I’m Linda Luisi, a Fellowship member with my husband, Ted Foster, for about 17 years.
I’m grateful for this fellowship for connecting me with so many people committed to being kind in so many ways, committed to make each of our lives better, and to make the world a better place.
My life has changed in many ways—from the Buddhist influences and discussion groups here that help me access inner peace, the compassionate communication workshops, fun social events, and many varied opportunities for giving back—which is important because along with gratitude can come feelings of guilt.
There’s no benefit from feeling guilty for having so many of our needs met. There’s no benefit from feeling guilty for being so privileged. Instead, we can be grateful here at UUFSD for all the opportunities to give back. This place offers so many ways to do this—right at our fingertips. There are many groups and committees that are already set up, led by individuals who “know the ropes,” so-to-speak, so the mystery is gone. We can get involved and easily slip into any of the various on-going projects here to help the local community or people in other parts of the world. We can join in with a full commitment or with temporary participation. We can even start our own project. Oh—I tried that too. It was not successful in ways that I’d planned, but it was an expanding and worthy experience. I developed more patience and understanding than I ever thought I had in me.
We can also help out here on this very site. Whatever we do to help this place to function smoothly will help all other fellowship projects go more smoothly. And, of course, by working here together we make lasting friends. There are quite a number of people in my life now that I am so grateful for.
Sometimes when I walk around here, I imagine I’m visiting this place after a long time away. An immense feeling of nostalgia hits me, as if reconnecting with something deeply nourishing. Try it sometime. It’s a fun feeling. Plus, it helps us feel how important UUFSD is to us. To be a part of this place is a gift.
Sometimes we take all that is here for granted because we are more fascinated by the novel things we encounter, more engrossed in our other personal interactions, our other plans and projects. But everything that we decide to connect with here comes with a bundle of benefits.
Now gratitude, in general, also comes with a feeling of joy. Spending more time feeling that joy—bathing ourselves in it—is another way to ward off feelings of sadness. Dr. Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist, studies the science of a meaningful life. Rick says, “Take in the good.” Feeling gratitude is a good thing. But it’s fleeting. We need to stay with those thoughts, savor that feeling for 20 seconds or longer. Deepen that feeling in order to make the most of it and get the best benefits. NOT HARD TO DO! He goes further to say, “Consciously intend that this positive experience is soaking into our brain and body,…soaking into our emotional memory.” I think of it as being similar to developing muscle memory.
This is how we can use our gratitude to enhance our lives. As you can guess, for all others who we come in contact with—it will make their lives better too.
Gratitude is connected with our health, our relationships, and the world. It connects us with a deeper experience of the wonder of life. Let’s make gratitude work for us to make life more meaningful and delightful.
Please remember to “Take in the good.” Remember to soak in that grateful feeling.