November 2022 WATERritual:
Grateful in Hard Times

By Diann L. Neu with the WATER Community

Watch the November 2022 WATERritual.

Preparation: Have a rock and a pen nearby.

Welcome and Call to Gather

Welcome to our Thanksgiving WATERritual, “Grateful in Hard Times.” During this season of Thanksgiving, we begin with a land acknowledgment.

WATER, located in Silver Spring, Maryland, sits on the traditional and contemporary homeland of the Piscataway and Anacostan people, the original stewards of this land. Who are the original stewards of the land where you are? Every day, and especially this Thanksgiving season, we give thanks for the Native people whose lands we are privileged to share.

This is a season to be grateful, to say thank you, even as illness, war, economics, elections, climate disasters, political unrest, and so many more hard times surround us.

Let us take time to appreciate what we have, to focus on what is good in our lives, and to pause to notice what we often take for granted. Let us pray with grateful hearts.

Centering Prayer

Let us center ourselves by breathing together to release the negative energy that manifests around us and in our bodies and minds.

Breathe in gratitude ……. Breathe out anxiety

Breathe in gratitude ……. Breathe out tension

Breathe in gratitude ……. Breathe out anger

Breathe in gratitude ……. Breathe out any burdens you have

Song: How Can I Keep from Singing

Gratitude Rock
“No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I am clinging.” Hold your rock, or imagine you have one in your hand. What rock do you cling to? Type your answer in the chat. Write the word “grateful” on your rock.

Quotes about Being Grateful
In honor of the Thanksgiving season, let’s listen to words on thankfulness and gratitude written by feminists and womanists. May these words encourage you this season and after.


“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
~Oprah Winfrey, actress, producer, philanthropist and talk show host


“’Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”
~ Alice Walker, Womanist poet, author and activist


“Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.”
~ Gertrude Stein, American author of plays, poetry, and novels


“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
Maya Angelou, poet and author


“It has been said that life has treated me harshly; and sometimes I have complained in my heart because many pleasures of human experience have been withheld from me … if much has been denied me, much, very much, has been given me….”
~ Helen Keller, author, speaker, advocate of people with   disabilities


“My gratitude for good writing is unbounded; I’m grateful for it the way I’m grateful for the ocean.”
~ Anne Lamott, author of novels and nonfiction books


“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.”
~ Toni Morrison, Womanist author


“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.”
~ Mary Oliver, poet


“Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life.”
– Rumi, poet and mystic


“I grind with gratitude for the richness of our harvest, not with cross feelings of working too hard. As I kneel at my grinding stone, I bow my head in prayer, thanking the great forces for provision. I have received much. I am willing to give much in return, for as I have taught you, there must always be a giving back for what one receives.”

– Polingaysi Qoyawayma, in No Turning Back: A Hopi Indian           Woman’s Struggle to Live in Two Worlds.

Reflection / Group Sharing
What did you hear in these quotes? Which one captures your attention now?

Let us share our thoughts with one another in groups of three for 10 minutes. When you get into your group, share your name, where you are from, and what comes to your mind and heart when you hear the words Grateful in Hard Times.

Prayers of Intercession

Ritual of Gratitude

Hold your gratitude rock in your hands, or imagine you are holding gratitude in your hands, as we give thanks.

The effects of gratitude can be important for our overall well-being for several reasons:

  • Gratitude improves our mental well-being. When we give thanks, we relax. New research shows that people who show gratitude regularly show significantly better mental health than those who don’t. In fact, brain scans suggest that gratitude might even have the power to rewire our brains for the better.And so we pray with gratitude:
    Blessed are you, Divine Gratitude, for calling me to be grateful and boost my mental well-being.
  • Gratitude improves physical well-being. It slows us down, and reminds us to live in the present moment. It helps with better sleep and immunity, and may even be linked to reducing pain and improving cardiovascular health as well.And so we pray with gratitude:
    Blessed are you, Divine Gratitude, for calling me to be grateful, to slow down, strengthen my immune system, and enhance my physical well-being.
  • Expressing gratitude connects us with people. It builds stronger social bonds and improves relationships.And so we pray with gratitude:
    Blessed are you, Divine Gratitude, for calling me to be grateful, to connect with others, to improve my relationships.
  • Gratitude builds resilience. It has the effect of helping us to refocus on positive emotions and build resilience, which in turn, enables us to bounce back from the hardships we face.And so we pray:
    Blessed are you, Divine Gratitude, for calling me to be grateful, to build up resilience so I can bounce back from hard times.

Take Action to Practice Gratitude

  • Let’s practice gratitude. Here are some ways:
    Keep a gratitude journal and set aside time each day to think or write about three things that you are grateful for: perhaps gratitude to the Divine Holy One, a family member, and yourself.
  • Write a gratitude letter to yourself or someone else once a week.
  • Set a goal for yourself to tell someone every day that you appreciate them.
  • Light a gratitude candle at dinner time, and each family member says something they are grateful for that day.
  • Create and give a “Gratitude Basket” to a family – at a food pantry, in your neighborhood, or as part of an outreach endeavor.

Sending Forth

Let us go forth grateful

for every breath we take and for the life we have been given.

Let us go forth grateful

for our families, friends, loved ones, and wise ancestors

who guide us.

Let us go forth grateful

for Earth and the cosmos, trees and birds, flowers and changing leaves, animals, nature, and the land on which we live.

Let us go forth grateful

for everything around us and everywhere we go.

Song: I Am so Grateful by Karen Drucker

© 2022 Diann L. Neu, WATER, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual,