Day 1: Sharing the treasure of gratitude

*Today begins my “28 days of love” project on this blog, a project to explore the connection between love and gratitude in our lives. Special thanks to Linda Unger for sharing her spiritual insights on how to share gratitude as well as a bit of her wonderful photography with us today.*

Photo by Linda Unger

Photo by Linda Unger

For me, gratitude comes in waves. Very much like the storms we have here on the Gulf Coast. Wild, overwhelming and consuming at first, then retreating slowly as life takes back over. Early in recovery it was easy to find these storms of gratitude, but as the years go by, as my life has evened out, there are fewer high highs and low lows.

So today gratitude is something I have to work at. I have to make a deliberate effort to remember that I am blessed. It’s very easy to fall back into a state of comparing myself to others. It’s very easy to look outside myself and find someone who seemingly has more “stuff” than me. I love what the next to the last paragraph of the Seventh Step in the 12 x 12 of Alcoholics Anonymous says.

“Living upon a basis of unsatisfied demands, we were in a state of continual disturbance and frustration.” That to me is life without gratitude.

I can’t begin to tell you the gifts that a state of gratitude has brought to me. If we could bottle that feeling we would be rich! But I can’t give gratitude to anyone; I can only practice it myself and hope that somehow it rubs off!

There is a spiritual event that happens when we practice gratitude. I know of an instance where I had called a friend complaining about my life and this friend suggested I start a gratitude list. Starting the list was hard. I had to get down to fundamentals. But as the list progressed it became easier and easier to find those things that are gifts in my life. My anger and sadness were strong, though, and it took over 100 items in the list to break the spell of resentment. I think of that time often and realize that each time I do a list, it takes less and less items to break through.

I talked to a friend last night, who was telling me about some clouds she saw. They were pink. But the sadness on her face said she was still troubled. I made a pact with her. Each day we will search for God and take a photo of it. Each day we will treat gratitude as if it’s a treasure to be found, a gift that is hidden or a prize to be won. Each day we will send what we have found to each other. You see, that is how it works… reaching out to another and sharing.

Blessings to you,

Linda Unger

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