Growing Gratitude


It is not an uncommon practice to use the month of November for a daily gratitude challenge.  I've done this in years past. And in 2020 I started participating in a gratitude challenge with a Discord group.  It was shared with our group by Brittany of Intuitive Marketing.  The form came from Positively Present, @positivelypresent on Instagram.  This daily gratitude with the group has been inspiring, peaceful, simply lovely.  

So, I was surprised by the resistance I felt in myself when I wanted to share daily gratitude for the week leading up to Thanksgiving (US holiday). I mean it was like bawling, hide my head in a pillow, toddler energy....Crying into a pillow is something I often did as a kid, and I vividly remember the smell, the soak of tears in that rust-colored velvet cushion....

Yet remembering that, it still took some purposeful reflection to identify my feeling. I did a body and mind check. Just stretching, then sitting still, and scanning what pains, energies, feelings, thoughts I was having. I was sad. I am sad. Why is that so hard to recognize?

Before going on, let's pause and also note the problematic narrative of Thanksgiving's origins that I (and many others) learned in elementary school.  There's definitely room for sadness at Thanksgiving time about the false framing of a docile relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Settlers. We hold space for grief about the horrific genocide of past, and abuses that continue.  Anti-Racism belongs at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Nevertheless, it is my intention to practice gratitude. This practice of gratitude does not equate denying the true and uncomfortable feelings. An image of a stove top with lots of simmering pots come to mind, and it is like I'm stirring, turning the heat down, moving to the back burner emotions as needed.  My sadness is bubbling, a companion as I also try to cook up a bit of gratitude.

In months past I've recapped The Care Neighborhood rituals, sharing the photos from our Instagram page. This time, as a different strategy, based on #7DaysOfGratitude practice...

here are 7 tips for growing gratitude...

1) Ask someone else what they are grateful for and celebrate with them.

2) Take about 30 seconds to connect to yourself, nature, and/or a homey space.  Be present.

3) Tell people you love that you love them.  You can tell friends, lovers, acquaintances, folks you admire.

4) Notice what is immediately around you that you are thankful for, even if the thanks or the thing is small.

5) Acknowledge the sad, mad, bad stuff too.

6) Ask yourself who is in your circle, who is your loyal, trusted companion? Express your gratitude for that person, pet, or aspect of yourself. 

7) Give as you are able. Do something good. Contribute kindness.


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