the transformative You know I came over the sunshine innovative power of giving a transformative power of giving thanks and it's just out. It was just a release on April third by Harper one, the book that I wrote right before this, and I think that you your listeners would really enjoy as well as a book that I can't grounded and that was called finding God in the world a spiritual revolution, was also published by Harper One and people can I mean via my website, which is my name: Diana Butler Basta COM, I'm on Twitter. I mix it up a lot. So if you like politics and spirit quality and Malta comments about really, and then theology follow me on Twitter. It gets a little rowdy, their lives, which is good
and I also have a presence on Facebook to stir Diana Butler Bass so who can on social media and I do respond. I can't promise I responded everything on social media. I do block mean people who are just there to degrade others, but I will share answers to questions and try to give people a helpful suggestions about their own spiritual lives. If they ask me- and if I happened to see the comment when it comes through, so I that wonderful have won them have now that connect one another. Thank you, having agreed to say Lisbon, Ok, that does it for another edition of the ten percent happier podcast. If you liked it, please take a minute to subscribe rate us all.
if you want to suggest topics, you think we should cover our guests that we should bring in hit me up on twitter at Danby. Harris importantly, I want to thank the people who produce this. Podcast an effort on Josh cohesion and the rest of the folks here? Any BC who helped make this thing possible? We have tons of other projects. You can check them out at every single time, casts dot com. I'll talk to you next Wednesday. There's not a person in Amerika who hasn't been impact it in some way by the corona virus pandemic, but it every community there are pockets of people. we're suiting up every day. This is my my day last day of the cylinder stretch of quotas from one of our time, these or America's essential workers, the people who are keeping moving. I turn into a homespun mom and now in a new plants from ABC News. You gonna hear from damage
I actually went back to my office and saw a crime because it is not fair hearing here making sure that our community to sell faintly Bahrain. This is essentially inside the from emergency room. It's the police cruiser to the czech outline. You hear what this pandemic sounds like the people, putting selves norms, which is always a risk that I could breathe, is home to my kids or my husband, or my parents listened to the essentials inside the curve on Apple podcast, refitted, podcast, em,.