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Four simple phrases -- "Please forgive me," "I forgive you," "Thank you," and "I love you" -- carry enormous power. In many ways, they contain the most powerful words in our language. These four phrases provide us with a clear path to emotional wellness; they guide us through the thickets of interpersonal difficulties to a conscious way of living that is full of integrity and grace.
In The Four Things That Matter Most, Dr. Ira Byock, an international leader in palliative care, teaches us how to practice these life-affirming words in our day-to-day lives. Too often we assume that the people we love really know we love them. Dr. Byock reveals the value of stating the obvious and provides insights into how we burden ourselves by hanging on to old grudges unconsciously and unnecessarily. He shows us how to avoid living with those awkward silences and uncomfortable issues that distance us from the people we love and erode our sense of well-being and joy. His insights and stories help us to forgive, appreciate, love, and celebrate one another more fully.
The inspiring stories in The Four Things That Matter Most demonstrate the usefulness of the Four Things in a wide range of life situations. They also show that a degree of emotional healing is always possible and that we can experience a sense of wholeness even in the wake of family strife, personal tragedy, divorce, or in the face of death. With practical wisdom and spiritual punch, The Four Things That Matter Most gives us the language and guidance to honor and experience what really matters most in our lives every day.
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"This beautiful book, full of wisdom and warmth, teaches us how to protect and preserve our most valuable possessions--the relationships with those we love. It shows that the things that matter definitely aren’t "things," and how to empower your life in the right direction."
--Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
"The 4 Things That Matter Most provides simple, insightful words and stories that move the heart and the soul. Dr. Byock shows us a graceful way to nurture relationships and heal those that need mending."
--Zorba Paster, M.D., author of The Longevity Code, host of public radio's On Your Health, and host of the public television special, How to Live a Long, Sweet Life [airing post-Thanksgiving]
"A tender read I highly recommend -- The Four Things That Matter Most offers simple but solid solutions for healing our complex and fragile relationships -- wisdom that will surely enrich our lives."
--Maggie Callanan, co-author of the bestselling Final Gifts
"For anyone who believes that years of therapy are required for transforming relationships with others, this book will come as a pleasant surprise. Great wisdom has always been simple - that is why it is elusive - and great wisdom is what this book contains.
--Larry Dossey, MD author of HEALING BEYOND THE BODY, REINVENTING MEDICINE, and The New York Times bestselling HEALING WORDS
"The Four Things that Matter Most is a book of common sense wisdom that has the power to dynamically change your life. It is a pleasure to recommend a book that encourages you to transform the quality of your life in simple ways that actually work."
-- Caroline Myss, author of Sacred Contracts and Anatomy of the Spirit
"Ira Byock's compassionate and important work in the field of dying has given him the four great treasures of love and freedom that all of us can use throughout our life. This wonderful book opens the doors to these jewels of compassion"
-- Joan Halifax, Ph.D. author, Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, former research assistant to Joseph Campbell, founder and director of Ojai Foundation and founder, Upaya Foundation
Ira Byock, M.D., is a leading palliative care physician and longtime public advocate for improving care through the end of life. He is past president of the Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and cofounder of Life's End Institute: Missoula Demonstration Project, Inc., a community-based research and quality improvement organization focused on end-of-life experience and care. He heads the national Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care program for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He is director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and a faculty member of Dartmouth School of Medicine. More information is available on www.TheFourThings.org.
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