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by Yvonne Leung February 06, 2020

wooden journal with laser-cut botanical design

These last few weeks on Instagram, we've shared our inspiration behind our Plant Good Thoughts Collection. We wanted to share here too! Here's what inspired Yvonne, Hereafter's founder, in creating this campaign and why this practice is a guiding philosophy for us: 

What does this saying mean to you?

Everything! On an outer level, we have our actions, what we do in the world. That's what people see.

On a slightly more subtle level, we have our words. What we say also matters.

But on the finest level, we have our thoughts. When the proper conditions come together, our thoughts manifest in our speech and our actions -- so while they may seem and feel secret to you, they do end up coming to life in some way. It all begins with our thoughts. 

That's not to say that you are your thoughts. We are so much more than that...especially given how discursive our thoughts can be...but to me, planting good thoughts is about nurturing the thoughts, beliefs, practices that you know to be positive and true. It's a continual practice.

When did you first encounter this idea or start thinking about it?

I don't know how I'd describe myself, but some used to call me a go-getter. I think I've changed a lot, however, as a "go-getter' adult, I had always been seeking "happiness." In any case, adult life has helped me learn that much of what I was chasing actually seemed to bring about more suffering and less peace.

So, I began my "seeking" phase. A couple years ago, I stumbled upon the teachings of a Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. I read one of his books (on anger) and it resonated so deeply that I ended up reading many of his books. In many of them, he talks about how we -- our mind & consciousness -- has every seed. Seeds of anger, seeds of joy, depression, peace, understanding. What grows is what we "water" or in a more literal sense, what we practice, either out of habit or choice. The quality of your life depends on the seeds you water.

How does Planting Good Thoughts look day to day? 

This is interesting. I kind of feel like everything starts with being aware, being open, and being gentle. How do different people get to that state? [It's a personal pursuit.]

How do you see this practice/intentionality against the backdrop of society? 

The world and society can feel like it's in a constant state of turmoil. But it's really hopeful if you know that you are a part of your society and the world...and that what you do and what you think radiates out and it matters.

I think it's human nature to want to change our environment, our loved ones, our enemies...but other people are really beyond our control. There is an inscription on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in England:

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.

But it, too, seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family.

From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.

If you want to change the world, you must change yourself first.

What’s your favorite way/s to Plant Good Thoughts?

For me, meditation is grounding, and I feel grateful to have it in my life. 

Studying is another [practice]. Luckily for us, we've had some very wise and accomplished human beings / traditions on Plant Earth. Learning from those traditions has definitely helped shaped my understanding of what is important and how I'd like to spend my time.

And surfing and being in touch with my body helps me get in sync with nature and the world in a way that much of my daily life does not. And it's so fun! 

plant good thoughts collection of wooden laser-cut journals with botanical & nature designs

Our Plant Good Thoughts Collection

This collection is inspired by the practice of Planting Good Thoughts daily. We worked with guest designer Flávia, of Flattering Design, to create a series of journals that are the perfect place to house your reflections, goals, and dreams. Let us know which designs are your favorites! 

You can also enjoy Yvonne's interview in video format in our Instagram Highlights.