A gratitude ritual that's better than a list


I have always felt, with a small shadow of guilt, that gratitude is such a loaded word. It’s weighty, and carries an energy of "should."

Like, I know I should have a regular gratitude practice of some kind. I know it’s important and holy fuck yes, there are, truly, so many things I should be grateful for in my life… but, there’s something about the idea of writing a gratitude list that sort of feels to me like, kneeling down and saying your prayers before bedtime. And that’s really not…the point.  

The thing is though, I know that genuine gratitude is the biggest opener we can have. It’s grounding. It’s orienting. Simplifying. It’s a catalyst for manifesting from the right place. Gratitude is the foundation to fulfilling creative practice, the way I see it. 

But the way each of us can get in touch with our deepest gratitude is going to be totally different. Just like all our journeys are unique, our guiding compasses are, too. 

Try this:

  • Close your eyes, take a deep breath. Say ‘gratitude’ out loud. 
  • Focus on your body. Is there tension anywhere when you focus on that word? Breathe deep and let it go. 
  • Review your experiences of the past 24 - 48 hours. Ask yourself, what do you feel grateful for?
  • Just wait for an inkling of gladness. It might take time. Don’t think too much. 

How this works for me, is like, I'll start to be grateful for small things I've done. Like: I’m glad I cleaned my apartment this morning. I’m glad I have new incense. I’m glad I have a job that supports me and that I can have work-free weekends. I’m glad I didn’t have to hang out with my dumb ex all weekend. Holy fuck I'm glad I have all this time to create from a truly safe and supported place right now. 

These things I start to feel grateful for represent larger work I am doing in my journey. They hint at what I should continue moving toward. 

So, when you get centered and then hit on a feeling of gratitude, what happens? Does your mind slow? Your heart lift? Is there a suggestion of joy? Possibility? A feeling of like, YES. I want to protect this. This is right. More of this...

That's the compass pointing to HELL YEAH.  

Just like how Erykah Badu said, "Write down what you want, spelling is a spell," (:40),  I believe that declaring what you are grateful for will send the cue to the UNIVERSE that yes, more of THIS.

So declare it. Put it in writing. Whether that's a full page of stream-of-consciousness writing, a sentence on the back of your agenda cover, a text to your lover, an essay. Put into words - that is, CLARIFY! - the thing(s) you want to call in more of. 

Then put it down, and then forget about it. Know that you've set your compass to TRUE NORTH, and move onward in good faith.