Inspired by Nature, to bring you joy
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How to use gratitude to feel good during lockdown

anitanowinskaart Art cafeaulait dahlia floralart flowerpainting gratitude homeaccents interiordecor interiordesign interiors paintings wallart walldecor wellbeing

Finding the precious things in life to feel good through Lockdown

The story behind a big Dahlia Flower Painting

how to use gratitude to eel good during lockdown- dahlia lower painting full of love

As I put the final brushstrokes onto my canvas, a late news announcement told of another lockdown starting. Looking up, I expected to feel a sense of dread, but instead I was filled with a solid grounded sense of wellbeing.

It was uncanny how the creative process of my big Dahlia flower painting had given me strength & resilience, just when it was most needed. The painting is all about gratitude & that is the key to feeling good, even when times are hard.

I'd like to share the thoughts & story with you. You might find some parallels with your own life & the tools to feel good, even in these strange & challenging times. Your precious moments will be different to mine, but the mindful process of giving them life & energy will have the same effect... to create wellbeing & give you the strength to bloom, even when times are tough.

(Please understand that I am in no way dismissing the genuine & real problems, grief & loses so many have suffered. I am just sharing little things which I find helpful & may in some way give you ideas of how to feel okay)

This whole year has been surreal, all of our expectations & normal activities having disappeared down the rabbit hole of COVID-19. The uncertainty, worry & fears many have felt are a natural reaction to an unnatural reality, but there are ways in which we can strengthen our mental wellbeing & find the resources to stay healthy, happy & even to flourish.

For everything that we might feel we are missing, for every fear there is a way turning thoughts around to see what there is to feel good about.

how to use gratitude to find wellbeing- dahlia flower painting

An intention to focus on what is good

Once the oil paints come out, the deliciousness of rich slippy colours, the pots full of brushes, the pine tang of turpentine & nutty ooze of linseed oil, I get lost. The creative process takes over & the painting starts sharing with me the story it wants to tell, the lessons it wants me to learn.

It becomes a meditation as the world fades away around me and my mind floats into its favourite state of pure creativity. The process of creating one of my big flower paintings is always deeply immersive, an escape from daily worries as each canvas teaches me something I need for my wellbeing or the ability to work through something going on in my life. The story of each flower painting usually unravels as I work, but this time the title for my big Cafe au Lait Dahlia canvas came immediately & clearly. 'Precious,' it whispered, & I knew that I wanted to use each individual petal to hold something precious in my life.

As I started to paint, I put thought & energy into each petal, consciously thinking about the good things in my life & pouring that thankfulness & love through the brush, onto the canvas. The dahlia has multitudinous petals, so I won't share every single thought or we would be here till tomorrow, but I want to talk about some of the main themes which filled me with joy.

Every precious thing, all the incredible moments are what makes our lives joyful, special & wonderful. However, as life around us takes over, it's so easy to focus on problems or the negative things going on around us. We forget to feel gratitude for all that we have. The truth is that any of us living in developed countries actually have so much, probably too much, because we easily start taking things for granted & complain about things rather than concentrating on the abundance we are surrounded by.

Doing a stock take of our blessings, an inventory of the long list of positives in our life can really transform the way we feel & create vitality, energy & well being.

For me, it's is my Art which creates the space to really grow & feel my way into positive thoughts.

We can all have something which gives us this space; meditation, yoga, exercise, writing, cycling, cooking, swimming, walking in nature, knitting, sewing, embroidery, making anything creative, gardening, flower arranging or simply sitting quietly & shutting out the outside world... Whatever way you find to take your mind to that place, do it whenever you can & mindfully focus your thoughts on gratitude & positive things.

if you want to find happiness- find gratitude- anita nowinska

 Pouring Gratitude into the things closest to my heart

I started painting on the day the clocks changed. My first thought about an extra hour of time the next morning was about a much needed lie in... however, as the sun rose my fingers started to tingle with the knowledge that downstairs there was a canvas & brushes waiting for me. So down I crept as the house slumbered & dipped into soft oily colours on my palette.
The dahlias story pulling me in & revealing itself.

My lovely friend Liz at Pipley Flowers, who grows beautiful British Flowers on a patch of land  near Bath, generously gave me a bucketful of lovely autumnal blooms. Amongst them, raggedy Dahlias in various shades. The pale Cafe au Lait Dahlia has a multitude of convoluted petals, each unique in its form & shades. Instantly my mind went to how grateful I am for modern technology & social media, Liz is one of many lovely new friends I've met through online collaborations & accidental chats. 

As I started to paint my mind began deeply taking stock & feeling into all the precious things in life, big & small. 

Each single petal of this painting holds a precious thought, love & gratitude poured in through my brush.

The close tucked center holds the things most dear to me. My beautiful son, my family & the joy that having them in my life brings. The petals tucked tightly in that core hold the precious love I am given by my teenage son, who tells me every day how much he loves me & appreciates me. The closeness we share because it's always been just the two of us, getting through life without support, but having this amazing relationship with each other. Even his name means 'bringer of light' & he is the sunshine lighting up every day. Rather than seeing being a lone parent as a burden, I see it as something wonderful which has created such a special bond of openness & communication, without interference or stress from outside. 

The next petal holds gratitude for my Mother & cherishing that she is now with us in the sunset days of her life so that we can share the special moments. Another petal holds the treasure of her culinary gifts & her care while I was unwell over the past few weeks.

Another, the sound of my sons laughter as he chatters to his friends online. Around that heart, petals hold memories of the years gone by as I’ve watched him grow & become such a wonderful young man.

 

Anita nowinska with her big dahlia painting 'Precious' 

Looking at things differently can make wonderful things happen

Petals start to open & took my mind a little wider from that vital core. I thought about what else is precious to me..

As the soft peachy tones & lilac shadows travelled from my brush to the canvas I pondered on my relationship with my Mother, who now lives with my son & I. As for everyone this year, being in lockdown with family members hasn't been easy. Locked in, unable to get away, every small niggle is magnified, little habits, the way we do things very differently. Living with an elderly parent when you've been used to being away from them can have its challenges

It's very easy when you live with someone to see the negatives, the things which are irritating or grind on the nerves. Those little things can turn a relationship sour, whether it is with a parent, a partner or a friend. Holding on to things from the past, blaming or clinging to unresolved anger can rip a home apart. Ours has been a journey over the years & the older I get the more I realise that just by changing the way I think I can change how I experience a relationship & actually change the other person's behaviour too.

Shifting those feelings around & finding the good can create huge benefits, changing the way we behave to each other & feeding love rather resentment. Noticing when my jaw started to tense in response to a comment or action became a signal that I need to become conscious of what is real & what is a buildup of irritation or a response to things which have happened in the past.

It may sound too easy, but just training myself to notice my irritation & let go of it has made so much difference. To shrug it off & just see that she just hadn't thought about how a comment may affect me. Maybe saying a few gentle words to express that I would love it if she maybe tried a different way of saying something. 

I realised that often my frustration meant that I wasn't as loving as I could be & that we never hugged anymore, not for years. Two things during this year healed both our hearts & created a new way of being around each other.

The first was that I realised that the whole Covid situation was absolutely terrifying for her. Watching the news over & over, worrying about me, my son & what might happen to her. Tales of elderly dying alone in hospitals had her feeling powerless.

It didn't take much, just an awareness of what it must be like from her point of view. I started to give her a kiss on the forehead and a hug before bedtime & encouraged her to watch films or listen to music rather than the depressing news. Feeling her body noticeably relax & her smile reappear was so poignant. When had I forgotten that she needs some affection too? 

gratitude for family-anita nowinska

I’d struggled for a long time thinking I was losing my Mother to the spectre of dementia which stole my Grandmother years ago. Mum had been really difficult & depressed for the past few years, moody, angry, critical. She is just like me... we don’t complain when something is wrong, so it took a long time to work out that her cataracts had got so bad she could hardly see. Being an avid reader & crossword addict, life had become frustrating & dull & she was disappearing slowly in moods & difficult behaviour, which I read as being nasty to me, but was actually about her fear of incapacity & being dependant. Many of her strange absent minded moments were simply that she couldn't see that she was putting toothpaste in the fridge & the garlic paste in the bathroom rather than a sign of her mind going. Maybe if I had stepped out of my own feelings earlier I would have seen what was really going on.

During lockdown I did one of my determined ‘get things done’ stunts & had her put at the top of the waiting list & one eye operated on within two weeks. You cannot imagine the joy & gratitude I’ve felt since as my Mums old fun personality re-emerged with her eyesight. All of a sudden I’ve got back the lovely, caring & funny Mother of my younger years. My son now has a granny he giggles with instead of dreading a mood.

The deep, deep gratitude for having her back in our lives that way is such a hugely precious thing.

It’s also reminded me that we really need to care for our elderly relatives & neighbours during this time & find ways to be patient & understanding. Sometimes if you get to the bottom of what is bothering them, you can help them be their best. So, she is one of the jewels of life I’m painting into ‘Precious’.

Oh, she still does some wacky forgetful things, but I can now smile patiently & not mention them, rather than get upset.

That simple shift has created magic for us all. There is more love in the house, more laughter, it's easier to communicate & live together, whatever is going on outside. I'm so grateful for that

Old fashioned communications which make all the difference

I realise that some have parents in retirement homes & lockdown stops visits. However, we can find ways of making an effort. Sending letters, cards, little drawings. If they have grandchildren, encourage the kids to send pictures they have drawn, things they can hold in their hands & their heart. Theirs was a generation who wrote to each other & making the time to send them thoughts, laughter & news is a beautiful way of them knowing that we are thinking of them.

Appreciating the older generations

The next petal then took into it the appreciation of the older generation in general. So often dismissed or ignored, they are actually so precious. So full of life experience & knowledge, wise, a repository of stories & history. Being more open, kinder, softer with their little excentricities opens the door to appreciating all they know. These people gave us life, raised us... not perfectly, but they did their best with what they had at the time.

If there a neighbour, elderly & alone nearby? Is anyone caring for them? Jsy asking what they need might make all the difference. Cooking a little extra & dropping a meal off to them, A chat across the doorstep, just a check in. There are two things here which are good. The thing you have done to help & the lovely warm glow you get when you know you have made a difference.

Yet another petal holds appreciation that our generation is so lucky. We are allowed to talk about our feelings & have access to coaching, self development, counselling. A hundred & one ways to help us heal & deal with our issues. The wartime generations had none of that, they just had to get on with, keeping quiet & mulling over problems by themselves. No previous generation has as much to help them as we do. Our mental wellbeing is a talking point & being grateful for all of that is so important.

Talk to people, talk to your friends, talk to your family or talk to a coach or counsellor. Don't let sadness, frustration or stress sink you into depression but open up & use all the resources available to keep your mind well. Eat well drink lots of water, try to excercise... you can do all of those things with people online sharing what they are doing. Be a community, not an island, even when isolated. 

There is gratitude to be had, that all that is out there for us. The funny couple who are doing crazy dances on video every day, the people sharing their skills. It's all about people reaching out to each other.

Surround yourself with people who lift you up

Gems of friendship

As the central cluster of tight petals opens out, a ring of fronds creates a halo around the core. They curl slightly inwards, their tips reaching up to the sunlight creating a protective, stable guard. 

Painting their luscious curves, each one of them becomes the presence of a true friend in my life. In this circle comes gratitude for many things, not just the people, but the lessons learnt, the burdens let go of, the growth & the grounding to be comfortable with who I am. Each friend has something unique which I cherish. 

When I was younger, it meant so much to me to be surrounded by people, to be sociable, part of the crowd, the mover & shaker, the organiser. My childhood had been stained with an inability to quite fit in, being bullied & a desperate yearning to belong, followed by years of feeling I had to achieve, impress, show how strong I am & how much I give in order to fit in & be loved. Now I feel gratitude for all those experiences, because they shaped me & made me who I am today.

I made so many mistakes because my motivation was all wrong, it came from an inability to love myself. So I'm grateful for the friend who taught me that to be vulnerable was OK, what a precious gift that was. That opening up & asking for help is a gift to myself & allows someone else to feel strong & needed. The friend who always knows, when I'm being a tough cookie & challenges me. The friend who always knows how to make me laugh. The friend who I can share my deepest secrets with, without being judged. All of them shining gems.

It's also precious to understand that people come in & out of our lives when they are meant to & there is nothing wrong or right about them passing through. To be thankful for what they bring to my life at the time & the lessons I have learnt through knowing them.

friendship quotes on dahlia flower painting by anita nowinska

The gem that was seeing that often even those who don't like you have gifts to share, to make you realise that often it's about their stuff not yours, that something in you challenges their own issues & that that's ok. To be able to disengage from the turmoil of upset or anger in a situation, to let it go & just send back love without getting roiled up in the scenario. Precious lessons.

Most of all the precious ability to now be able to choose to have in my life only those who bring balance & let me fly. True friends with give & take without agendas. The ability to be able to seperate acquaintance from real friendship & treasure those genuine relationships which enrich my life. Knowing that a handful of the real thing is more valuable than a crowd of those who drain you physically or emotionally. 

Those true friendships feel almost like family by choice. Each petal receives the love, appreciation & gratitude for each of these special friends, who are the glittering diamonds in life. I feel so lucky that so many beautiful people are in my life.

gratitude quotes-anita nowinska art blog

When we can't be together physically be there for each other in different ways

Probably the biggest issue for everyone throughout 2020 has been the seperation from those we love; friends, family, colleagues. Unable to visit each other or spend time doing the things which we always took for granted. The simplicity of a chat over a cup of tea, a spontaneous get together.

You know how we were always meaning to make that phone call, meaning to arrange that meet up but time just slips by as being so busy takes over?

The one thing I am grateful for to Corona is that in lockdown we have been learning how to be there for each other in different ways. As the hectic pace of life slowed down & we found ourselves at home, something amazing happened.

All of a sudden the time to be in touch appeared. I found myself having long meaningful phone calls, whatsapp facetimes & zoom calls. Instead of having to rush off to do the next thing, the time opened up to really talk authentically & share. Yes, I know it's not the same as chatting over a cuppa or sharing a hug, but something about the quality of those conversations has been marvelous & I'm grateful for them. Each moment of appreciation, each meaningful contact is swept into a petal with my paintbrush.

I also treasure that, for a time, people started caring for each other in more meaningful & supportive ways. Strangers chatting or offering help to people they never knew before.

Our sudden understanding of how much NHS workers do for us. Something I hope continues into the future. A petal receives the gratitude for human kindness & changing behaviours & for those who do difficult jobs without complaint.

Going into a second lockdown, I know that really making the effort to keep in touch is so vital. I'm grateful that we have access to technology which allows us to communicate.

Remembering that we can all do small, quiet things to help & support others, without any fanfare, makes all the difference. And in that there is another precious thing, that warm glow of good feeling you get when you know you have been of service, when you have selflessly done something for another. This too is added to a painted petal. 

Energy flows where the attention goes...

One petal curls in on itself, creating a soft curve of lilac shadows & a contrasting curve of sunlit brightness. I think about how you can only see the light because the darkness is there. Both are needed to create balance but which we focus on is up to us.

As I paint it, I send in deep appreciation that the balance of life is so valuable. Whenever there have been dark, desperate times in my life it has always turned out that they were there for a reason, to eventually take me to a better place. The good times being all the more precious for the contrast. I really value everything which has happened in my life, I embrace the troubles as the  opportunities for learning & growth, the signposts on paths to amazing new things, sometimes long potholed paths, but valuable for where they led.

I am so grateful that the harsher lessons made me stronger. The strength & confidence goes into a petal.

anita nowinska art-blog on gratitude

Flip the thoughts upside down

The other day, I sadly read someone's facebook post saying;

"I don't want to hear anyone say 'you should feel lucky that you are so much better off than others. I'm sick of hearing that , it doesn't make me feel any better!"

It made me think that the way we say something, or the way we hear it can make all the difference between it being something which gives up an uplift, or makes us feel worse.

It's not about feeling guilty that we have more than others. You can reframe the intention of the thought by looking at what you DO have in your life, focussing on each small positive element, rather than comparing it to others misfortune. The knowledge that all around the world there are people struggling in truly awful circumstance can make us just be more appreciative of what we have, more grateful for our blessings & maybe even more able to reach out to others to offer help.

So, we didn't get to go on holiday this year...big deal, I'm grateful that I have a life which allows for holidays at all! Think of wonderful the next holiday we have will be, we will love every second of it & see it's value so much more. Just turn the thought from the negative, to the positive.

For example; If I thought about & concentrated on my health, which can give me crippling chronic pain, I would probably be curled up in a ball & never get out of bed. Thinking about or focussing on something gives it energy, gives it power & our minds & bodies respond to that. Focussing on something gives it strength, so it's important  to be aware of what it is we are giving that energy to.

Instead I think about how wonderful it is that I can move around, walk, drive, breathe easily, paint. I can get around & do what I need to. Yes, that is focussing on what I can do which some other people cannot, so in a way saying that others are worse off but the attention is on the positive, on what I CAN DO . I may feel empathy for those with really debilitating illness, or without access to help but my energy goes into the thought of how lucky I actually am.

I have had times in my life when all I could think of for my daily gratitude practice was that the sun is shining & I'm not dead.. yes, we all have truly crappy days, but once I thought about the sun, I'd think about the trees, the garden, then the home, the food, before long my list which started with one thing, turns into dozens of things. It multiplies, gratitude multiplies & fills us with hope, with happiness, with potential.

Making it a positive decision to look at what I can do rather than feeling guilty or comparing myself to someone else is what changes how it reflects in my life. My doctor often asks me "How do you do it, just carry on like that when other patients are totally incapacitated?" The honest answer is that I refuse to allow my health to have power over me or stop me from doing things. By counting up all the things I can do, I feel stronger, fitter & the pain goes into a box at the back of my consciousness & isn't given the energy to take over. It's still there, like a background hum, but it's not what I focus on & it doesn't have the power to stop me.

big pale peach dahlia painting on canvas by Anita Nowinska

Gratitude Multiplied

The funny thing about gratitude, is that when you start consciously thinking about what you have to be thankful for, you can't stop. It suddenly goes from only being able to come up with a few things to a never ending list which just goes on. The longer it gets, the better you start to feel. Your energy rises & you want to do more things.

The petals of my Dahlia get larger as they radiate out in the flower, more open, more generous. The brush moves quickly, making confident marks, sweeping swathes of colour across the canvas. Oh, what a joy, this incredible gift to able to lose myself doing something I love so much. To be able to see & enjoy nature's colours. Wow, if I had nothing else, that alone would make me the happiest person alive.

I start channelling into the petals gratitude for the things I am able to do & enjoy. That I can make my living following my passion, that other people smile & feel good from my work. The utter joy of creativity. The pleasure in talking to people all around the world & sharing my art with them...their kind & generous feedback.

Oh.. yes. I'm grateful for the ability to be persistent, to work hard, to keep at things , even when it's not easy. To have ideas & creative thinking. Those things make me who I am & I cherish them greatly.

Once again, as the gratitude flows, it expands & multiplies & I'd need a whole bunch of Dahlias to express them all.

When you look at your own life... can you see how much you have, how much there is to be joyful about?

Rather than focussing on what you feel lockdown is taking away from you, think about the things you can achieve, the things you do have, the good things & remember that whatever is happening it is transitory, it won't last forever. My favourite thought when something is going on is 'This too will pass'. If you can just ease into the understanding that this situation will not last forever & focus on the things you can achieve in the meantime, it seems to pass quicker.

If we think about what one human life is worth we can put things into perspective. Truly, honestly, is it really so terrible that for one year we cannot go abroad on holiday, That we have o wear masks, that we can't go to every shop we would like to? Or is it that we are so lucky that we do have the option to such wonderful things in our life at all? 

The things that I may think are missing become irrelevant. giving them power by thinking or worrying about them becomes a senseless activity. Why feed that fire when we can feed the positive. One of my favourite anecdotes is the old native American tale about the two wolves. It expresses so clearly how our choices make us who we are & create what is present in our lives.

In the same way we can choose what to feed; The lack or negative or the gratitude for all that we treasure.

Seeing Lockdown as an opportunity

Yes, I know, this year has been frightening, damaging to the economy in many ways... BUT it is also full of opportunities if we choose to find them & opportunity is always something to be grateful for.

Having the time to think & focus on your life & what you do with it can be something amazing. So many people may lose their current job, which is devastating in the moment. However, as I said earlier, sometimes the rug is pulled out from beneath our feet so that we can place them on solid earth & move to a path which takes us to better things. Or looking at it another way, pull away the rug & you might just fly!

TIME! PRECIOUS TIME!

Think of all of the things you have always wished you had the time to do. The ideas, the projects, the research, the learning. NOW is the time to do them. Now is the time to look at possibilities. 

In the midst of all this, let's be grateful for TIME! Time to do all those things, time to maybe look at things which may take you to a new career or even your own business. Time creates creative thinking & ideas. The are so many ways in which we can work these days & reach out to people all around the world. This is YOUR TIME..

  • Go do the online course you've always wanted.
  • Teach yourself a new skill.
  • Think about how you've always wanted to change jobs, do something new. This is the time to get new training & look in a wider circle at what to do with the rest of your life.
  • Start doing the research of what you might need to move into a career which brings you more fulfillment. 
  • Write the business plan you never had time for.
  • Write that novel you've always dreamed of.
  • Make crazy videos about your ideas & share them with the world (How to make them was in teach yourself a skill..there is nothing you cannot learn on youtube!)
  • Learn to draw, paint, dance, make music, craft things, make jewelry... expand your mind & your skillset.
  • Make food to deliver to locals trapped at home ( I know a few young people who have turned that into a flourishing business during lockdown)
  • Bake bread.
  • Teach your dog new tricks.
  • Talk to those you love.
  • Do the DIY that never got finished.
  • Read the books you always wanted to read.
  • Get the rest you've always needed for so long.
  • Clear out your home, get rid of the clutter & make it beautiful.

I am SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL for the time we have been given to slow down, to think, to plan, to have ideas because lockdown has made the pace of life slower.

That petal got painted slower, no rush, all the time in the world to consider how wonderful it is to have time.

Then add on top of that the gratitude that I live in a country where I have access to all this stuff. Access to technology, to learning, to opportunity.

painting a big dahlia oil on canvas- anita nowinska

Be grateful for boredom

Huh? yes, you read it right, boredom. How wonderful it is to have the time to be bored. Because boredom is the path to wonderful ideas. It's when we give in to boredom that our minds click into new ways of thinking & start generating new ideas.

As an example, my teenage son was SO bored during the last lockdown. Whatever I suggested he do was just the wrong thing to say, so I just told him to give in to being bored. He looked at me as if I was mad, then slumped onto him bed with a huff. "Don't fight it", I said, "just be bored".

Boredom took him to random youtube videos about other teenagers who like some of the online games etc he likes. But he got bored of watching them.

He then got very bored of not having money for things he wanted, like a new gaming pc. Boredom led him to building one for himself (yup from youtube videos). 

Then boredom got him to see that these guys on the internet loved creative things to ad to their rooms & technical setups. Which then led him to discovering resin, making incredible miniature sculptures & putting them inside custom made space bars & keycaps for these gamer guys, making glowing wolves heads which sit inside their pc boxes, multi-coloured resin wrist rests for keyboards... which led him to teaching himself to build a website... which led to lots more people ordering his products...which led to him earning money... which led to rebuilding his bedroom & creating a really cool interior design scheme he then put together himself.... which led to people seeing his designs were amazing & asking him to design theirs.

So, I am talking about a 14 year old. I think that was 3 potential careers in the space of a few weeks. All from being bored. My friends boy stated baking sourdough bread & delivering it in his village...another little business off the ground. Boredom is a wonderful thing!

If a 14 year can do all that when he is bored of being at home during lockdown... what might you, me or anyone be able to come up with if we feel grateful for being bored instead of ranting against it?

dahlia petals from big flower painting by anita nowinska

LIFE, Just be grateful for Life

The big, loose outside petals of the dahlia needed some more global gratitude as they burst out like sun rays onto a soft green background.

The first lockdown made me grateful for human kindness as people went out of their way to make a difference in small ways. It made me grateful for the silence, the rest that Nature got from our human business, the time to recover in a small way. The dolphins swimming in the clear canals of Venice, the deer walking down a city road in Paris. The wild boar & her piglets running joyfully around a park in Haifa. The increase in bees & butterflies because the air was cleaner. The clearing of the air as smog disappeared while we stayed at home. The gratitude that maybe enough people saw in this time how quickly Nature can recover if we give it the space to do so. I'm grateful that even a hanful of people change the way they live, this planet might have half a chance.

If we can broaden our thoughts onto a more global level, we can open our eyes to what we have to be grateful for. This is not just us struggling. This is a global problem. In that global perspective we can start to see how grateful we can be for the infrastructure we live in; the NHS, the care, the income support ( maybe minimal for some of us, but we can still live, keep our home, feed our family). We really do have a lot available to stay well. We may be frustrated with the government, the mistakes etc but the truth of the bigger picture is that as countries go we are amongst those who can get through this. Put it this way, I'd much rather be stuck at home in lockdown here than in a shanty town in Brazil or India.

Over the following days the news started back with the daily statistics of Covid infections & more worryingly covid deaths. All of a sudden we were hearing about people we know dying. The thing which struck me above all else was that the higher the numbers rose, the more blasse & offhand the Ministers comments became. Just throwing out numbers & graphs like they meant nothing.

My mind had such a strong reaction & I suddenly considered the true meaning of life, of each life, every life, every unique human being who was being lumped into a bunch of statistics.

So, what is the value on one human life? Whether it be an elderly person, a parent, a child, a friend, a work colleague, a random stranger who smiled at you yesterday & made you feel good, one life thousands of miles away who happens to post the most beautiful photography on your instagram feed which inspires you every day. One life of the guy who held the door open in the shop as you came out, or the chap who saw you struggling with shopping & helped you load your car. One life of a nurse who had cared for & soothed so many sick, one doctor who has saved many lives. One delivery driver who every time made the effort to say a few cheery words on the doorstep. One single life.

Like the petals of my dahlia one life radiates outwards into many elements. One solitary life can touch so many people.

I always think of every tiny thing a person does is like a droplet of water in a still pond, it sends out ripples which radiate outwards & touch so many. 

What is the cost to the family of that person? To their children? How many smiles did that person give out & touch others with in their lifetime? The cost of every single life lost has phenomenal impact on so many people. It is so precious, so valuable so much to be grateful for.

So, what I am trying to say is that life is the most precious thing. Every good or kind action in life is a precious thing. Let's really, truly be grateful for life.

If all those individual tiny actions, gestures as well as the bigger things, the achievements the relationships, the love are so very, very precious then we need to be grateful for every one of them.

Yes, we are going back into lockdown. I understand, it is hard for so many. What I would like to ask of every single one of you though is that in this time, this time when we are all equal, all living with similar fears, that you be the thing which others are grateful for.

See all you have, all that is possible & nurture that gratitude close to your heart but also in tiny ways, little ways, bigger ways think of the things that you can do which make others grateful that you are in this world. Things which don't need thanks or fanfare. Just lots of thoughtful, generous things which make a difference to someone else. Give them something to be grateful for & be grateful that you are lucky enough to be able to give that to someone.

The way we get through hardship, through difficult times like this is with gratitude & with kindness.

big peach dahlia flower painting by anita nowinska

 

 

 

 

If you would like to see more of 'Precious' or to purchase the original canvas or Limited edition print please just click on the image above.


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