After my last post, I thought I would upload the rest of the fairies I’ve been sharing on social media so that they have a more permanent home over here.
They’re all qualities and things I have been thinking about bringing into my life the beginning of 2017, when things in the wider world have been feeling a bit less than magical…
⭐️The Adventure Fairy⭐️
Pack your bag. Just a small one. Travelling light is the best way to go. Follow your heart and open your eyes to all the magical sights the world has to show you. This fairy calls you to take a new path, both close to home by being a tourist in your familiar haunts and by wondering far and wide. Get a little dusty. Try something new. Engage your senses and reinvigorate yourself….
⭐️The Solace in Grief Fairy⭐️
When you are heartbroken, numb, grieving. When you are in shock. This small and gentle fairy brings comfort through moments of sleep, the kindness of others, the beauty of nature. She cannot interfere with the process of grief, but she can soften and ease, inspire you to ask for help and bring people to your door unbidden. Her heart hurts with yours. You are never alone. She holds the knowledge that you can survive with your scars, even when you forget. She holds the magic of the life-death-life cycle and asks you to remember that there nothing ends; but everything changes…
⭐️The Hard Work Fairy⭐️
Sometimes you need a bit of grrrrr. Sometimes you just need to graft. Get stuff done. This amiable fairy thrives on sleeves-rolled-up vibes. He’s at your side whenever you slog or sweat, doing it cheerfully with a glint in his eye for he loves to earn his rest. He loves to get muddy so he can get clean. Sweaty so he can sip a cold cider that’s all the sweeter. He brings strength and resolve when you have to dig deep…
⭐️The Sleep Fairy⭐️
Oh how I miss this fairy. She can be elusive, especially for parents of young people. She can also fly away in times of stress or upheaval. But. She *can* be tempted back. She loves ritual, hates caffeine. She likes meditation and mindfulness, and of course exercise. She asks if you have checked your sleep hygiene before you wonder where she has gone… She wants your brain and heart to be quiet so that she can make her home there. And if you are a parent… she hopes to see you again soon, in the moments you can steal to let her in…and on that note, I must go to bed…
⭐️The Warm Water Fairy⭐️
Hot water is magic, you know that right? This mini mermaid haunts natural sources like hot springs but she can be found anywhere there’s a hot tap. She has lazed in Roman baths and Icelandic lagoons. She is drawn to the power of warm water to cleanse, restore, heal and invigorate. Those of us lucky enough to have boilers, showers, sinks and bathtubs experience her magic regularly. She also loves human ingenuity-solar showers, old fashioned fire and steam, any creative solution to summon her magic. Guardian of copper pipes and thermostats. Make sure your plumber treats her with respect…
⭐️Small Celebration Fairies⭐️
Sometimes you need a fanfare to accompany something that may seem little to others but is in fact a huge thing. It could be getting out of bed today, having a shower, achieving something despite a phobia or anxiety making your heart race. Sometimes the seemingly easy, everyday things are hard, hard work. These small but powerful fairies get it. They see your awesomeness. They squeak with joy, throw confetti, shake pom-poms and blow trumpets. They give tiny high fives. Go you. You rock.
⭐️The Naive Optimism Fairy⭐️
This little guy has been hovering around my sketchbook for a few days before I realised who he was. He’s actually been pretty much a lifelong companion of mine… the voice that says: try it, it will be ok, why not do something new? And I’ve had all sorts of adventures with him at my side and his voice in my ear. Life would be tidier, less chaotic, and a whole lot more boring without this little fairy. I promise to keep listening.
⭐️The Witness Fairy⭐️
This super cool character has a number of names from different spiritual and psychological practises that aim to entice him in. He is very helpful to call on when The Mirror Fairy is playing tricks on you. He helps you to take that all important step back, to see and notice your thoughts and feeling as they arrive and ideally before you act on them. Friendly and helpful, he can be evasive, but so worth courting and looking for again. He calls on you to put on your own fairy wings and be your own witness fairy.
⭐️The Impermanence Fairy⭐️
Oh this fairy can seem cruel sometimes. And then kind at others. Really tho, she is neither…she just *is*. 🌸Queen of ‘this too shall pass.’ Cherry blossom goddess. She is the beauty in both birth and decay. The wondrous newness of spring and the rich beautiful mutability of autumn. If we can bear to listen, her message is that everything changes, but nothing ends. It’s just change. Don’t hold on too tightly, but love the things in your world while you have them.
⭐️The Get Up & Do It Fairy⭐️
Sometimes you just need someone to poke you with a stick and tell you to pull your socks up. And he has spectacular long luxurious socks. Lover of To Do Lists and Important Jobs. He knows when you are procrastinating. Strangely enough, he is good friends with the Sleep Fairy, for although he is often the one to rouse you to get to work in the morning, he can also help you do The One Important Thing that is playing on your mind so that, afterwards, you can sleep. He may seem a little cruel at times, but this spiky fairy has your best interests at heart…
⭐️The Sleep Deprivation Fairy⭐️
Unlike the other fairies, this sketchy being isn’t one you really invite into your life (although sometimes she turns up as part of the fun after an amazing party or night of dancing)…she more just kind of…appears. Bleary eyed she blinks from her owl mug. And she doesn’t really do much, other than keep you company when the sleep fairy has abandoned you. She might be at your side on a long dark night of soul searching, or sit with you in a too early morning and recommend more tea/coffee. She is definitely responsible for that slightly spaced out feeling during daylight hours when you haven’t slept… She and I are firm friends right now due to a teething little boy, and every so often she pats me on the shoulder and tells me it’ll be ok…
⭐️The Go Slow Fairy⭐️
Sometimes you need to move fast, and sometimes you really don’t, or can’t, and that’s ok. This fairy and her companion remind us that Slow and Steady can win the race, but often there is no race and we can just calm down and do things at our own pace. Patron of the Slow Food movement. Savourer of tastes and experiences. Owner of her own destiny. You can’t rush this one…
⭐️The Magical Snapshot Fairy⭐️
I was sitting in the car in the drive waiting for the baby to wake up when I spotted this really lovely branch with illuminated leaves catching the setting sun behind them. I grabbed my sketchbook but couldn’t do them justice. But later I realised this fairy was dancing around them, and he dances around all sorts of small beautiful moments during our days, catching our attention and encouraging us to notice. Sometimes this can be at the strangest of moments, when we are busy or bored, or even when we are unbelievably sad or stressed or struggling. He sparkles in the corner of our vision and helps us capture a snapshot of loveliness.
⭐️The Resist Fairy⭐️
2017 on the micro scale has been overtaken by that pesky sleep deprivation fairy. She makes it hard to focus on other fairies, the bigger picture or anything other than getting through the day. On the macro scale tho, 2017 seems to need a lot of this. Resistance. Protest. Challenge. So I’m pondering what I can do to help #bethechange. And I might need to focus on the micro right now, but I’m sure there are things I can do to make a difference.
On a slightly cloudy day yesterday, I headed back into into Tokyo from Nikkō on my second cherry blossom hunt. I had all sorts of plans and a list of places to find, starting in Shinjuku. This is one of the more built up, crazy busy areas of the city – the kind of Lost in Translation/Blade Runner type bit – all huge buildings and neon signs. There are (allegedly) some parks and places for sakura spotting there but… I got spectacularly lost around (and at one point IN) the huge station (yeah, I know, don’t laugh…). I asked directions a few times, and some very sweet people stopped to help me when they saw my puzzled face and massive map…. Bless them all, it was to no avail and after a couple of hours of feeling like a bit of an idiot, I surrendered.
As I plodded about, I’d been thinking about what I really wanted from my cherry blossom spotting – having been to the very busy Ueno park on my first mission, I suspected that opportunities to actually sit on my own under a cherry tree and contemplate the blossom would be few and far between at the big parks on my list.
On the train on the way in, I had caught glimpses of smaller parks and streets where there were loads of trees and less people. Places that weren’t official hanami (cherry blossom watching) spots, but looked really appealing. I decided to head back towards Asakusa and a place I’d seen from the train.
I had to change at Ueno anyway, so on my way back I braved the crowds and headed for the park again. I’m so pleased I did – it started to gently rain and the combination of multicoloured umbrellas, pink cherry blossom, falling petals and grey skies was completely hypnotic…
After taking far too many photos, I got back to Asakusa and crossed the river to find a quiet little park to sit under a bench under the trees. It was magical, peaceful and just really lovely. One of the bridges across the river takes you over at cherry tree height, and it’s a great view.
My illustrations and sketches are never really about just physically representing things (that’s what photos are for), but even bearing that in mind, I’m struggling to do any kind of justice to these beautiful trees. Instead I’ve been focussing a bit on how they make me feel…
Well, it all happened rather last minute, but I am currently in Japan! I had been looking for a while at getting out here on a cherry blossom spotting trip. I should have read these 10 Rookie Mistakes to avoid earlier – leaving it until the last minute isn’t all that easy. Having kept an eye on forecasts and things to make sure that I went at the right time for the blossom before booking anything meant that nearly the whole of Japan was full on the dates I wanted to go. The only option at one point looked like the Ritz in Osaka for £1,000 a night…so, er….not an option then.
However, I was lucky enough to find space in a hotel in Nikkō, to the north of Tokyo last week and here I am.
Nikkō is really interesting. Home to a complex of Buddhist and Shinto shrines, it’s in the foothills of the mountains and the forested slopes remind me so much of scenes from anime films like My Neighbour Tortoro and Wolf Children. It’s breathtaking and very inspiring.
The cherry blossom is in full bloom in Tokyo at the moment (it will be a bit later here in Nikkō), and I got the train in yesterday to explore. There were signalling problems which meant this was much more of an epic mission than it should have been – 4 hours journey in and 5 hours back, rather than the 2ish it normally is. Nevertheless, it was awesome and exciting and I can’t wait to go on the hunt for more sakura while I’m here.
I started in Ueno park, which was SO crowded! It was rather wonderful though to see so many people just out to look at beautiful trees… Then I headed to the Sensō-ji temple at Asakusa, which was much quieter, and finished up at the river at Sumida Park with a view of the trees and the super tall Tokyo Skytree building opposite (appropriately illuminated in pretty pink).
The effects of jetlag are proving rather useful for creativity… It feels a bit like I’m having a wonderful dream…and am doodling lots of ideas and scenes as I go…