I’m keeping a gratitude journal this month. It’s an ongoing list in my little notebook of what I receive every day. Even though it’s only day four, I’ve racked up quite a few things, some monetary and some not – the discount I got on vegetables from my favorite stand at the market, the email inviting me to present a long-time performance project in a group show at a gallery in New York, the text sent to me this morning with the encouraging words I needed to hear right at that moment.
I was inspired to start the list by a strong desire to shift my thinking around abundance. Being in a slow season before work picks up and having to move in the coming weeks has me feeling a lot of financial stress, and I noticed how much tightness I’ve been holding onto about money – never feeling like I have enough, constantly calculating expenses in my head, so focused on lack. Not only has this mental strain been exhausting, it’s also made it hard to get perspective about my resources and what I actually have. Keeping a list of what I’m grateful for has expanded my awareness and made me realize that I’m receiving goodness all the time in so many ways.
It’s also made me aware of how much I receive from other people. In the beginning of January, as I reflected on the year and what I want to focus on for 2017, it became clear to me that building connection with the people in my life is a priority. Connection and community have always been important to me, but they feel even more urgent now as we navigate global changes and challenges which threaten our lives in very tangible ways. Especially now, I look to gratitude to ground me, to remind me of the amazing folks in my life and in my community, to inspire me to show up and really appreciate the gifts we all have and share. In spite of the chaos and fear that are so heavy right now, I’m doing my best to intentionally receive the goodness that folks offer me and to give back what I can.
Last weekend I spent the day in Dangriga with the PETAL team at a conversation about lesbian and bisexual women’s experiences with stigma and discrimination. We sat and shared and supported each other in telling our stories, the stories which have so often been silenced and dismissed. It felt incredibly important to be present that day, to listen and hold space. And that night, having dinner with the PETAL ladies and bringing our red wine to the park to hear punta rock and dance, also felt necessary, to connect in our healing and in our joy.
As I shift my focus from lack to abundance, and acknowledge the wonderful folks in my life who offer their help and support and selves, I see how these relationships have grown, some for decades and others barely years. And as I move through my second year of living in Belize, I see the life of those seeds I’ve been planting in my time here, those relationships and connections I’ve tended. And I’m grateful for them.