"A Season for Gratitude"
Joyce and Barry Vissell

With the approaching holidays let's turn our thoughts to gratitude. Focusing on gratitude can bring magic and blessings into our lives. We'd like to share a little story with you.

Seventeen years ago our first book, The Shared Heart, was printed and ready for distribution. Because we were unable to find a publisher, we had the book published ourselves. Now lay the monumental task of trying to distribute the copies.

Our friend and mentor, Ram Dass, had edited the book for us and had written a forward. He also gave us his mailing list of 6,000 people to get started. We designed our first flyer to send to the list and felt proud of it. The day before Thanksgiving, 1983, we spent the last of our savings at the post office as 6,000 of these flyers went out across the United States.

That evening, we had a group of friends come to our home for a Thanksgiving service, where we focused on our gratitude for those things that were hardest in our lives. It was a beautiful evening. Before we closed the service we brought out copies of the flyer for people to bless. Each person held a copy and said a prayer for the book. Our friend Nancy spoke up hesitantly after studying the flyer, "There is no price anywhere on this flyer." Sure enough we had neglected to put on the price. Our hearts sank!! ! Row could people buy the book without knowing the price? They would probably think we were very spacey and just throw the flyer in the garbage. We felt our one chance for distribution was gone. Our friends lovingly gathered around us and reminded us of the importance of gratitude in difficult times. We stayed up late that night trying to be grateful, rather than freaking out about our mistake. By morning we were thankful that some good would come of the situation.

Though we'd never borrowed money from our parents before, we humbled ourselves and borrowed enough to print a postcard and mail it out. In this mailing we told the story of our mistake, that we were so excited about our book we had neglected to give the price. We shared the price of the book along with our efforts to be grateful and move on.