Some days, it is so easy to be grateful… blue sky dappled with the kind of clouds you want to lay back, flat out on freshly cut grass and find pictures in; warmth of the sort you would wish for when off on your holiday; sun on shoulders; Summer dress floating in the breeze; folks greeting each other with smiles in the street, smiling just because. In the garden, roses are blooming, climbers are reaching higher by the day; Spring flowers, having already ended, are shedding seeds to ensure next year’s supply. On young apple trees, fruits shaded red and green are beginning to weigh down the branches and in the lanes, leaves from one side reach out to greet those on the other creating a tunnel of trees. By the river, blankets are out, baskets are open, picnics are being consumed and glasses chink “cheers”. Here’s to days and to weekends like these.
Today, I am grateful for my favourite tree. Leafless, in Winter, the shape of it seems just so perfect to me and the shadow it casts as I view it from the path by the road on sunny days is such a simple delight, yet so utterly captivating that no traffic is heard when I see it there; everything is on hold as I surrender to its uncomplicated beauty. This week, on the slow stroll through the park on my return home from dropping my boys off at school, and over the weekend too, I have watched it intently. I admire every detail that nature presents to me as I indulge in my ten minute detour of a gratitude walk; it sets me up for the day ahead. My favourite tree is one of the highlights. Leaves are starting to appear, slowly unfurling, filling in the gaps a little more each day as Spring sets in and new growth greens cover up the browns that Autumn left behind. At the weekend, the sun shone through, low in the sky as the boys and I sauntered home after an active day out of doors. We stopped for a while to capture and cherish the view. Tomorrow, it will change again. Each day different; every day something new.
My garden is a constant source of pleasure. It was the reason I moved from a flat to a house. In moving, we lost an enormous amount of indoor space, but gained our own little piece of earth. Even in the cold and muddy Winter months when I rarely venture out there, I watch the trees from my pillow through the bedroom window in the morning and evening; I plant bulbs and delight in their blooming; I grow salad in pots and blueberries on bushes. This little garden is my personal piece of heaven. My Gratitude Daily course asks that you take pleasure in the simple things. It encourages mindfulness… what better place to experience daily bliss than out in your garden or communal green area. Today was my first proper day out there in my garden this year… the first day of real time, loving it, tending it, admiring it. The first cut of the grass; a close inspection of buds unfurling; mental notes taken of weeds to dig out and spaces that require replanting. In my Gratitude Daily course, I encourage you to spend time doing things that put a smile in your heart… going to places you love, being with people who light you up. My garden is my quiet space… my cup of tea, reflecting place and as the weather warms up, I will enjoy sharing it as I invite friends to enjoy meals out at the table under blossoming wisteria and the boys dig up worms and collect snails with their friends. Such pleasure to be had in the simplest of things. Thank you nature. x
Each morning, on my way home from the school run, I make a little detour through the park… my gratitude walk. It takes just a few minutes, but the effect lasts for hours. My decision to turn right rather than left at the bottom of the hill adds moments to my walk home and smiles to my morning. I walk slowly, mindfully. I look around me and take in the details. Today, the first daffodils, a ring of crocuses, freshly flowering after the weekend, planted in a wobbly ring. As I walk, I stretch out all of the tightness in my shoulders from too many computer hours and let the fresh air fill my lungs. I breathe in, out, in; slowly and deeply. Some days, like today, I take pictures… somehow capturing moments on my camera or phone helps to imprint these things on my mind. These gratitude walks help me to appreciate the beauty on my doorstep… the simple pleasures it is so easy to take for granted, but which, if we allow them, add such joy to our lives. In the Summer, I will want to linger, I am sure, but for now, just a five minute boost from nature is enough to top up my morning gratitude tanks.
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Is there a little detour you could make each day for a short gratitude walk? Or perhaps there is a route you walk already, which walked slowly and mindfully might inject more joy into your life. Just a few minutes away from the desk and out in nature shifts the focus and helps productivity no end. If you think there isn’t time, think again. If you want to get more done, slow down… Jonathan Fields reminded me of that with his productivity hack Hair on Fire Minus One. This week, I am putting it to the test.
Today, I am grateful for the spaces in between… the sun between showers, sky between trees, blue between dark clouds, stops between steps, naps between tasks, moments of peace between fights in the back seat.
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After a rush, rush morning, ready for fresh air and exercise, big boy and I ventured out. Time together just the two of us is all too rare, so today, I was grateful for a little of that. Huge grey cloud suggested rain, but we chose to have faith. As we neared the park, the blue sky that had been mostly hidden came out and the sun showed its face again. The focus of my gratitude practice today was mindfulness… stopping to take in the views and feel the wind on my skin brought me back to the moment again. I walked a little, stopped; walked a little, stopped. Beauty is everywhere; always.
Today, I am grateful for the promise of Spring… sun shining, crocuses opening, buds on branches.
Today, I had the pleasure of time in my garden coat-free. I cut back straggly plants, raked leaves and in my head formed a plan for the garden in the coming weeks. It felt good. Blue sky, fresh air, nature… bliss. This year, I want to tame the too tall trees. I want to add more colour and some things to eat – grow rocket and spinach at the least. It is time to lose the small wooden shed and the plastic slide and throw down more grass seed, tend it and be out in the garden daily. This is the place I should be spending time… connecting with nature (and me). This is the place I feel alive. This is what I moved from a huge flat to a tiny house for… my outdoor space. Right now, grass is long, but it is green. For that, I am grateful. There is mud… more of it than there is grass, it seems, but that’s not permanent. There are no puddles or floods here, for which I am grateful. Half way up our little hill, we are safe. Down below, in the park, lakes have replaced fields and paths are almost impassable as the brook that cuts right through the middle has risen and risen and the rains have run down from the woods. That will change… warm weather will come and soon we will be cycling on dry paths and the muddy waters will run clear again. I appreciate the big shifts and the little things that come with the changing of seasons. Above all, I am grateful that I have a home that is dry and warm and a garden in which I can grow things. I am blessed to have a little corner of the world that I can call my own. All of this makes me feel truly abundant.
Today, I am grateful for the most extraordinary light from the train home this evening. A blissful golden hue fell upon the grasses in the fields outside Chichester and as we passed by the flooded areas that have turned the Sussex countryside into a Lake District, dark rainclouds loomed and a rainbow straddled the blue band in between. This glorious sight… the most stunningly beautiful views of wild nature that I have ever seen from this train, kept me going all the way home to Barnet. So grateful for that… the beauty is still in my mind. I had no camera, but even if I did, I don’t think I could have captured it.
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“Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.”
Today, under blue sky, sun shining, cold biting… such a contrast to yesterday, I am grateful again.
Every day holds new wonders in store.
In the little community for my Gratitude Daily course, 25 women are growing their gratitude practice.