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Gratitude Seminar

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The Whole Enchilada Gratitude Seminar

Session I


Remembering the gifts, support, and guidance that helped you learn your way forward.


  • Who were the guides, teachers, mentors who came to you in each life stage?

  • What books, plays, and experiences shaped your world views and brought curiosity into action?

  • Why were the circumstances right for learning and action?

  • How did the proper questions and journeys get formed? (personal, professional, social)


Life Stages – Focus on the stages as you try to recall the events and people who provided what you needed for that time’s circumstances. Write down specific sources of gratitude.


Session II


Write up one example of timely support and guidance. In the book I selected two caretakers who taught me to be curious about everything around me: hugs, tastes and smells, physical growth and development, sound of music, how things work.


  • Recall details such as their clothing, stature and favorite sayings.

  • What were their interests and responsibilities?

  • Describe them in action (e.g., How did they move and get things done?)


Session III


Begin to block out a memoir in some detail.


  • What happened to you in each stage to the present day?

  • Work and school history

  • Spiritual and intellectual curiosity pursued

  • Where you worked and lived

  • Personal and family dynamics, joys and fears

  • How did circumstances shape your life? (e.g. war, economic conditions, personal achievements, struggles)


Session IV


Getting stories on paper or poems and songs if they come up. (Try rap – listen to Hamilton for rapping stories.) Select examples of well-done writings that are memoir style, e.g:


  • Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg

  • Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

  • Tom Sawyer by Samuel Clemens

  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank


One major advantage of writing about life’s special gifts is that it is a natural way to express (and feel) gratitude. Poets like Mary Oliver, Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, Rainer Maria Rilke were gifted at providing elegant language of gratitude. Quotes from them can be just right at certain places.


Session V


Shape and fit together disparate pieces into a coherent story focused on what and how you learned — and your gratitude.


  • Draft the first chapter as a foundation for a book

  • Keeping readers in mind as you begin to tell your story

  • Recall stories others told you that made sense at a developmental moment


Quote from sources that have inspired you: coming-of-age books, songs, plays, films that evoked feelings and raised relevant questions.

Hands Red

It is said that gratitude expressed is a healing for our spirits.

Writing Seminar

The Whole Enchilada Writing Seminar

The Whole Enchilada Writing Seminar is for those who have completed The Whole Enchilada Gratitude Seminar and want to continue to enjoy the healing experienced by expressing gratitude, as well as what comprises a good life and what it takes to get there. We’ll consider the writing of some avid scholars of the good life including: John O’Donahue, Adam Gopniok, Jim O’Toole, Krishnamurti, Roger Rosenblatt, The Dali Lama, Steindl-Rast, Jung, Montaigne and others. Sessions will be designed to support participants’ ongoing writing projects — memoirs, poetry, short stories, letters, etc. — by providing some of the things we believe are essential to nurturing the process: 


  • Keeping curiosity alive and continually feeding it;

  • Sharing your journey, progress and struggles with a fellowship of simpatico souls; and, of course...

  • Enjoying it all!

Capture your accumulated experiences and wisdom as a legacy.

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