Below are some ideas around expressing gratitude (a wonderful well-being and positivity-encouraging thing to do at any time!) and journalling.
Routine: expressing gratitude
- sharing things for which we are grateful in our opening circle time
- singing songs about being thankful (some gratitude songs we sing include: "Thank you to the forest" and "We've got so much so much so much to be thankful for" and "When I Rise")
- expressing gratitude during our closing circle time for something that happened, or that they saw/experienced during our time together
- offering a tobacco tie to Jan, our Anishnaabe Knowledge Keeper and friend, when she comes to tell us stories
- offering seeds and plants to the earth
- offering seeds to chickadees and squirrels and meadow voles in the winter months
- asking for permission (from the plant), then thanking a plant when we harvest it (using the "honourable harvest" as a guide)
- looking very closely at the things in our natural world - journalling about them, asking questions, showing wonder and curiosity and awe
How do you express gratitude at home? Try one or more of these ideas this week:
- Look out the window, or go outside. Use all 5 senses to take in what's around you. You could even do a sit spot again!
- Write or draw about what you see/hear/smell/taste/feel. Feel free to email your responses! Or record these every day in a nature journal.
- During a meal, take turns expressing at least one thing for which you are grateful today. You could keep a family journal near the table for recording these things.
- At bedtime, list 3 things for which you are grateful. It's a great way to end the day. :)
It's not surprising that an attitude of gratitude is mind-changing, and life-changing too. What we focus on matters! I notice, with my own children, that it's very easy to come up with a laundry list of the bad feelings or moments - these are potent too! For myself, ending the day on a "good note" helps with sleep and with my attitude the next morning.
Create: a nature journal
- Once you have your journal - handmade or bought - take it outside or near a window.
- Look closely. Draw what you see. Write what you see. Go with what your intuition wants you to do. Perhaps you just want to look and look and look, and not record anything today.
- Find a leaf, left over from fall. Draw it, looking at the tiny details of the veins. What do you notice about it?
- If you have any spring flowers, sit by them. Draw one. Imagine being that flower. Write about it. What do you see as a flower? What do you notice today?
Outside this week
- bugs! (As I typed this - outdoors in my backyard - one just flew by and hit me on the nose) What bugs have you noticed so far?
- In my walks, I hear woodpeckers drumming on trees, robins chirping, chickadees calling out their mating songs, cardinals singing back and forth. What birds are you hearing on your street or in your backyard?
- Look up! Watch for flocks of geese, swans, and ducks flying overhead. How many can you count in one week?
- If you're lucky enough to be near some swamps, ponds, or wetlands, listen for the sound of the red-winged blackbird (conk'a'ree!), and with more daylight the delight of other bird songs.
- What else are you noticing this week?
We are aware that Huron Natural Area is overrun with people right now, making it an unsafe place to be, so please try to find other areas to walk/explore. Thank you!