Pickle and I invented something to help us. We called it a Gratitude Ceremony.
Where it came from was we had both worked crazy hard on this dream for months, even years. Often we were mad at each other, feeling stuck or afraid because of one another’s different approaches to difficult or scary problems, or just too exhausted to be supportive. We both knew this whole time that the other person was doing so much, but there was no time to stop and appreciate it. We were beings having to make a warm home before the Winter came. Everything was focused there. We were as likely to bring up something the other person needed to be concerned about or hadn’t been able to finish yet as we were to say thank you for what had been done.
For the Gratitude Ceremony, we bought an entire carrot cake. We loaded up a picnic basket with box wine, cheese and crackers, and cake. We went down to the creek in the late afternoon amongst the oldest trees around us and sat on the ‘beach.’ For the ritual, we took turns naming something the other person did to help us get here that we were grateful for. Then we said, “YOU GET CAKE” and fed them a piece of cake. Sometimes we’d alternate cheese because it was a lot of cake. To break it up, one could also force a wine toast to a plant or animal on the land (eventually including imaginary animals).
As it went on, we could feel a lot of the rawness of all those overwhelming and hurried months healing, dissolving into genuine thanks, memory and laughter. We ate almost half the cake, which is good because we don’t have refrigeration.