Welcome to Day 1 of Cherishing Connection, a seven-day practice of tending and deepening the relationships that constitute our lives. This practice emerges from Kristi Nelson’s book, Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted. Whether you are feeling connected or alone, joyful or struggling, we’re so glad you’re here and hope that this week offers you both nourishment and practical tools. Thank you for joining us on this journey.
“We must consistently open our awareness to the countless ways in which we already belong to each other, the ways that we are already reliant, supported, and interdependent.” ~Kristi Nelson, Wake Up Grateful
When we first learn that the stars shine during the day but we simply can’t see them, it’s a revelation, a kind of threshold understanding that shifts the way we look at the sky. This invisible constellation of daytime stars is a beautiful metaphor for the web of connections that sustains us even when we don’t take notice – even when we’re unable to see. 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.
Photo by jokerpro/iStock
Sketch the constellation of your belonging. Please peruse the following steps before you begin; it will help clarify the activity. If sketching the suggested spiral doesn’t resonate, simply note your responses in list form. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
Once you have sketched your constellation, use this “map” for guided reflection or meditation. Following the spiral in or out, hold these relationships with your most humble and generous regard. As you tune in to this constellation, consider how you are held in the world’s wide and gracious embrace. What does it feel like to notice and name these connections? What brings you comfort, and what evokes longing? Where is the constellation shimmering, where has it dimmed? What arises in your heart? Add other names/roles if they come to mind. Close your reflection by giving thanks for being part of this constellation, for all its complexities, sustenance, and beauty.
As you continue this week’s practice, please keep your image or list accessible for reflection and reference.
Cherishing Our Connections, a short essay by Kristi Nelson, author of Wake Up Grateful
Please share your reflections below if you feel moved. We’d love to hear what emerges for you from today’s practice…
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I appreciate what you’re sharing here. It doesn’t necessarily come easily….I had been thinking about this spiral for many days before actually trying it out. What if you started from the inside of the spiral instead, naming those closest to you, including roles rather than specific individuals. i.e. grocery store clerk, mail deliverer, etc.? I also found that my list expanded greatly when I thought of groups of people who came before me who made my current life possible…not just family ancestors but activists for certain causes, spiritual leaders, writers I love, caretakers of the land where I now live. I’ll be eager to hear how things unfold…
This was a beautiful practice in letting go and allowing things to flow. My thoughts were questioning whether I was doing this ‘right’. When I just let the words flow – even if it didn’t look ‘right’ – I could feel that I had moved into a meditative space and what was going on inside was more important than what was outside – and that was beautiful too anyway. I returned to it again today. Thank you.
Poignant and uncomfortable process revealing lost, forgotten or under appreciated relationships, and unable to access or imagine many others. Will leave it for now and visit it again another time.
See my reply below…
I’m deeply appreciating the reflections shared here; thank you. Some of the words from your posts that are especially resonating with me this morning: infinite, belonging, word artist, shared constellation, memories, cry. I’m revisiting my own sketched constellation/spiral and looking at it anew through the lens of each of your reflections. Thank you.
Sheryl, I so appreciate your and Kristi’s warm and vivid presences here. You are you among the best exemplars of authentic, heart centred leadership I have experienced. Thank you.
Thank you so much Elaine. The practice is meant to help you touch the places where your appreciation of connection lives and may want to be acknowledged and/or nurtured. Be gentle with yourself, please, and go at your own pace.
Thanks Kristi. Your comment reminds me to soften and let go of linearity as I wait, ponder, open.
What’s becoming beautifully clear is that my own spiral, and this beautiful constellation of connection, is infinite. An infinite space of love, of belonging, of connection.
This is a comforting and heart warming practice. I look forward to watching it grow with each session as our connectedness is infinite
As Kristi said on Zoom “practice takes practice.” I just took a few minutes to draw a spiral and start writing. I am more a word artist than a visual artist, so the visual practice brought a different sense of connection. Wonderful activity. Thank you!
A beautiful exercise that reminded me of all the connections I take for granted. Will use my imperfect spiral to pay more attention and be more aware of our interconnectedness. Thank you.
What a beautiful way to practice and remember the many facets that support us and build our unique and shared constellation of relationships!
Wonderful live call with a thoughtful meditation. Grateful to all who are making this week possible. Barb
Practicing this exercise helps me bring many beautiful memories to many people who have helped me in the past, and I am grateful.
Practicing it – this activity, made me cry.
I felt a deep sense of gratitude.
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