The beauty of mindfulness

Thank you to Gems of Delight for sharing this breathtaking video.

To me this video truly captures the sheer beauty and exquisiteness of mindfulness.

More than words ever could.

There is absolutely no doubting that the nurse is giving 100% of her mindfulness, attention, love and tenderness to this baby.  And the act of giving the baby it’s first bath.

And even though it’s a newborn, it’s equally obvious that the baby is aware of this complete mindfulness.  And that it is loved and safe.

Imagine if we all gave such mindfulness to every one of our interactions.  Regardless of the person.

If we allowed ourselves to be that open and present.

If we treated each person as respectfully and tenderly as the nurse treated this baby.

It would change the world.

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Everyday Wisdom #29

What do you really want?

Today spend some time looking within.

This is best done after your meditation practice.

Or at least after sitting quietly for a moment, and concentrating on your breathing until you feel relaxed and calm.

Then, ask yourself these questions:

 

What do I most desire?

What is stopping me from fulfilling my desires?

 

Life can often get so busy that we don’t stop to think about what we really want out of life, and what’s stopping us from achieving our dreams.

 

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Where are you?

If you are still talking about what you did yesterday, you haven’t done much today. 
~Author Unknown

 

Are you living here and now?  

Or there and then?

And there and then can seem very important.  To examine the events of the past.

One of the challenges though that arises from existing in “there and then” is that you become out of sync with your body.  Yoru body is always “here and now”.

The ultimate goal is to have the body and mind working together in harmony, to be anchored in the present momet.

This is the goal of mindfulness practice.

By being in the present moment, we can tap into our feelings, emotions, our intentions.  We are truly here.

And the word itself “here” is very powerful.  

It can be used as a label.

It is a reminder to be here, here with this experience, here with what is happening now.

And we can ask ourselves:

What is here?

And by concentrating on this question, we arrive back in the present.

How is it for you to be here?

What are you aware of?

By being anchored in the present moment (here), being open and willing to experience what is happening, it is a profoundly respectful thing to do – for ourselves and for others.  

It’s an expression of respect, of valuing yourself.

 

Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today. 
~Cherokee Indian Proverb

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Don’t miss this wonderful blog post.

Zen Warrior

Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry water.  After enlightenment chop wood, carry water.

Zen Proverb

A common misconception in following a spiritual life is the belief that in order to follow the practice that one must live in a cave, wear a saffron robe and beg for alms. This picture of a monk with a shaved head living in the mountains leads one to believe a spiritual practice is not possible unless one practices asceticism.  This commitment level and practice is too much for some so they refrain completely from practicing a spiritual life.  This all or nothing mentality creates a missing in a person’s life.  It IS possible to have a spiritual existence without a shaved head and bamboo cup.  Many masters  in India as well as spiritual practitioners across the globe live a regular life with a family, and a job.   How is such a life possible?

The essence of living…

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Everyday Wisdom #28

In sickness and in health

For most of today I was the sickest I have ever been.  Through either food poisoning, or a virus.  All I know was that it was very challenging.

I’m so grateful though to have the support of a wonderful neighbourhood of people around me.

One family took my 6yo boy and looked after him for the day.

Another brought me drugs so that I could finally progress from the bathroom into my bed.

I can’t even put into words how grateful I am to each and every one of them.

They are truly my family ♥

I am also very thankful for the experience of actually being sick.  It was a great opportunity to be mindful of my automatic reactions to the illness.

And to note my feelings of distress at how sick I was.  And my feelings of panic and anxiety.

I was even amused to note my thought patterns.  Which were along the line of “this is a catastrophe!  I knew that I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up and felt happiness.  I’ll never be happy again”.

Can anyone say drama queen??!

Buddhism urges us to awaken to the fact that illness is not something permanent in life- it is a temporary phenomenon.  When we fall ill, we tend to see the current sickness as the only thing that matters and therefore it can be a foreboding obstacle separating us from happiness.

Some people who are ill may even lose the will to live out their existence joyfully.

However, when we realize that becoming ill is a natural part of our lives -and that it can be an opportunity to build an even more solid foundation of happiness in ourselves – then, we can tap the courageous spirit to face the illness and battle it.

And as pale sickness does invade, Your frailer part, the breaches made, In that fair lodging still more clear, Make the bright guest, your soul, appear.
Edmund Waller

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The colour run

I absolutely ADORE this! It gave me goosebumps watching it 🙂

Everyday Wisdom #27

Don’t be afraid to speak out

Today’s post is dedicated to my dear friend, who revealed to me today the extent of the problem she is facing with depression since the birth of her second child.

I am very open about my struggles with depression and anxiety.  And she knew that she could talk to me and I would understand.

I don’t think that can really be overestimated – the importance of being open about our struggles and challenges.

And I don’t mean telling everyone who will stand still long enough.  

But more being willing to discuss it, and open, if the topic arises.

Sometimes you may find that people are not interested.  Or not comfortable talking about it – or listening to your story.

But sometimes you just might find you can make a difference to someone else.

Someone who is going through the same thing and just needs to talk to someone who understands.

And by talking openly – about matters such as depression and anxiety – it normalizes the experience.

Others know that it is nothing to be ashamed of.  That they have not failed in some way.  And that they too can get through it.

Talking openly promotes understanding, tolerance and hope ♥

 

Depression is not sobbing and crying and giving vent, it is plain and simple reduction of feeling.
People who keep stiff upper lips find that it’s damn hard to smile.
~ Judith Guest 

Inspire 'til You Expire

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house,

empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

Because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

-Rumi, The Guest House 

Our minds are like a complex compound occupied with transient guests coming and going. All guests have varying intentions with various triggers with which they unpack into our psyche. As they come and go, shifting through the halls of our mind weaving feelings of love and fear, it is our choice if we are vacant or…

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Reflections

I recently developed a habit of daily reflection.

 

Reflection on my life, and my practice – and the direction it is heading in.  

Reflection of the events of the day, and what I would do differently if I could do it over again.

Reflection of my friendships and relationships, and areas where I could improve.

 

I try to use it as a learning tool.  To help me to improve myself – to grow and gain wisdom.

I have learnt:

  • Reflection helps us learn from our mistakes.  Otherwise we are destined to repeat them over and over again.  
  • With reflection we can more clearly see all the things that are going right in our lives.  And really enjoy and appreciate those things – instead of letting them slip by unnoticed and uncelebrated.
  • Reflection helps us to gain perspective.  That what we are stressing about is really not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.  Will we remember it when we are 90?  If not, then it’s not worth stressing over.
  • It assists us to keep an eye on our faults and hindrances and to keep them in check

Make time to reflect on your life – at least once per day.  

This can be done whilst exercising – walking or running.

Or as part of writing in a journal at the end of the day.  The added benefit to writing in a journal is that it records a personal learning journey, tracking and documenting an evolving understanding and wisdom.

If you are facing a difficult situation or event in your life, it can be helpful to consider the following:

  • Describe the situation as objectively as possible (write it down)
  • What are the assumptions that you are operating with?
  • Is there another way to see this situation?
  • What could you do differently?
  • What can you do to create a change?
 
 
By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
Second, by imitation, which is easiest;
and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
Confucius

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Everyday Wisdom #26

Follow the light

In yogic thought, the energy centre situated around the breastbone relates to the ability to accept and extend love and compassion.  It is also associated with understanding, empathy and forgiveness.

This area is known as the “heart chakra”.

It is located behind the breastbone in front of the spine between the shoulder blades.

 

Practice:

Today, sit quietly, and focus your attention on this area of your body.  Visualize an emerald green light, radiating out from the center of your heart into the rest of your body.

Take a deep breath as this beautiful green light fills your inner being with energy of good health, prosperity and joy.

 

Thank you

To every single one of my followers, and everyone who has commented on, and ‘liked’ my posts….

Thank you

Thank you for reading.

Thank you for your support, for sharing your love and wisdom and encouragement with me.

Thank you for helping spread the message of kindness, love and positivity.

Thank you for making the world a better place.

Big hugs to each and every one of you.

Meg xx

 

Friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life

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Tea and comfort

Today I spent time reflecting on all the simple things in life that bring me comfort.

Sometimes we all have days where we need comforting.

And although it is wonderful to be able to reach out to our partners, our family and friends, that is not always so practical.

It occurred to me this morning that it’s been months since I’ve had a really lovely big hug.  I’m in a position though where they are not that easy to come by.

It was a great opportunity though to appreciate the MANY things in my life that do bring me comfort.

Such as:

  • Laughing with my son
  • Time spent with friends
  • Beautiful music
  • Wearing my favourite perfume
  • The feel of sunshine on my skin on a cold day
  • Sinking into a warm bed after a long day

and perhaps my favourite:

  • a hot cup of tea

 

If we always search externally, and look to others to satisfy our needs, we will never be happy.

If we find it in ourselves, we take our comfort and sense of security (our home) with us wherever we go.

 

my late grandma’s china… something very special to me that also brings me comfort
(photo by my son, 6yo)

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Everyday Wisdom #25

Act on your beliefs

If you see something wrong in the world today, don’t be the person who turns their head and pretends not to notice.

Have the chutzpah and insight to act on your beliefs.

It can even be something small….

Like being the person to fix the coffee machine at work when it breaks – or at least being the person who organises for it to be fixed.  

 

Character is most determined by integrity and courage. It’s how you act when no one is watching.

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Kindness Crusade

One should cherish all living beings – radiating kindness over the entire world

I listened to a great talk on the Metta Sutta this week, and it really gave me pause to think about kindness and the conditions needed to cultivate and increase kindness and tenderness in the world.

 

An excerpt of the Metta Sutta:

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in saftey,
May all beings be at ease.

 

What if we all made the decision to live according to this sutta?

If we made an intention to live ethically and kindly?

Peace would be possible.  Inner-peace would be possible.   And peace on Earth.

“Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way”.  The Dalai Lama

We can further cultivate peace, and increase kindness by:

  • Not taking the life of any living thing
  • Not taking things that are not given
  • Not engaging in sensual misconduct
  • Refraining from false speech
  • Abstaining from substances which cause intoxication and heedlessness

In order for our hearts to manifest the desire – “may all beings be at ease” we must first have gladness and safety in our minds and hearts.

Living with gratitude, kindness and love all gladden and reassure the heart and mind.

As does finding the joy in each moment and each situation.

And with wisdom, and the development of wisdom, we can look around us and see that everyone is suffering.  That everyone has a story filled with difficulties and challenges, loss of hopes and dreams.

Really realising this and seeing this brings a true tenderness of heart.

My personal desire is to develop the equanimity needed to be able to see what is happening in the world around me.  So I can bring kindness to every situation and make a difference.

Being kind is taking a stand.

 

“Do not fight against pain, embrace with tenderness.” 
~ Thich Nhat Hanh 

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Everyday Wisdom #24

Kindness idea for the day….

Let them eat chocolate

Keep a stash of fun-size chocolate/candy bars in your desk drawer at work.

When anyone comes to your desk who seems tired, irritable, or in need of cheering up, offer them a chocolate bar.

….Or if you are feeling very creative, bring in some home made cookies.

 

Make your office area a “kindness zone” 🙂

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(home made gluten and dairy free cookies)

My intention

To live with kindness, compassion, empathy and grace.

To enrich the world with happiness, joy and laughter.

To cultivate calm and peace.

To bring mindfulness to every activity and aspect of my life.

To give more than I receive.

To live ethically, wisely, and skilfully.

To be humble and not conceited.

To live deliberately and with intention.

To do no harm.  To not contribute to the suffering in the world.

To leave the world a better place than when I entered it.

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Everyday Wisdom #23

The queen of herbs

Mint – the very smell of it alone recovers and refreshes the spirits.

Mint is known for lifting the mood, and bringing cheer. It is also widely used in cases of hysteria and shock, as it helps bring calm and peace.

Mint is most useful when you’re in a state of fatigue brought on by stress or mental exhaustion.

Although the calming effect is immediate, maximum effiecienty is only achieved after using mint for at least 12 days either through drinking tea, as a condiment or by using mint oils.

 

Uses for mint:

  • For stomach cramps try boiling peppermint leaves in hot milk.
  • Mint tea: To make peppermint tea, use 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes.
  • Want to improve your concentration? Try putting a few drops of peppermint on a cotton swab and sniffing the scent occasionally. If you put it in a small plastic bag you can take it with you to use throughout the day.
  • Take a quick whiff of peppermint oil for nausea.
  • Burn peppermint oil in burners to clear the air in stuffy rooms.
  • A few drops of peppermint essential oil on a cold compress cools the body and relieves a tension headache.

 

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Leave your past behind

It’s easy to become prisoners of our past.

Consumed with thoughts, regrets and painful memories.

However it’s difficult to live in the present moment if we are trapped in the past.

In reality though, the past is gone.  All that is left is images or impressions – images that haunt us and affect us in our present.

By practising mindfulness in the present we can see that the events of our past are not happening to us now.  

We can live safely in the present moment – with mindfulness, meditation and deep breathing as our safety nets.

 

“One day at a time–this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”

 

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So much wonderful advice in this post!

Everyday Wisdom #22

Give me patience

If you find yourself getting frustrated or short-tempered today, keep in mind the following quote:

“Patience is the companion of wisdom” ~ Saint Augustine

Repeat this quote as a mantra.  

Try combining it with your breathing for best results.

Even if the words don’t seem to have particular meaning for you, the very act of slowing down and deepening your breathing will help you to feel calmer.

 

Withhold an immediate response to a situation.

Instead, practice patience and allow the answer to become clearer.

 

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