by Christine Sine
This year I planned to celebrate Halloween… for the first time ever!!! I did not grow up with this celebration and have tended to shy away from its ghoulish and sometimes demonic associations. We have held alternative celebrations like All Saints night parties (after all that is where All Hallow’s Eve comes from), but this year, I found myself craving fun and laughter and wanted to celebrate in ways that would be fun for the rest of our community and for our neighbourhood.
And it was fun, at least at the beginning of the evening when two of our community members created a pulley system so that we could send candy down to the trick or treaters. Neighbours had equally as creative ways of getting candy down our steep slopes without getting too close to the trick or treaters .
We cleared out the driveway and set up games for Xavier, and our next door neighbours’ kids, put together snack packs and figured out how to distribute candy from a distance to other kids and adults prowling the neighbourhood. I even planned to wear a costume, not very creative – I pulled out my 1970s sheepskin coat from New Zealand, put on my wonderful sheepskin boots and my Akubra hat and made myself into a wooly Australian sheep.
I just got dressed when I found out that our dog God had gotten into some mushrooms and we ended up spending the next few hours at the emergency vet clinic.
Gratitude Pumpkins Stirs a New Practice
What I was really looking forward to was the gratitude pumpkins we planned to set out, a practice suggested by my Canadian friend, Tom Balke, inviting people to contribute their words of thankfulness and gratitude. Fortunately that is only postponed and we will write on them tonight at our community meeting. For me this marked the beginning of a gratitude month. I usually start my gratitude season straight after Canadian Thanksgiving at the beginning of October, but gratitude has been a little slow in coming this year and I needed fun and laughter to ignite it.
Over the weekend, I replaced my gratitude garden and pulled out my gratitude journal and have been thinking about other practices that help me get in the gratitude frame of mind.
To the leaves we painted at our community meeting last week, I have added others with words of thankfulness and hope and used them to decorate the dining room table. That has fulfilled my need for fun and I look forward to continuing it over the next month.
Evening Gratitude Practice
I have instituted an evening gratitude practice which hopefully I will be disciplined enough to maintain throughout the month – and my gratitude journal is big enough to remind me to do this and record my daily gratitudes.
Gratitude Scavenger Hunt
Tom and I still go for daily awe and wonder walks, but we are also going for shorter walks in the afternoon that I plan to make into more of a gratitude scavenger hunt. What am I grateful for about our neighbourhood? To be honest, I am not really sure so this will be a good discipline for me. And as the month progresses, I hope to move this practice inside the house. What am I grateful for:
- in my relationship with Tom?
- in our house?
- in our community?
- in my garden?
What Is Your Response?
I would love it if you would consider joining me over the next month with your own gratitude practices. What would they look like? How could they become a part of our daily routine throughout November? If you aren’t sure how to do this, check out some of the gratitude suggestions in our seasonal resource lists and enjoy this season of gratitude with me.