Spring has arrived and with it comes a sense of renewal, a feeling of hope, and the sight
of those pesky yellow weeds.
Still navigating a pandemic, remaining positive may be difficult. Starting a gratitude journal and noticing the beauty in nature are wonderful places to start. Walk, breathe in the fresh air, and notice the flowers peeking out to welcome the new season. For each flower you see, consider its presence. It’s a reminder of grand resilience.
It survived the long, dark, cold, Nova Scotia winter and flourishes once again. Even if that flower is a dandelion.
Instead of seeing the dandelion as a weed, consider it the first sign of warmer days. A stopping place for a bee collecting pollen. A little bit of sunshiny yellow to brighten your mood.
There is much to be thankful for, even now, but it’s easily forgotten during the chaos of busy days. Toast crumbs left on the counter make you cringe, the traffic slowing you down makes you growl, and the long to-do list repeating in your brain makes you tired: get the groceries, stop for gas, locate the library book your child can’t find, pick up the dry cleaning, finish the latest project at work.
But, like re-evaluating weeds, you could choose to be grateful there’s bread to toast and electricity to make it happen. There’s a car that needs fuel, and a job to go to. Reading from a stack of books in the safety of home is a blessing, not a chore.
Keeping a gratitude journal is as simple as noticing flowers. It’s a way to note the good things in your life and a reminder to focus on the positive. Things to be thankful for are as abundant as spring blossoms. Naming them gives you time to ponder. Writing these moments down gives them the power to fill your days with happiness.
Search the neighbourhood for crocuses, tulips, snowdrops, hyacinths, and daffodils. Also look for dandelions, pussy willows, buttercups, daisies, and lupins.
Search for things to be grateful for such as a new day, a friendly smile from a stranger, a hug from a family member, and a sandwich in a lunch bag.

“Where flowers bloom so does hope,”
Lady Bird Johnson

Steps for Keeping a Gratitude Journal

Find a journal. It can be fancy or plain; lined or not.
Date your entry. This provides reference when looking back. Being thankful is habit forming.
List five things you are grateful for right now.
Start simple.
Even a cheeky statement like, “I am grateful for my morning coffee,” works. Over time your entries may become more elaborate as the realization of the many things to be thankful for grows, even in a simple hot beverage. “I am thankful for the coffee bean, the person who harvested it, the one who processed the beans, and the one who placed the delicious grounds on the store shelf. I am grateful for my nose for recognizing the amazing aroma and my taste buds for enjoying that first sip of my rich morning elixir.”
No rules, no judgement. Gratitude, like the beauty of flowers, both planted and wild, is in the eye of the beholder. Some days are easier than others and sometimes the dandelions may be weeds. That’s okay. Be kind to yourself. Perhaps find a speck of gratitude in the blank page before you and the motionless pen in your hand.
Pair with an already established habit. New habits are easier to form if connected to one already in place. Keep your notebook by the coffee pot or on your bedside table to use right before you turn off the light and turn on the alarm.
Return often. Rereading previous entries reminds you of the many blessings you have and kindles warm feelings.
Like the wind that lifts a kite or makes metal chimes sing outside the window, you cannot see gratitude, but you can feel its effect. The fullness in your heart, the lightness in your steps as you move through the day, and the smile on your face become apparent. Gratitude improves your mood and inspires a lasting feeling of comfort, peace, love, and hope.

Local Artist Creates Journals

Archan Silvia Knotz, a North shore multi-disciplinary artist says, “Journalling is essential for my mental health.” It’s an opportunity for her to record thoughts, ideas, concepts,
and her reasons for working on a particular project.
When asked about gratitude, she quickly mentioned the Northumberland Strait. “I feel very grateful to live where I live and that I am able to enjoy this beautiful body of water winter and summer.”
Taking it one step further, she has created handcrafted journals from “repurposed materials with lots of love.” Carefully stitched and bound, sometimes tied with beaded ribbon, or fastened with unique buttons. Notebooks that hold empty pages waiting to be filled with possibilities.