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Posted on Thu, Nov 12, 2009 : 4 p.m.

30 Days of Gratitude Update: Day 12

By Annie Zirkel

30DAYS.jpg12 days ago we started an unusual project. The idea of the 30 Days of Gratitude Project was to create a place for people to practice gratitude for 30 days based on the science that says gratitude can bring about positive shifts in people's perspective and mood.

The project has had its challenges. Internet Explorer didn't like our website and booted people left and right until we found a fix. Google didn't like the number of daily (requested) e-mail reminders we were sending and froze the account several times. Links didn't always work, some passwords were lost, people couldn't always figure out how to post gratitudes or find their friends, families and groups.

But with all the challenges, the project is turning out to be an amazing success!

We have over 550 people signed up. 39 states and 16 countries have at least one representative. More than half the participants come from Michigan with the greatest contribution from Washtenaw. And while, perhaps, the theme of Civic Pride on Day 3 brought up a few challenges for people to remember that this was a Gratitude site, not a Gripe site, people have been respectful, kind, and creative.

Though not everyone is participating daily, we will have about 2000 gratitudes gathered on the site so far. Some of them are funny, like #75 on Day 9: Inventions: My kids can not comprehend that we once had to get up off of the couch and turn a knob on the tv to change the station. Got to love the remote control!

Some are inspirational and heartwarming like #58 from Day 10 Theme: Teachers To David Cope at Grand Rapids Community College I have wanted to write [David] a letter for the past fifteen years and thank him, maybe now is the time to do it.

Following a debilitating accident, I was so overwhelmed with panic attacks I could hardly leave my house. I was not able to do the work I had been doing anymore (physical labor) and I didn't have a college degree. I wanted to take his class at a community college that was two blocks away but it was so hard just to get there, I literally shook just to walk down the street and my confidence was in the gutter.

He didn't even know me, but without question, he offered me whatever support i needed, whatever would make me most comfortable to be in his class. He told me not to worry about the grade and he wouldn't put me on the spot. If I needed to get up and leave, that was okay. He was compassion incarnate. I was able to start back to school with his support.

Eventually I completed three degrees, all summa cum laude, and went on to have a career of service. I want to thank him for being a bridge between despair and success. Sometimes it just takes one act of kindness at the right moment to make all the difference.

It is clear that many of the people participating in this project are finding it valuable. But I suspect none more than I. And that is why - despite the challenges of Google and Explorer and all the rest - I am so very grateful to be able to witness and actually take part in these 30 Days of Gratitude.

18 more days to go - You are welcome to join in.

Annie Zirkel, LPC is a local relationship consultant and author of the new book, You'll Thank Me Later - A Guide To Nurturing Gratitude In Our Children (And Why That Matters). You can contact her at