An End Of Year Practice of Gratitude

At the end of 2020, gratitude enters as a practice of remembrance.

On this last morning of 2020 - I want to hold space for the ways that I’m grateful. 

I honestly cannot name how this year may have been for you. But I can put my finger on this collective feeling of all of us moving through a portal. Of all of us witnessing the crossing of a threshold, of the old collapsing to make way for the new, of moving through a great big colossal gorgeous ever-changing unknown. 

The feeling of moving through a portal, of witnessing collapse, isn’t something I want to romanticize. It comes with deep loss and the processing of an interweaving, and often contradictory, emotions. It comes with experiencing a kaleidoscope of grief, rage, joy, expansion, or introspection.

As someone with chronic depression, remembrance has been one of my go-to practices of re-tethering myself to, as Robert Hayden might describe, “the beautiful, needful thing.” You might call the beautiful needful thing: Spirit, Universe, God, your values, Love, Liberation, Freedom, or a particular shade of green that you made up because it makes your heart sing. Pretty much, it’s whatever you give name to that centers and grounds you in presence, and your own possibility of your own, and our collective, transformation. 

At the end of this year of loss, shifts, and unveilings, I want to disconnect from achievements. To me, if you drank a glass of water, had a nap, and answered a single email this year, you deserve the highest levels of awards and parades. I’m more interested in naming the ways that we have been held. In the face of ungrounding - gratitude enters as a practice of remembrance. 

When we name what we are grateful for, we are naming the various factors that have come together in order for us to deepen, learn, breath, expand, practice, or ground. 

Gratitude is a practice of both listening to, and acknowledging the ways in which the Universe, your people, your own damn self, are all rooting for you. 

Gratitude is a practice of generating energy around our ability to both give and receive care. It’s a practice of bringing ourselves to the vulnerability of naming the ways that we’ve been held, so that we can surrender to all the good coming our way. 

Gratitude is a ritual of holding space for the rare and precious moments you are worthy of occupying. Of generating an incredible energy around your ability to both give and receive love. 

With that, I want to invite you to engage in the Gratitude Practice below. You can adapt it to whatever medium best supports you. 

Gratitude Practice One 

This is a Gratitude Wheel. At the center of the wheel is you. Expanding from you are different categories that may have generated gratitude for you this year. 

Read each gratitude category. In whatever medium most supports you: writing, drawing, dancing, clay structures, meditation, hold space for the ways in which you’ve held gratitude for that category. 

Push yourself to be specific. For example, in the category of Relationships, move away from general responses like: “I am grateful for my friends.” Instead, soak into the specifics of what you’re grateful for: “I’m grateful for the walks I took in the summer with Ocean and Adrian,” or “I’m grateful for the girls holding it down in the group chat,” or  “I’m grateful for my friends giving me space to process this year.” 

The different categories of gratitude are listed below. Please feel free to adapt or change these categories as you see fit, or scratch them all and create your own: 

  • Spirit: Giving thanks to the ways that Spirit/Universe has held you this year, or ways your personal commitment to yourself has deepened and/or expanded.  

  • Teachers: Generating gratitude for the teachers that have deepened your learning.

  • Small Joys: Holding thanks for any small joys you received this year. 

  • Collective Dreams: Generating gratitude around the ways you supported, or were supported by, collective visions, structures, or dreams 

  • Practices: Holding gratitude around the practices you have created or deepened.  

  • Love Received: Giving thanks to the love you’ve received, in any form or practice. 

  • Love Given: Generating gratitude around moments you have shared love with others. 

  • Body: Holding thanks for any moment or practice in relation to your body.

  • Relationships: Giving thanks for any moment, practice, or person that deepened your relationship(s).

  • Earth: Giving thanks to the ways the Earth has held you. 

Gratitude Practice Two 

Take a sheet of paper and draw a large circle. Fill in the circle with whatever you are currently holding gratitude for. Use varying shapes and colors to hold your gratitude. You can save this circle to look over and reflect on whenever you want to remember the ways in which you’re held, or have experienced care or love. 

Take good care this week y’all 🕊. Drink a glass of water after reading this email.

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This special end of year newsletter is free - so feel free to forward it to someone you love.

If you have the financial means to - consider becoming a paid subscriber to support this expansion of this work. 15% of all monthly support from paid subscribers is being donated to an organization I love and that y’all should love up on too. This month’s investment is going to The Black School, an experimental art school teaching radical Black history.