Tag Archives: mindfulness

Wildflower clouds

As I turn a corner on this new route
I am rewarded by a burst of wildflowers
Fluffy white clouds
Interspersed with poppy red blushes and
Streaks of buttercup yellow
Occasional kisses of squashed plum distract me
Until I reach the gravel path
Here, my ears receive their reward
The familar crunch puts a spring in my step as
I am transported back to a memory of a much younger me
To push bikes re-imagined as motorbikes as they skid across similar paths
To imaginary horses, imaginary powers and limitless energy
As the memory manifests I find myself running further, faster, stronger
I give a silent salute to the trees as I pass for giving me the breath
To keep on keeping on
and although I can feel the strain on my lungs
As I push myself out of the comfort zone
I remember how it’s always been when I’m running
That I remember to breathe.

Be  more

Be more

On Being more and broken phones

Hello there. Nice to see you again – glad you came back after my long absence! Shall we grab a cuppa and the leftover chocolate and have a chat? I’d like that.

Go on, take a piece...

So… Let’s talk about being – about being mindful, living in the present and taking the time to slow down and breathe… Last month I posted about just that. I said I was taking a ‘few weeks’ out to slow down and catch my breath. Well a few weeks turned into a month and if I’m honest, I didn’t really slow down until last week. Before then I was still doing just as much as I was before ‘taking a break,’ I was just doing different things. Not writing my novel, unfortunately. I’ll come back to that later (not today though).

So, what happened last week? My son (who just turned two last week) decided to have a bit of a tantrum. Well, I say a bit…. He threw things and shouted and stomped and cried until he finally calmed down. Still no idea what it was about. One of the things he threw was my phone. Somehow it had ended up on the floor with his toys. I won’t be making that mistake again. The screen cracked and although it didn’t break, I now can’t use it because the slightest pressure will most likely break the glass. This means I can’t draft my blog posts on my wordpress app. I can’t tweet using my twitter app. I can’t draft poems and stories on my notebook app. I can’t…. I won’t go on. Basically, it made me realise how much I rely on my phone to get stuff done. It’s a great timesaver… Or is it? Perhaps my son was trying to tell me something. Since he destroyed my phone, I have spent a lot less time online. Sure, it means I’ve got less done but it also means I am actually spending time just being. It’s amazing the difference it makes. I am happier, the people around me are happier, and I am rethinking the amount of time I spend doing ‘stuff’ online. I think much of it is probably unnecessary and I could be putting that focus elsewhere. Or just chilling out.

So, I will be ordering a new phone today. It will have all the apps I need to ‘get stuff done,’ but this time I plan to be more mindful about what I’m using and when. I may even start turning it off a couple of evenings a week. Sure, that stll makes me feel uncomfortable, but perhaps I’ve been in my comfort zone too long and besides, lately I’ve realised that although it’s what I’m (now) used to, it’s not actually that comfortable.

What about you? How much time do you spend online and do you think all these time-saving apps do actually save you time? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

2013 – Give more. Do more. Be more.

Earlier this month, I posted a New Year blog, summing up the past two years. In it, I said that my future plans were pretty much more of the same. Well, they are and they’re not. I have some idea of what I would like to achieve this year and that is (kind of) more of the same… Lately though, I’ve been thinking more on how I want to be in 2013.

As you may have noticed, this blog carries the ‘strapline’ Writing. People. Poetry. This year, I’ve decided to try and live by three simple ‘rules,’ a kind of strapline for 2013, if you will. If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen it already:

Give more. Do more. Be more.

Give more. Do more. Be more.

Great, but what does that actually mean? Let me break it down:

Give more
In the past, my charitable giving has been sporadic. Sometimes I’ve given food to the homeless guy on the street, sometimes I haven’t. I’ve given a lot of text donations and supported friends’ fundraising efforts. I always put small change in collections boxes at till points. This year, I want to be more consistent. I plan to give a percentage of my earnings to two or three chosen charities, as well as do some kind of fundraising activity over the course of the year.

That said, giving doesn’t have to cost anything. I’m also a great believer in paying it forward. I used to do this all the time but lately I’ve been ‘busy.’ That was my excuse anyway. Now, I think that’s silly. Who’s too busy to smile at a stranger or help a neighbour carry her shopping? It doesn’t take much, really, to give more, which brings me on to…

Do more
I’m already ‘doing’ quite a lot of stuff. Over the past year I’ve taken on more since my son started nursery in March (you can read  more on my ‘About me‘ page and/or connect with me on LinkedIn) and as some of you know, I recently started writing a novel. If anything, I probably ought to think about doing a little less in order to do everything better. So, ‘do more’ in this case is more about…

Less Self, more Other. This is the theme of an art project, Acts of Kindness on the London Underground that struck a chord with me. I want to do more for others this year. I’ve been lucky enough to have had a lot of generous hearted people around me throughout my life. These people have thankfully had a greater influence on me than the more negative relationships I’ve had and I feel blessed to know or have known these people. My life isn’t perfect but who’s is? I think relatively speaking, that I’ve got it pretty good and I want to reflect that back out into the world. I’ve started with some small random acts of kindness. This past week, for example, I’ve lent some yoga DVDs to a pregnant colleague and bought a small thank you gift for a friend who has done me a lot of favours recently. It’s not much, but that’s kind of the point. Besides, it’s really more about shifting my state of mind. As I am thinking more and more of others, I will automatically ‘do more.’ It’s part of who I am, when I’m not getting caught up in what I’m doing, which brings me to…

Be more
I used to look back to the past. A lot. This wasn’t helpful and it contributed to recurrent bouts of mild depression. I’ve moved on from this now and my focus of the past few years has been moving forward. I am now much more focused on the future and as a result, much happier in myself. But… What about the present?

I’m often so busy thinking about what’s coming next that sometimes I miss what’s happening right now. I can be playing with my son and thinking about a blog post I want to write when he naps… Or I’m writing that blog post and thinking about an upcoming work project… Or I’m walking to the shops and thinking about the next chapter of my novel. I’m sure many of you can relate. Lately though, I’ve been thinking about what I’m missing. I’m too absorbed in my thoughts to notice how stunning the twilight sky looks as I walk back from the shops. Too ‘busy’ to notice the old man  struggling to reach something from the top shelf in the supermarket but too proud to ask for help… Too busy to breathe – I don’t mean the kind of breathing that keeps us alive, I mean really, to stop. Drop my shoulders, inhale, hold it, and… Exhale – Really breathe. Too busy to just… Be.

I mentioned in a recent post that writing small stones helps me to practice being mindful so you will be seeing more of these this year. If you’re interested in small stones, you can find lots of great ones on twitter by searching the hashtag #smallstones. As well as this, I also plan to do more yoga, spend more time offline and just breathe. More. Better. Deeper.

So, that’s me. Expect to see more posts this year under these headings. What about you…? How do you want to be this year..? Do share your thoughts, aims and dreams below and let’s help each other to keep on keeping on!

Dead leaves (a small stone)

This month Fiona Robyn has once again invited her readers to join in with the annual Mindful Writing Challenge, by writing a small stone* every day for the month of January. While I haven’t joined the challenge for this month, I have instead set myself the challenge of being more mindful over the course of the year. The reason for this is that for me, being mindful for a month is great but then I’m likely to get out of the habit. However, if I resolve to be more mindful generally, it will hopefully become more of a way of being.

In order to try and ensure I stick to this, I promise to post at least one small stone a month on my blog. I may share more on twitter, and I may keep some to myself, as reminders to be mindful. Why not join me?

Here’s January’s offering:

Dead leaves
We stop to look at these leaves. They are brown, most of them. We reach out to touch, gently. I apply a little pressure and they crumble in my hand. He looks surprised and backs away. We return here, later and I notice that some of the leaves have retained a greenish tinge. He touches one of these and it crunches but does not crumble. He smiles.

*What’s a small stone?

This leaf

This small stone was inspired by a challenge from Kaspalita at Writing Our Way Home, about the art of selection. It began as a poem about the park in the spring, then I remembered Kaspalita’s challenge and decided to forget the poem and just focus on one small part, writing whatever came to mind. Here’s the result:

This leaf

This leaf shines a brilliant green, reflecting the mid morning sun. It has a scar down its left side that leads to a dry patch – brown/grey and flaky. It looks like it would turn to dust if the wind picks up. Its so vibrant, so alive at its root but the life seems to drain away at the tip.