PRACTICE: GRATITUDE ALTAR
photo by jess drawhorn
practice by kate weiner
A gratitude altar is a physical reminder to pause and give thanks for the ancestors that brought us into being, for the beauty that lives in our everyday, and for our earth who continues to feed us and heal us.
Growing up, I was enchanted by the small altar my mother had made in our sun room. I especially cherished the turquoise ring of my grandmother’s that she had nestled next to a palmful of stones. That altar helped connect me to my grandmother’s love, and although hers is a love I can access whenever and wherever, having a space in honor of her energy was—and still is—deeply healing.
My gratitude altar (above) represents the powerful impact of family, friends, and nature on my life. The white stone is from a recent journey to Scotland and sparks a profound appreciation for my thriving creative community. The vintage gold turtle is from my mother and embodies my family. The gourd, sourced from the farmers’ market, is a reminder to give thanks for the radical farmers in this world who are working on the frontlines to regenerate our soil and feed our bellies. The bud vase overflowing with dried blooms foraged from my travels inspires thanks for the many plants that have held and healed me throughout my life. The glass jar of fresh blooms from my friend fills me with love for the good folks that I have in my life. And the little bowl—crafted by my dear friend Amelia of Two Hands Full and filled with gifted gems, dried flowers from summer adventures, and scrap threads—fuels my passion for interweaving ceremony, community, and creativity into each day.
What people, places, passions, and pursuits can you honor through creating your own gratitude altar? The following simple steps will guide you toward carving out the space in your life for giving thanks. As the seasons change and your nurture new experiences, know that your altar will change too! This is a beautiful thing. Think of your altar as a process of creating pause and rooting in presence.
Search for materials that reflect people, places, passions, and pursuits that you are deeply grateful for in your life. As you handle each unique material—be it foraged flora or handwritten note from a beloved—murmur a message of thanks.
CREATE THE SPACE
Make room in whatever space is a sanctuary for you to create your altar. From carving out a corner on your bookshelf to making a platform from a slab of salvaged wood and two bricks, there are many ways to build a home for your gratitude altar.
Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, return to your altar to ground in gratitude. Take a deep breath and say a prayer of thanks for everything and everyone who brought you to this precious moment. Continue to tend to your altar as the seasons change!