Photo credit; Khalid Arar Schawabkeh
How to Host a Gratitude Gathering!
by Lasára Allen, MPNLP
1. Choose a date!
What date makes you want to practice gratitude? You can choose Sunday, and have it be your church. You can choose the new moon, and have it be the beginning of a new cycle. You can choose your birthday, and have it be the way you begin your personal “new year”. Or, you can choose a random day, and proclaim it Gratitude Day!
You can hold monthly Gratitude Gatherings, or even weekly. You can plan them around holidays. You can start with one, and see how often you want to repeat the experience.
2. What’s Your Theme?
What do you want your gratitude fest to include?
If you want to include a meal, you have a few options. You can offer a meal you prepare. You can make a meal together as part of the party. Or, you can hold a potluck.
Offering a meal is a lovely gesture, a great gift to offer your loved ones. This is going to be a more contained experience most likely than some of the other options. You will need to know how many people are coming so you can prepare adequately. With a dinner party setting, the gratitude games can easily be the main focus of the event. Or, you can draw some of the elements mentioned below in as well.
A meal made together is an extraordinary experience of alchemy, transformation. You create together out of raw materials, and you can play the Gratitude Games while you make the meal, investing each element with the intentions of your gratefulness. This is a wonderful, magical way to celebrate your collective wealth, creativity, and abundance.
A potluck is the easiest if you want to have an open invitation, free-flowing event. The food will be less of a focus, but part of the overall experience of gratitude and collective abundance.
You can add in a Potlach ceremony – it’s also called a Give-Away. Potlatch comes from the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest coastline. In a potlatch, you give away your belongings as a celebration of your abundance. In North Western native culture, the potlatch consisted of every household in the community putting belongings outside for the taking. The one who gave the most (as opposed to the family who had the most) gained the highest status.
In native culture, this ceremony was undertaken for many reasons. All had to do with the redistribution of wealth. Not everyone had material possessions to offer, and some offered dances or songs instead.
Invite guests to bring belongings, and everyone can give them away, and receive items from the other piles.
In addition to being an achingly beautiful traditional ceremony, this is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint. A give-away allows us to reduce waste, clean out storage and closets, and saves each participant the money, time, and by-product of a shopping trip, by way of new-to-them belongings.
The left-over items from your give-away may be given to the charity of your choice. For instance, I recently hosted a give-away, and offered all the left-over items from the party to a rummage sale that benefited extra- curricular activities at the local elementary school. Another time we brought the extra to the local homeless shelter and women’s crisis center in our town. Talk about sharing the wealth!
You can host a grocery drive as part of your gratitude gathering, and give the food to your local shelter, soup kitchen, or hospice center. You can have a raffle, and give the money you raise to the cause of your choice.
You can use the fest as an opportunity to educate your community about a community in need, and celebrate your wealth by sharing it!. You can offer information about Grameen, Kiva, and other micro-financing companies. Or choose a few loans beforehand that you want to join in to support, and help someone in a less economically privileged country create a sustainable income.
Of course, you can play Gratitude Games throughout.
Gratitude can be implemented in many ways. Bring your gratitude into the world, and make something grand of it.
3. What friends are you grateful for?
Who of your friends would most enjoy practicing gratitude with you? Make a list of the friends you want to share your grateful life with, and invite them to your celebration.
For your consideration: I encourage you to invite your guests via electronic means instead of paper invites, as some things I’m grateful for are a healthy planet, and healthy forests. Less waste, more breath!
Lasára Allen is an author, an educator, and an advocate. Her articles cover a range of topics including gratitude, parenting, relationships, fitness, yoga, health & holistic well-being, compassion, and spiritual practice. As an advocate, Lasára writes and speaks about living, parenting and working with bipolar disorder. In 2008 she designed GratitudeGames..
Over the years, Lasára has helped clients and students find balance in their lives, and alignment with personal and family-held values. She has taught, spoken, and coached internationally.
Lasára is mom to two amazing daughters, and wife to Robert Allen, an outstanding man.
Find more of Lasára’s writing at http://www.LasaraAllen.com, and more about Lasára’s gratitude projects at http://www.TheGratitudePlace.com.