I am thrilled to share an interview with Michele Wahlder, author of Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude. I, personally, think this is just the neatest idea and even though I haven't had the chance to read this yet, I truly hope to soon. Besides being author to this creative and inspiring book, Ms. Wahlder is a certified life coach, career counselor, licensed psychotherapist, motivational speaker and gratitude enthusiast. She is also the founder of Life Possibilities, LLC. Ms. Wahlder holds an MS in Counseling and Development from Texas Woman’s University and a BA in Communications from Tulane University. Also adding to Michele Wahlder's life experiences, she has worked with numerous organizations, including Match.com, The Nielsen Company, Lucent Technologies and Girls, Inc.
Michele Wahlder resides in Dallas, Texas, with her fiancé Michael, “bonus daughter” Zoe, and Portuguese water dog Moses.
First of all, could you tell us a bit about: Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude?
Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude uses the structure of the alphabet, to provide 26 spiritual solutions to help individuals develop a perspective of gratitude to better cope with the challenges of life. It offers a rare combination of uplifting and beautiful illustrations, quotes, narratives, affirmations and prayers to give the reader an experience of gratitude rather than just a theoretical explanation. This book will help you:
• Heighten your awareness and appreciation of life’s daily gifts
• Attract opportunities with a positive mind-set
• Surmount life’s challenges with a healthy reservoir of gratitude
• Find the hidden blessings in difficult situations
• Free yourself from worry, negativity and resentment
What do you want readers to take away from reading Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude?
My hope in creating Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude is to provide an easy-to-implement, effective means of helping others find the wellspring of optimism, serenity and prosperity that comes from the simple practice of gratitude. The ability to sustain a positive outlook on life is a beneficial by-product of the practice of gratitude.
What was the most fun about writing Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude?
I loved writing the affirmations and prayers. This part particularly connected me to my spirituality and my connection with something greater than myself. I always felt inspired, energized and grateful when working on these aspects of the book.
What was the hardest part about writing Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude?
I wanted to write the book with spiritual terms that were accessible to people of all religious background and faiths. At times, it was difficult to try and find spiritual terms that I thought everyone could relate to.
What kind of research did you do for Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude?
I read as much about gratitude as possible from the perspectives of different authors and spiritual leaders.
Do you have a favorite excerpt from Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude? Could you share that with us, please?
Each solution has parts I really love. However in the introduction, I particularly like this description of gratitude:
“Through the conscious practice of gratitude, we are able to find within ourselves a deep well of joyful appreciation for what we already have. The Hebrew term for the word “gratitude” is hakarat ha’tov, literally translated as “recognizing the good.” When we recognize and focus on the good in our lives, we are making the choice to embrace the sweetness of life and live fully aware of our divine abundance. When we take time to be grateful for our daily bounty, we begin to feel a warm, enveloping sense of appreciation. This is the essence of gratitude.”
Could you please tell us about your writing process?
Using the alphabet as a structure, I set deadlines by which each letter was to be completed.
Do you have any particular habits that you take part in while writing? By that I mean certain music you like to listen to, foods you like to eat, environment that helps you write better, etc.
I usually would get a tea or coffee, sit down at my desk or Starbucks – sometimes play around on the internet, read emails first and then after about 20 minutes of futzing around, I would begin actually writing. When I was on a roll, I would write and edit for up to 8–10 hours at a time.
Where do you get your ideas and inspirations?
Truly, they were divinely inspired.
How did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Was there any authors or books that made you think "Wow, that's what I want to do – craft stories of my own for others to read"?
I have always written in journals for myself. With Alphatudes, it wasn’t so much a conscious decision, but more of a calling once I got the idea for Alphatudes. It seemed like a fun project that would help people, so I just began writing and sharing.
What made you take that leap from "wanting" to be a writer, as opposed to "becoming" a writer? Many talk of being a writer and dip their toes in, but it seems there is often a sort of "push" to bring one over that wall.
I had gotten a really great response from my life coaching clients about the “alphabet of gratitude” process I shared with them. It worked really well with people to bring a more positive outlook into their lives. The positive results encouraged me to want to share the process with a larger audience – I became a writer!
Were you an avid reader as a child? If so, what were some of your favorite books?
Yes, I loved Anne of Green Gables particularly!
If you had to summarize your life and give it a book title, what would that title be?
The Magical Divine Adventure
What are you working on right now? Could you give us a taste/teaser (aka excerpt) from your current WIP?
I am spending most of my writing time exploring “soul traits” and how we can grow in our spiritual curriculum by becoming aware of and balancing our traits.
What are you reading right now?
Path of the Just, by Moshe Luzzatto
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Alan Morinis, Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson.
If you could have lunch and chat with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Louise Hay. At some low points in my life, I read Louise’s books and listened to her soothing and uplifting tapes. I would love the chance just to be in her positive presence.
What do you hope to accomplish within the next five years?
I would like to continue to grow and evolve on my spiritual path, build my dream home and get married to the love of my life. I would also like to be part of a larger gratitude project.
Is there anything that you would like to add? That you would like readers to know about you or your writing?
Finding the blessings of my day has become a positive healthy habit that has changed my outlook on life. This gratitude habit, which positively changes our outlook, is available to everyone. If you feel down, pessimistic or ungrateful you have the ability to lighten your suffering through the practice of gratitude, which helps us to find the blessings in our challenges. I find that the more I expect to experience opportunities for gratitude, the more opportunities are presented!
Where can readers get in touch with you? Twitter, Blog, Facebook, etc?
Michele Wahlder, Life & Career Coach, founder of Life Possibilities and author of Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude – 26 Solutions for Life’s Little Challenges.