While waiting for the shower to run from cold to hot, I think of three things I’m grateful for today:

I’m grateful for CoCo ( mini convertible borrowing from a dear friend) because it got me places I didn’t to get to today. All in one piece.

I’m grateful for the warm oat milk poured over Weetabix, with chilled blueberries and chocolate sauce. Comfort food.

I’m grateful for the chance to see my daughter today as I dropped off a book with her after school before she went on to her dad’s.

Poem – An Act of Faith

Isn’t that what a poem is?
A lantern glowing in the dark.

Elizabeth Acevedo

Just as dusk is falling, I walk. Affected by the elements,

head in pain from the wind, I force myself out into the dim light,

believing moving my legs will strengthen my heart.

Motherly care, higher forces in radio silence. Walk

The moon pale blue and silent. But still there. Always.

Like the ancestors, guiding. Allowing me to find my own way. Tonight.

To falter, make mistakes and loop back. Remaining open.

Trusting these windows of silence as still inspiration.

Hope holds optimism. Optimism holds joy.

The touch of joy, fine-grained dark jasper, I search for along the path.

This spiritual path of putting pen to page, again and again.

Like one foot in front of another. An act of faith.

Feeling grateful today for …

The Healing Properties of the Seas ( again), Whitley Bay, Thursday 4 May 2023, 11.45am

the space to breathe. Breath in and breath out.

the energy to move my body in order to gain more energy.

my scarf, hat and gloves and coat.

the money in my pocket to buy a to coffee

the sea, the waves, the seagulls, the rocks; my kin

Spring Blossoms

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.

Another Day Another Spread

Visual Journaling Spread

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.

we crave joy. we need safety

Words: adapted from ‘Conjuring Hands: The Art of Curious Women of Color’, by gloria j. wilson, Joni Body Acuff and Venessa Lopez

we crave joy. unmediated, defined by self, not by others.

for me, joy is intertwined with the idea of ‘safety’.

for me safety means not only protection from White hands that hold sticks, stones, batons, and guns.

but also safety from White minds and from White eyes.

in the past, in attempts at safety, i have resorted to running, literally and figuratively.

i fold in on myself to avoid harmful interactions. to keep myself safe.

i’m no longer prepared to relegate myself to the corner of the room. i go to the waters seeking guidance from the ancestors, seeking safety, seeking joy.

Gratitude Journaling – Part 001

My little book of gratitude

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?