You can do this alongside keeping a ‘Joy Jar’. Jot down moments of joy and thanks on scraps of paper. Add them to your jar.
Or keep a Journal of Appreciation. This is when you write down everyday blessings. With friends, family, your home, nature, everything! Anything that makes your heart sing.
This is what I do, along with other jottings. Here is how it can help you.
We all experience joyful moments over the year. But we don’t often allow positive facts to become positive experiences. We dash on through, and sometimes barely notice the amazing things that happened.
As Rick Hanson explains in Buddha’s Brain:
‘The longer something is held in awareness and the more emotionally stimulating it is, the more neurons that fire and thus wire together, and the stronger the trace in memory.’
So when I look back or think of some of the nature blessings I experienced this year, I can really feel the joy again! When I first experienced them they were blissfully gorgeous. I often stand for ages simply drinking in the feelings.
And with photos and journals, these experiences can be recalled again. Count your blessings by re-counting those good feelings!
Here are some of my 2018 nature blessings I’d like to share with you
The sky was pure blue and it was very cold. There were lots of humble snowdrops out, plus daffodils and narcissi.
Wednesday 18 April: Georgeous sunny afternoon in Selborne. Walked up through the woods to the common. On the way up I saw a deer grazing amongst the trees. It ran off at the sound of a dog barking …
I love the subtle smell of mud/cow/horse manure/buds and something like tobacco.
Saturday 21 April: I was absolutely thrilled to hear a cuckoo at 8.30am this morning. Then he returned about 4.20 and later even 6pm-ish. I couldn’t locate him but he was so distinctive. The last time I heard a cuckoo was in April 2011 at Pulborough Brooks.
Saturday 5 May: I drove to the Selborne car park and started walking at 7.35am:
- I heard a glorious lark singing
- springtime birds generally.
- An elusive fox.
- A deer.
- A field FULL of buttercups and dandelions.
- Swathes of cowslips on top of Noar Hill.
- The sun through the treetops on the woodland path.
- Sheer joy to be out in it all at this secret time in the morning.
Sunday 20 May:
- Out driving and on the way was a dear little fox cub with overlarge ears in the road. I slowed right down and watched him wobble back into the hedgerow.
- The glorious scenery all around as I drove round King’s Somborne and Stockbridge.
- White buds on the hawthorn bushes.
Wednesday 30 May: Last night I was looking through my binoculars into the trees outside my window.
It took me a while to notice the nuthatch sitting still on the bark. I’m sure there must be a nest there.
I realized how well-camouflaged he is: the black streaks along his eyes are just great for blending into the bark.
Nature is a constant companion when humanity seems confused
To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken
Wednesday 6 June: The Simplest Thing I know
Me sitting here
The cool breeze through the open window
The clock ticking
The bird chattering and trilling
The ebb and flow of the tree branches
The tiny patches of blue sky
Thoughts rush to West Wittering beach
Chitter chatter of what might possibly be a nest of baby birds
A car passes by
Blue sky through the smudged dirty skylights
The heavy flap of a wood pigeon’s wings
Wednesday 6 June: When I arrived home this afternoon about 4.30 I stood and enjoyed watching the swallows flying above me in the carpark area. They were showering the sky with their graceful, swift movements. What a joy!
Friday 8 June: I went to Mottisfont Abbey today. The rose garden was stupendous – colours, shapes, textures and smells!
Monday 11 June: So glad I got out to have a beautiful evening walk. Went to the churchyard and walked along the little and big lythes down to the ponds… birdsong, shady trees, nettles and white flowers.
Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens:
- Absolutely stunning.
- Lots of gardens full of roses and flowers hedges, walls, statues.
- I walked up the tower and loved the room up there where Vita Sackville-West wrote. Apparently, she gardened in the day and wrote in her tower room at night.
Monday 18 June: Another evening walk of blessings.
- Watching the heron fly across gracefully and magically.
- The tiny frogs moving beneath my feet.
Thursday 21 June Summer Solstice:
- Beautiful blackbird song outside at 8.25pm in the golden sunshine.
- The summer solstice sun gleaming through the leaves outside my window.
Nature Blessings continue
Saturday 7 July: I sat looking at the beautiful dancing patterns on my bedroom wall. The sun was shining through the leaves as they shuffled in the slight breeze. It was a gorgeous moment. Joy!
Extra miracle blessing on Wednesday 25 July: On my drive home along the lane there was a tawny owl on the road. He swooped up into a nearby tree and sat gazing down at me. I slowed down and saw him in all his awesome beautiful colours and patterns.
Sunday 29 July:
- Thankful for the much-needed rain.
- Gratitude for the ever-inspiring beauty of the trees outside my home.
Saturday 18 August:
Monday 24 September: Glengariff, Ireland
- Walked along the stream to the waterfall this morning. It felt magical. The sound of the water and the smell of the earth.
- Sat by the bay with its glimmering sea.
Tuesday 25 Sept:
- Drove along through beautiful scenery, curving narrow roads towards Kerry. Green, all green!
- Walked through green mossy woodlands up to the hilltop. Blowy, windy, sheep, lakes and little distant houses. All gorgeous.
- I sit leaning back on a mossy mound which is a gorse mound with yellow flowers. Though spiky, it feels supportive. Connecting to the earth.
Wednesday 26 Sept:
- The sun is shining and it’s a glorious afternoon.
- The water is so soft here when I wash. It feels like the air, too, is softer.
- Sound of bees.
- Soft shimmer of a breeze rustling through the leaves.
- So blessed with the weather this week.
- On West Wittering Beach sitting among the sand-dunes.
- Sun shining.
- Blue sky.
- Lots of ecstatic dogs and happy families.
- Boats bounding across the waves.
- Just saw the most amazing ‘shoal’ of silver chiriping birds. In a diamond-shape to start – heading out to sea, glimmering silver as they flew. Awesome! I have no idea what sort of birds they are.
Nature is a healer and a joy
For me, nature really is a healer and a joy. It’s something I feel I can surrender into, something bigger that supports me. These are mainly appreciation for nature blessings. Remember, there are more blessings we can focus on for people and other life experiences.
Stay as close to your aliveness as possible
What does nature mean to you? Perhaps you might start a journal of nature blessings for the coming year. It’s good to notice your nature blessings and feel the joy!
Count your blessings, I’ve lost track of the abundance of mine!
‘Buddha’s Brain’ and ‘Hardwiring Happiness’
both titles by Rick Hanson
Surroundings of Selborne, Hants
More blog reads & inspiration:
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide