the ritual of shared appreciations

At the end of each cycle of the women’s creative wisdom circle that I tend, we set aside an evening for shared appreciations.


It’s a beautiful ritual. We each light a candle, and then individually we speak our appreciations for every single one of our sisters in the circle. Both laughter and tears flow. Although we might squirm a little at first when we’re in the spotlight and receiving these loving appreciations, our discomfort doesn’t last too long. We all know what a rare gift it is to be so fully mirrored back by other women.

When we’re done, we dip our hands in paint and add our handprints to a collaborative creation.

photo-82It’s a testament to the journey we’ve been on together and it speaks volumes.

It says we showed up, we shared our stories, we trusted the power of the circle, we created together, we allowed ourselves to be wise and vulnerable, we connected and engaged, and we lived deeply.

We bring our ritual to a close by blowing out our candles.

Today, at the end of Art Every Day Month, it occurs to me that I’m feeling much the same as I do at the end of a cycle of the women’s circle.

Although I didn’t have the joy of creating in-person with the women who participated, I still feel a deep bond. So I’ve lit a candle and right now I’m imagining all of us here together, sharing appreciations.

And there is so much I appreciate:

photo-83The support that’s been shown.

The courage, trust and openness of sharing our creations.

The creativity and curiosity on display every single day.

The humor, wisdom and kindness that each woman embodies.

The joy that came from discovering something new each day.

So in honor of this final day, I created a circle full of handprints.


As each one went down on the paper I imagined that the collective energy of this unique online circle of women was flowing through me. I like to think that these aren’t just my hands, they’re all of our hands.

And now, with a full heart and deep gratitude, I blow out my candle.

* * * * *

I invite you to follow me on twitter: @pattybechtold. And if you’d like monthly resources for Living Deep delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here. Thanks!

10 thoughts on “the ritual of shared appreciations

  1. Patty, this is so beautifully written. Your description of the creative circle reminded me so much of a group of women I was once close to. We gathered on birthdays, sharing a meal and speaking words of life and appreciation over the birthday girl. I remember so well how hard it was for me to receive those words when it was my turn but at the same time I so needed to hear them. The closeness we shared was such a gift…sweet, sweet memories.

  2. I looooove this! I wish we could all gather to share appreciations and a handprint circle. I think you’ll appreciate next month’s theme (which will be posted tomorrow!) 🙂

  3. Art every day month — that sounds like a worthwhile theme for every month! And I like the theme that it’s all of our art — I don’t get the sense that I write music, but instead that I just listen to the music that already, eternally, exists and transcribe it.

Leave a Reply to Patty Bechtold Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s