Our theme this month is – no surprise – gratitude. As I am writing this, I find it easy to think of things I am thankful for -- the loving people in my life, the wonderful gifts my ancestors have given me, the amazing blue skies and warm weather we've had the last several weeks, the opportunity to be creative, and so on. Growing older, I become more and more grateful simply for the gift of a living a human life.
A daily gratitude practice is certainly a wonderful idea. But sometimes we get caught up in our daily lives, the time slips away, and once again we have forgotten to say thank you. So at our drum circle this month, we will practice gratitude. We might share that symbolically by placing an object on the community altar; we might share that through our spoken or written words; or we may share it in the beat of the drums. We will journey together to express our gratitude to Mother Earth for her gifts, and we will journey on our own to express gratitude to our past selves or our future selves to thank them for the gifts they have given or will give us.
Because we will not meet in December, a traditional time of gift giving, those who attend this month may participate in a wonderful Native American custom of gift exchange. This does not have to be costly or complicated. Here's how it works:
Bring a gift. Receive a gift. The gift you bring may be as simple as a beautiful stone; it may be something you already own that is ready to leave you; or it can be something you make or purchase. It could be a painting, drawing, poem, or a gift of service. It could even be an offer of dedicated prayer for the recipient’s need. It should above all be meaningful. Keep it small. The cost or value is immaterial. Do not wrap the gift.
All gifts will be placed on a communal table as they arise. A small card will be provided for you to write your name and a description of the gift. Everyone will have an opportunity to look at and appreciate the gifts throughout the evening. Before we close the circle, all will be invited, beginning with elders first, to choose a gift from the table. Once everyone has chosen a gift, all will be invited to let the giver know that they received it, and thank them. If you should be unable to or forget to bring a gift, cards are available on which to offer a gift of service or prayer, if you wish.
We close this message by saying how grateful we are for all of you, our drum circle community. You bring your wisdom, your talents, your intentions, your energy, your prayers, and your love to the circle. Thank you so much for being a part of our first six months, even if all you did was think of us; even if you weren't able to be with us physically. That is worth more than we can ever tell you.
Please join us in the Circle on November 20, from 6 to 9 PM at the Marian Center for Nonprofits, to drum and journey with us in gratitude.
Sally and Holly