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  • JaneM

Rose, Bud, Thorn



We all know it’s good to talk and, more importantly, feel heard. So, I run fairly regular conversation groups for women in my capacity as a Wellbeing Coach. The way they work is I set a topic or theme, we settle down with a cuppa and we sit together in the understanding that our sharings in the group will be heard respectfully, in confidence and without judgement.


I don’t ever publicly share anything specific we’ve talked about, but I do think it’s helpful to share some of the themes or exercises I’ve used so that anyone can benefit from trying them or exploring them outwith the group sessions.


Last night I used an exercise called ‘Rose, Bud, Thorn’ as our theme. I first heard of it from my daughter as it was something she’d enjoyed during one of her regular Sandbox meet-ups.


The concept is pretty simple and you can use it yourself (by jotting things down in a notebook or journal each day or week, or as part of a mindfulness meditation, or in conversation with your partner) or in a group (such as round the dinner table, with a group of friends, or during a Wellbeing Conversation Session!)


‘Rose’ represents something that brought you joy today (or is bringing you joy in general at the moment). Something that brought you peace or pleasure. It doesn’t have to be something big. It could be seeing a lovely sunset, reading a good book, finishing something you’ve been procrastinating over, a hug, walking your dog, spending time with a good friend, a mug of hot tea, a promotion, having an exciting new idea or an idea coming to fruition. Something joyful for you to acknowledge, savour and appreciate.


‘Bud’ represents something that’s yet to come. Something you’re anticipating with maybe excitement or pleasure. Something you hope will bring you joy. It could be big or small — applying for a job that you really want, an upcoming family wedding, a lunch date with an old friend, a weekend with nothing to do but potter in the garden, a holiday, the next step in the implementation of an exciting new idea. (Sometimes there’s a fuzzy line between bud and rose..!) Something good that’s still to come for you to acknowledge, savour and appreciate.


‘Thorn’ represents something that’s causing you discomfort, sorrow, frustration. Something that’s brought you suffering or set you back. It could be anything from your computer crashing, being ill, losing your car keys, being late for a meeting, a fallout with a friend, failing an interview, a disconnect with a family member, the loss of someone you love. Grief, discomfort and setbacks are inevitable in our lives — what this exercise challenges you to do is recognise the thorns and acknowledge them. Ignoring how they make you feel or putting them in a box every day might not be helpful. Recognising them for what they are can help you see more clearly that different thorns demand different amounts of our time and energy — and being more aware of that can help us with the choices we make in how we react and respond.


The premise is that if you make ‘Rose, Bud, Thorn’ a regular practice you’ll have a better awareness of, and appreciate more, some of the things in your life (especially things that might’ve seemed small and insignificant, maybe even unnoticed before) that make you feel good, content and happy. You’ll also hopefully find it easier to let go of some of the small frustrations and recognise the fleeting nature of events in our lives. Small thorns aren’t worth spoiling your entire day over, and you might even start to sit better with the bigger ones.


Do give it a go and let me know how you get on— like most things, it’ll become easier and more beneficial with practice. So, you could maybe set yourself a goal of writing down your ‘Roses, Buds and Thorns’ each evening for a week — and hopefully you’ll feel like it was blooming worth it…

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