I’m not sure when my love affair with cherry blossom came into being. I’m not sure where I was when my heart began to swell at the mere beginning buds of cherry blossom on the trees. Bradford, where I was born and stayed until I was 10? Or Newcastle, where I enjoyed my formative years before escaping to London for my degree?
I’m not really sure when or where my deep appreciation and joy at seeing these puff balls of pinks or white or cerise came to be part of my being. I just know that I experience a child-like delight when I come across a tree in full cherry blossom bloom. My heart skips a beat and I’m jumping with glee, inside and outside, when cherry blossom comes into view. And the blossom is never here long enough for my liking.
Using the delicate pinks of cherry blossom, collaging with the images of cherry blossom in my visual journal, is my way of keeping the blooms alive, in my eyes and in my heart. Not just the sight of cherry blossom in my journal keeps these fragile blooms alive, but the feelings of joy and delight that they bring to my heart is kept alive too.
I created a special spread of cherry blossom for the BALTIC commission last year, that ended up being blown up from an A3 spread in a journal to an A0 poster size on a gallery space wall. In the middle of that spread is a Black woman smiling, almost dancing between the blossom, exuberating lush joy. This is me sharing my jubilation and love of cherry blossom with others.
This is my love letter to cherry blossom as well as giving thanks for the beauty of nature and how we are connected. How we are one.
It’s the afternoon. And I’ve just finished another visual journaling spread. I might have been up at 7.30 and came to the page but again, remembering yesterday, I’m here to slow down. I’m here to savour these moments of light and joy.
I might have even shifted rooms in the process, moved from the bed to the couch. Exposure to more light and more bird sounds. Seagulls squawking and trees budding casting shadows on the living room floor.
The energies are quickening. There’s a fizzing of excitement in my stomach, my core. Who know’s what the day will bring?
The day has already gifted me time and space and colour and light and an immense feeling of peacefulness. Mindfulness. Kindness. Thank you.
From time to time, I’ve tried to keep a gratitude journal. I’ve read the research and heard the stories about expressing gratitude for your life and what is part of it, here and now. This is a great practice in order to be more present in your life as well as be happier.
I saw expressing gratitude and writing it down as just another thing to add to my to-do list mostly. I resented the time spent on it as as well as beating myself up for the times I missed a day or two. I felt like this was just another indication of me failing.
I think as part of my intentional healing journey of 2023 ( have I talked here about it?) I brought gratitude back into my day, or I’m trying to. Offering myself grace and compassion when there are times I forget to complete it some days, I allowed myself to start small.
Today, I am grateful for …
This is how I start each entry and I allow myself to just mark one thing I’m grateful for. One thing. One sentence. Most days it’s doable. Most days I remember. Some days there’s more than one think, more than one thing to be grateful for. But there are still some days I forget and the days run away from me. But I do not sweat it. I pick it back up when I remember.
I keep this little notebook with the image of Frida Kahlo on my bedside table. I love this little notebook. I love Frida Kahlo but I also love how I feel when I write in this book. I feel better. I feel present. I feel grateful for what I have, how I feel, what I experience. Fostering positive energy for the here and now rather than energy wasted on what I don’t have or want instead.
The research is right. Practicing gratitude does foster appreciation and happiness for the things and people in your life. Now. Simples.
Here are a few gratitude moments captured in this little book of gratitudes from the beginning of the year so far:
Today I am grateful for the reminder that I am loving, loved and loveable.
Today I am grateful for the time and space to create a vision board for the year ahead.
Today I am grateful for my body to be able to walk and get into the sea.
Today I am grateful for my lie in. For rest and sleep.
Today I am grateful for the opportunity to put things right .
Today I am grateful for the connections I am making, with myself and others.
Expect to see more posts about gratitude as I delve deeper into the practice and the effects it is having on my life. What contributions it is making to my healing journey?