Photo by Massimiliano Morosinotto on Unsplash

Watchet, Somerset, UK, 7th April 2020 23:09

The Easter holiday has started and with that has come a slowing of life’s pace. It is fair to say that my life has been quite manic and intense of late and I am really welcoming a break from teaching (if not from marking and counselling).

I have more time to reflect and connect with the present moment. This is often described as being mindful, or the art of practising mindfulness.

What is mindfulness? It is, quite simply, full conscious awareness. 

It is paying full conscious attention to whatever thoughts, feelings and emotions are flowing through your mind, body and breath without judging or criticising them in any way. 

It is being fully aware of whatever is happening in the present moment without being trapped in the past or worrying about the future. 

It is living in the moment not for the moment.

Mindfulness can also be understood by what it is not. 

It is not a religion. Nor is it inherently mystical or spiritual.

It is simply a tool for reconnecting with life, for embracing the ebb and flow of the world, and for coming to a greater understanding and acceptance of life’s eternal flux.

Another misconception is that mindfulness is in some way ‘opting out’ or detaching yourself from the world. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

It’s actually about connecting and embracing life with all its chaotic beauty, with all of your faults and failings.

I believe that mindfulness practice can be a useful tool in the current situation. The future is uncertain and we are remembering the past as a more stable time. I don’t think I have ever before experienced nostalgia for what life was like a month before. It is very difficult to remain present when the foundations which hold our world together feel shaky.

But it is an opportunity to fully experience the moment as it is. We can choose to approach our day differently and connect more with the world and people around us.

You all probably think that I am talking about sitting cross legged in a room full of incense, with New Age music and crystals. Nothing can be further from the truth.

What I am talking about is everyday living but through a mindful filter.

Start with the beginning of your day. Notice the light coming through your windows and pay attention to the shadows and shapes it creates. Go and have a drink of tea or coffee and allow yourself to experience that drink as if it was the first time that you had it. Notice its flavour, its effect on you. Think about what it took for that bean of coffee or leaf of tea to end up in your mug. The sun, the soil, the people who farmed it and processed it. Connect with all of that. And you can do this with all the drinks and food you have every day. Normally I eat and drink fast, it is just fuel to keep me going. But when I eat and drink mindfully, it adds an extra dimension to what I normally see as a mundane experience.

Have a bath or a shower and allow yourself to feel the experience rather than think about your daily schedule.

If you go for your daily exercise, take it one step at a time, connect with the ground and the Earth and its energy. Don’t think about what you need to do next or what you did yesterday, just be with your body and your mind and your spirit in the moment.

You can do this in every activity of your life, whether is dancing, knitting, painting, even extreme ironing.

You can do this if you choose to. I am not going to pretend that I am some kind of Zen master who does this all the time. I am usually very distracted by my mobile phone, by my schedule and by the incessant chatter of my mind and of modern life. But I know that I can stop and listen to my internal rhythms and changed from the usual hectic Drum and Bass of my thoughts to a steady and pulsating primal beat. When I choose to do that, I feel calmer, more grounded and present and better equipped to deal with life.

I invite you to practice this for 10 minutes. If it’s not for you, that’s cool. But if you can make it work, it can enhance your quality of life.

Good night all

OneLove OneHeart

Tonight’s choice of music is by Fatboy Slim: Right Here, Right Now

World-wide confirmed cases: 1,414,738

World-wide deaths: 81,259

World-wide recovered: 298,642

UK confirmed cases: 55,946

UK deaths: 6,159

UK recovered: 325


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