Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
My earliest memory of trees was from the age of six. It was the summer holidays and Mum allowed us all, that’s my two older brothers and I, to go off for a few hours to our local park.
I was the only girl in the group of boys and I was carrying my doll. I recall it was a hot day with the sun shining on us all as we walked along the streets of West Norwood on our way to the park.
Norwood Park is a hilly park and it’s rumoured that on a clear day you can stand on the highest point and see Alexandra Palace in North London.
My brothers kicked a football as we trawled the streets. I guess they were a little angry that they had to drag their little sister with them. I was simply in the way and I remember getting the message loud and clear. At least I had my doll for companionship.
It was a long walk to the park but I’ll never forget the sense of wonder I felt as we walked along the Elm and Oak tree lined path that led to the swings where we were headed. The trees back then (in the late sixties) were tall and majestic. We wandered beneath the shelter of huge Oak’s, Horse Chestnuts and Sycamores. They towered over the small and slender frame of my six-year-old self and appeared as friendly faces smiling down on the little one.
I felt safe, seen and held as I walked amongst those huge earth creatures. Some were older than my parents and their parents before them. Even then there was a calmness that I felt, although my six-year-old self could not name it.
What’s your first memory of tree’s? We would love to hear your tree memories.
Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
Yesterday, right after coaching an early morning client I put down my notes, reached over to one of my bookshelves and plucked out an old Gratitude Journal.
It’s beautifully bound in soft leather with lovely quotes and I realised that my last entry in that Journal was in January 2009.
Within seconds of opening to a blank page I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and began writing a list of the things in my life I was very grateful for. It wasn’t long before I had filled several pages and had tears in my eyes.
I am sure many of you will be familiar with the concept of keeping a Gratitude Journal. But there can often be quite some distance in our lives between what we know and what we do.
I have found this to be so true for myself and for so many of the people I’ve had the privilege to work with. It is one thing to know something, and another to really know it and put it into practice.
Many of us know about Gratitude Journals but we are not in the act of truly knowing them. Isn’t it funny how the things that do us good often get pushed aside in our daily quests to reach driven outcomes? It really isn’t enough to simply read stuff in books. To truly know it, we must actively engage and enter into a relationship with the thing.
My reconnection with my Gratitude Journal came through my client coaching conversation earlier that morning. My client, a brilliant writer, had come to the call frustrated that she wasn’t keeping to her word to write. As we talked our focus centered on helping her get clear about what she wanted to get from the coaching. I was doing what we refer to in coaching as ‘Establishing the Coaching Agreement’.
A sense of purpose came first and sticking to a daily routine came next as we continued to drill down to discover what really mattered to her.
Within minutes, she had arrived at the practice of getting back into the habit of writing down her gratitudes each morning and achieving a sense of peace. Turns out that achieving that sense of peace would give her the peaceful frame of mind she needed to re-engage with her writing.
As we talked about the benefits and values of writing a Gratitude list a few things became clear.
The act of writing down what she was grateful for changed her perspective on how she viewed what was happening around her and most importantly her world.
It helped her to see what was good, healthy and positive right now in her life, even if there were challenges and dilemmas.
It shifted her energy from feeling negative and disheartened into a more positive domain.
Within minutes she noticed how much better she felt and how her energy levels had increased.
Sometimes the practices we help our clients reconnect to are simple ones. They start doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t. My client wanted to re-commit to writing and her creative spirit. It turned out that the act of writing her Gratitude list would give her the healthy foundations she needed to fuel her commitment to herself as a writer and as a wonderful human being.
It turned out that this insight and connection was not just for my client. This lesson was also for me the Coach and that moment with my Gratitude journal was deeply fulfilling and soul satisfying. It also offered me a meaningful and moving start to my day.
You don’t need a special notebook for writing or recording what you are grateful for. I’ve taken to writing my Gratitude lists anywhere. Today, my list will be kick started right here on the blog. Tomorrow they may find themselves on the back of a scrap of paper or an envelope.
Let anywhere be a home for writing down your daily list of what you are grateful for. Make writing them be the goal.
Today I am deeply grateful for:
The lovely bed I get to sleep in
The great parks nearby where I live
The carrot and broccoli stir fry with salmon that I enjoyed last night for dinner
Knowing I have white spaces in my day today for time to think and a walk out in nature
Really grateful for working freelance and getting to work on such creative and enriching projects and programmes
I am especially grateful for the 15 minutes of meditation I did before writing this post I really, really appreciate my lovely laptop which is my creativity portal
What are five things you are really grateful for right now?