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April 8th, 2016

The Secret Behind Lee Brower’s Life Coaching: The Gratitude Rock

By Ron Nakamoto

Lee Brower has become a guru to many people because of the Gratitude Rock.  When the movie “The Secret” first came out a decade ago, the short story featuring Lee and the Gratitude Rock was one of the movie’s most popular segments.  In the video below, Lee Brower retells the part of the story where he serendipitously came across a special rock during one of the darkest times in his life.  Vowing to be more grateful for the blessings in his life, the act of carrying a rock became a reminder that there is always something one can be grateful for.  As Lee explains, Gratitude transformed his life as well as the lives of many people whom he’s touched with his work.

Lee Brower continues to learn and advance his thinking on Gratitude.  He’s developed a model called the Four Levels of Gratitude which builds on an awareness of ingratitude within ourselves and others to inspire more grateful thoughts and behavior.  He’s identified Social Gratitude – saying “please” and “thank you” – and Appreciation as essential expressions of Gratitude.  Ultimately, Lee promotes unconditional giving without expectation of anything in return as the expression of the highest form of Gratitude.

Lee Brower now reminds the people he works with and coaches to “Go B.I.G.” – begin in Gratitude – by thinking of the Four Levels of Gratitude. He’s developed a journal that has become a primary tool to develop and reinforce a daily Gratitude practice.

And he still carries his Gratitude Rock.

Here is Lee Brower’s message in his own words:

So years ago, my daughter is…I have a daughter who has struggled with addictions.  O.K.?  And so, as she struggled with her addictions, we went to put her into rehab.  And as went to put her into rehab, she looked at me with tears coming down her face, and she said that “I failed the family.”  And she was moving into shame.  She’d tried and failed…tried…failed…and after a while, you start moving into shame.

So she moved into shame.  And I’m standing there with her and…her nickname since she was 12 years old is “Mariposa” (Mariposa in Spanish means “butterfly”).  So as I’m looking with her, somewhere inspired inside of me – I’m sure I must have said it our heard it somewhere else – I looked her in the eye and…while first of all, I said, “Natalie, if you go through this experience, when you come out the other side, will you be better or worse for having gone through this experience?”  And she said, “Well, better.”  “By allowing me as your father to go through this experience with you, will I be better or worse for having gone through this experience with you?”  She said, “Well, you’ll be better.”  Then I said, “Well, let’s get going with it then. “  I said, “You have known the struggle of the caterpillar.  You have known the loneliness of the cocoon.  You’re about ready to experience the flight of the butterfly.  Let’s go do it.”

Now I left that day and I was not in gratitude.  I was in self…my happiness was based upon comparison at that time.  So that’s a false sense of happiness…I was having trouble at home… I was having trouble with my daughter…I can’t imagine having a daughter who’s doing drugs…I was having trouble in my work…and I was walking along the beach…

As I was walking along the beach, I see this black rock…kind of a gray rock with a black imprint on it.  It’s almost dark, the waves are lapping at my feet, I’m standing there…and I reach down, and I pick it up.  And here is this imprint of a black butterfly…in flight.  We have that rock to this day.  And I took it back and I FEDEX’d it back to where Natalie was, wrote down the story of the day before, and we captured it.

Then I went back out and I said to myself, “I’m never going to let myself go into this space again.  This is not a good place.  I have so much to be grateful for.  And no matter what happens, I’ve got a daughter who’s learning (remember, always make your learning greater than the experience), I have a wonderful family, I’ve got wonderful opportunities, wonderful friends, wonderful talents, wonderful experiences…I am rich, I am loaded to the hilt…and I am so grateful for it.  And I picked up a rock and I carried it in my pocket.  And I’ve carried a rock in my pocket ever since.

Every morning when I get up, I go through a process that’s matured.  But when it first started, I would think about something I was grateful for that day, put it (the rock) in my pocket, and whenever I would touch it, I would think back on it.  And at the end of the day, I would take out my wallet and take out my rock and I would ask myself, “What am I grateful for that happened today?”  And that would move me into a space of gratitude.

On an airplane, I’ve had a flight attendant come through and write me a note on a napkin saying, “Thank you Mr. Brower for everything that you do.”  I thought “What?”  Then she comes back and says, “I have to show you something.”  And she has on these pants…she reaches in (to her pocket) and she has a rock.  She said, “My husband lost his job.  And we started to get bitter about it.  We saw what you said about gratitude and how you use a rock.  We decided that we’re going to carry a rock in our pocket…He’s got a new job.  We’re moving to Los Angeles and we’re staying in gratitude through the whole thing.  We think that it helped us to attract the opportunity rather than be in a bad space.”

I had a man come up to me.  His eyes were very moist.  He said, “ I want to tell you ‘Thank you’. “  “Well, what for?” (I asked).  “I heard about your story with a rock.  A year ago today – this very day – my wife died.  We’d been planning for all of our lives to be together during retirement.  To be able to do all of these wonderful things; that’s what we’d worked for.  And I was bitter.  I was mad at God.  ‘This isn’t fair, God.  We worked.  We’d been together.  We wanted to make life together.  We had all these plans.  We wanted to do all these things.  And then you take her…What’s up with that?  Why are you treating me this way?’

Then he said, “I heard about the rock and the system.  I went out…” and he reaches in his pocket and pulls out a rock and he holds his hand out like this…and here’s this rock, just an ordinary rock.  And he said, “This is from my wife’s garden.  And every day, I think about her and how much I appreciate her and what she’s done for my life.  I wouldn’t be the same person I am today.  And I determined that I’m going to represent her and everything we stood for.  And it’s changed my life.  Every day when I’m done at night, I take it (the rock) out and I put it down.  And I say, “Thank you very much for this day; for being able to reflect upon her and where she’s taken me.”

Has he moved into gratitude?  Absolutely.  But it took a rock.  It took a rock to get him to move into that space on a regular basis; to develop that habitual gratitude…of being able to grow.

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