Season of Gratitude: The Magic of Reflection

Historically, autumn has been considered the season of harvest. Summer’s stretch transforms water, sunlight, and nutrients to create the bounty of harvest. In autumn’s folding, we celebrate the abundance that will feed us during winter’s resting times. Autumn has been honored in many traditions as a time of thanksgiving for this abundance. A quick perusal of the Internet provided me insights about these kinds of celebrations around the world, at different times, in both the northern and the southern hemispheres.

"Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." —Gertrude Stein

Miss Handie’s HSD Podcast, Patterns and Possibilities, offers a set of affirmations each month for our listeners. The latest podcast of affirmations was posted yesterday, November 16. You can listen on Amazon, Anchor, Apple, Google, or Spotify, to hear Miss Handie’s series of affirmations about gratitude, joy, and celebration.

I listened to the preview of that podcast this morning. I was reminded of an HSD-based tool we use to help us make sense of patterns. It occurred to me that it can help us explore patterns that gift our lives. That exploration can help us identify specific actions we can take to express our gratitude for those gifts. The HSD-based tool is called the CDE Portrait or, the Magic 21. It’s basically a table with 21 cells across 3 columns.

Across the columns, you name the three conditions that shape the patterns in any system. Then set the table up with three empty cells under the Containers and nine empty cells under each of the other columns. This gives you a total of 21 empty cells to fill with your reflections—hence the name, “Magic 21”.

After listening to Miss Handie’s affirmations this morning, I went back to this tool to consider some of the gifts in my life that I want to celebrate. Here’s how I used this tool to do that.

First I considered the Containers by thinking about areas in my life where I have been gifted with joy, peace, love, and fulfillment. The top three that came to me were: family, friends, and work I love.

Then I considered the top three characteristics inside each of those containers that made the difference to me. For example, in my family, it’s the different ways we look at the world (points of view); the skills, interests, and experiences that have shaped each of us; and the ways we show each other how much we care. Then I did that reflection for each of the other containers.

Finally I thought about how I can begin or maintain a flow of gratitude and caring across those differences inside those containers. As you will see as you review the Exchanges column of my reflection, I used the HSD Simple Rules to help me consider wise actions for the difference exchanges. Those Simple Rules are:

  • Stand in inquiry
  • Leverage the energy of difference
  • Search for what is true and useful
  • Zoom in and zoom out
  • Share through stories and impact
  • Celebrate Life

So now, I have intentionally identified a number of ways I can affirm—for myself and for others—the gratitude that holds me when I can remember to stand in this space. And as I worked on this, I was also reminded of the colleagues and acquaintances for whom I have not allowed myself to listen deeply. I was humbled by my lack of inquiry with those who are more radically different from me—and the gratitude I feel for what they have offered me. Their challenges have forced me to clarify my own positions, to question the gaps, and to look more carefully at my own stance. Then even in those differences and challenges, I realize that I am grateful for their voices that have brought me to both a deeper understanding and a broader discourse.

I encourage you to try a gratitude-based Magic 21 for yourself. I found it gave me two gifts. First is that the exchanges I identified names actions I can take in the exchanges to express my gratitude. Second, those statements can be shifted to be used as affirmations to reinforce myself to express that gratitude in many ways.

Please be in touch and let me know what you find if you try it. I’d love to know! Royce

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