Artist Sasha Tugolukova on Gratitude
Sasha Tugolukova is a London based designer and illustrator creating unique and collectable ceramic pieces, inspired by a great curiosity and love for nature and its forms. Her art is also featured in our printed This Grateful Now Journal. She kindly took some time to tell us about her way of finding gratitude and balance in the often hectic times of being a self-employed creative in London.
Hi Sasha. Thank you so much for taking your time to give us an insight into your way of conscious living. Just to dive straight into the topic – What does gratitude mean to you?
It is an attitude of appreciation and thankfulness for all the big and small things in my life. It means reminding myself that even in the hardest, lowest moments I have something, plenty to be thankful for. Gratitude is an active choice towards abundance and I don’t just mean material ‘stuff’ but overall feeling of having enough. To be grateful is to be and have enough (and enough is a lot).
How do you implement gratitude into your daily life and does it have an impact on your wellbeing?
I used to have an app on my phone reminding me to be grateful (i know it sounds totally ridiculous but I actually had to be reminded of that!!) Now it is a part of my morning meditation practice and it only takes a couple of minutes but the after effects last for hours. I am relaxed and gentle with myself about it though. I don’t believe in the theory of forcing myself to find something to be thankful for. I just accept that today it is harder to be grateful but “I am willing to see it differently – Thank you Universe!”… Usually afterwards I am put in front of a gazillion things I can be grateful for.
Speaking of the harder days – Is it difficult to keep a balanced and mindful way of living in the hustle and bustle of London life?
Yes and no. The constant stream of thoughts and inner chatters multiplied by world news, screens, gadgets, social media and to-do lists was a call for mindful living for me. I think having a meditation practice saved me a lot of stress and anxieties. It was not a smooth and easy ride to my meditation mat though. Like with anything, meditation and active gratitude practice takes time, diligence and discipline but the rewards are immeasurable. It all goes down to an individual choice of either fighting the stream or going along and observing it. And when you get that, the hustle and bustle becomes but a screen that you are watching.
Are there any other activities that keep you centred and well?
I think any form of creative self expression brings us to a state of still and wellbeing. Drawing keeps me in total Zen mode. Unfortunately I do not get to my drawing table every day as there is more and more admin stuff that needs to be dealt with, but when I do I am in a total gratitude mood and overall peace. I pinch myself just to remind myself how bloody lucky I am. I have also got myself into Reiki lately which is a totally incredible practice and it deserves a conversation of its own.
Talking drawing… which is a main part of your designs – does your mindful practice reflect in your work in any way?
I am not sure if mindfulness reflects in my work, but I do believe that I am a better artist for it. Since my newly found awareness of the world an my place within it, I can create things without being too attached to an outcome or worry whether I am doing the right thing and if people are going to like it (basically all those worries that take away the joy from being an artist). Being more present strips down the act of creating to its primary purpose – simply creating. And gratitude (i will repeat myself) just brings me back to a humble state of appreciation and acknowledgment that I am able do to what I love.
Last but not least, what else are you grateful for?
It is interesting to notice that with practice my sense of gratitude has expanded beyond my personal life (like being grateful for my family, friends, health, nice meal etc.) and opens up to the appreciation of life on a broader level. Lately I have been particularly appreciative of the country and city I live in, of my birth right to vote and to choose, to move around and express my opinions freely. I’ve been taking these things for granted and now I’m learning to appreciate and cherish my rights and freedoms. On a lighthearted note: I was overfilled with gratitude this morning while sitting at Regent’s Canal, watching the ducks and sipping on my flat white. Bliss!
Thank you, Sasha! We’re super grateful to have you here with us!