Gratefulness reminds us that we are held in the world’s wide and gracious embrace, and we should consider and appreciate the gifts of this vast web of relatedness.

Kristi Nelson, Wake Up Grateful

We exist in a constellation of human relationships that is at once complex, life giving, and beautiful. Even in times of loneliness or despair, we remain bound to one another — held, even — by the smallest of daily acts, the realities of interdependence, and the mysteries of the heart. While this constellation of human connection always illuminates our lives, we experience it most powerfully when we turn toward it with attention and care.

Life continuously requires us to find new ways to connect with one another in order to sustain our hearts, bodies, and minds. Living gratefully, we’re invited to tend and deepen the connections in our lives by asking and exploring:

  • How can we fully attune ourselves to the life-giving relationships on which we depend?
  • How do we nurture and heal these connections through curiosity, tenderness, and play?
  • In what ways can we authentically and creatively express our care for the relationships that tether us to one another and to life itself? 

We invite you to embark on this weeklong journey that offers grateful living practices as a way to actively appreciate our relationships. This practice also includes a recording of an online session with Kristi Nelson, author of Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted, which will set the stage for our explorations.

The Practice

We recommend you bookmark this page and move through the practice days at your own pace. You might move through the practice alone or consider exploring it with others, as part of a group experience.

large group of people silhouetted looking at the night sky

Day 1: Tune in to the Constellation of Your Belonging
On this first day of the practice, we begin by attuning ourselves to this constellation of relationships, whether it’s shining brightly in our lives or feeling hidden from view. Today’s practice brings our attention to our interconnectedness and interdependence.

two people hugging each other

Day 2: Express Your Care and Appreciation
When we attune ourselves to the constellation of relationships that hold us, there may be an inward shift of our hearts where both longing and belonging emerge. In that mix of emotion, what relationships are calling for an outward expression of your cherishing? To whom do you feel moved to offer your care?

Day 3: Be Curious about the People in Your Life
It’s easy to forget to be curious, to become too comfortable with what we know – or think we know – about the people in our lives. Today’s invitation is to practice being actively curious about the people in your life – beginning with those at the center of your constellation – and to listen with attention and care to what is shared.

Day 4: Appreciate Difference
Grateful living invites us to stretch our appreciation to include others’ unique ways of being in the world, even when they may be wildly different from our own. Today’s invitation is to identify and thank one person in your life for the way that they live in the world, with special attention given to appreciating and honoring their particular ways of being.

Day 5: Take Time to Play!
Play calls for our wholehearted presence and an openness to surprise. Whatever form it takes, play offers a way for us to tend our relationships with wholehearted presence, dedicated time, and a joyful kind of care, often creating an opening for something new to emerge.

Day 6: Open the Door for Healing
Even with the people we love most in the world, there are disagreements and hurts. While healing certain hurts can be a long journey, starting with gratefulness can open the door to repair.

Day 7: Gather With Intention
With acknowledgement that each person’s situation is unique, here on this last day of the practice we invite you to consider how you would like to tend your relationships by gathering with intention – whether with one person or many, in person or online.

Feel moved to support future practices?
We warmly welcome contributions!

Feature photo by Gustavo Lanes