Assemblages of items that bring comfort, called comfort baskets.

As we close out a year that has cracked many of us open, we offer a lovely practice designed by Kay Klinkenborg, spiritual director, retired RN, and LMFT: making a comfort basket. By harvesting items and memories that provide refuge in difficult times, this is a gift we can give ourselves.

Using the six senses—taste, feel, touch, hearing, seeing, and heart space—create a "comfort basket" to help ground yourself in times of stress. Include in your basket, tray, or box at least four items that bring you joy to see, touch, smell or be reminded of. Use your comfort basket to ground yourself when you feel stressed. If it’s small enough, you can carry it from room to room, use it outside, or even in your car.

To give you some ideas, our colleagues shared examples of comfort baskets—and personal variations on the original idea—that they assembled. We share photos (numbers after each name below correspond to "basket" images above), descriptions, lists with the personal meaning of the content, and a poem that resulted from this practice.

Lexi Popovich (1)
I usually take all these things with me on my yoga mat in the morning or have them sitting close by when I feel like I’m needing a little extra support.

  • The flowers (heart space) are from my dad’s funeral and they serve as a reminder that everything in this life is temporary and beautiful. I also feel more connected to him when they are around.
  • The clear quartz crystals (touch), I bought when I lived in Florida and they have been with me through some difficult/healing times.
  • The angel cards (sight) are something fun and light I like to pull when I am feeling I need a little extra guidance. Today I pulled “emotional healing.”
  • The bundle of sage (smell) I have for when I move into my new home, until then I have it with me excited for what the future brings.
  • And lastly, (taste) I included my mood juice supplement. It tastes like cinnamon and I usually put a few drops in my tea for good measure.

Nathan Moore (2)

  • The coffee (smell) is my favorite Sumatran roast. It was a gift from a friend. 
  • The Mala bracelet (touch) was my last purchase in San Francisco before we went into lockdown.
  • The photo booth picture (sight/heart center) was taken at last year’s holiday party. It features my Sweet Pea and my dear friend. 
  • The paper crane (heart center/sight) is one of my colleague's. 
  • The candy (taste) are my favorite candy bars in miniature form. I love to keep them around as a treat when I’m having a bad day. 
  • The small vials are essential oils (smell/heart center). They were given to me by a new friend when I tested positive for COVID-19.

Sandra Oaks (3)
My Nana and Dad loved birds; he especially loved Cardinals. I had purchased this tree for my parents and whenever family visited, we stuck little love notes on the branches for them to read.

  • I made this orange mug with colleagues and it holds my African Violet. My nana and aunt could grow beautiful violets and I had never have been able to. This one has bloomed 4 times and brings me such joy.
  • My boys, their sweethearts, and my grandlovies pictures keep me smiling as they live so far away.
  • The vase I bought in Crete while my son and family were stationed there, and the little brown stone is from Assisi. I never imagined I would be privileged to visit Greece and Italy.
  • Friends who are so precious to me and show so much love.
  • God is the center of my being—so glad He promises to direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6). This plaque was from my parent’s home.

Roselle Kovitz (4)

Wings, At Last

Her middle name was Bird.

She gathered twigs and beads,
orange and red chiffon
green gold papier mâché
and a spiral of wispy orange filament
to cradle soft centers
where hungry mouths
might taste beauty.

She pulled threads through vibrant
fabrics, family, friendships
weaving life’s motifs together—
invitations to grow strong
enough to chance flight.

To her now faded nest,
a broken scallop shell
washed ashore years ago,
plucked from miles of sand.
A brittle brown leaf dropped
from the maple just outside.
A small silver elephant,
so light it danced as it was placed.
And a smooth stone heart
seated atop the delicate orange strands.

Of sea and land, plant and animal,
ageless and imperfect—all touched,
together, held, anchored
in this bird’s transient cradle,
reminding me that it was she
who, not long ago,
was poised on a thin rise,
a nest’s edge, perhaps,
when her last breath
became her wings.

Colette Heusenskvild (5)
This corkboard is on the wall next to my desk at home and provides me an extraordinary amount of peace and comfort—every day! Each piece that I’ve accumulated and attached over the years holds a very significant meaning to me. It’s not that easy to get onto my corkboard—it has to be something really special. All of the pieces conjure up different warm, loving, or funny memories. It always brings me joy and calm.

Your turn! We invite you to share an image and the contents of your comfort basket in the comments.

Our thanks to Kay Klinkenborg for creating this lovely practice and sharing it with us!