Thoughts like autumn leaves


So very many thoughts. Thousands of thoughts. Some negatives; some neutral; some positive. Some true; some false. Some useful; some destructive.

We can practice paying attention to our thoughts but not being controlled by them. A valuable technique is learning to label our thoughts – pay attention to each thought briefly and label it e.g. “my to do list”, “self-critical thoughts”, “things that are worrying me”. This helps us to understand our thoughts but not become immersed or lost in them.

I often practice seeing my thoughts as clouds in the sky, labelling each my thoughts as if they are clouds in the sky. But I liked an alternative image I came across recently.

Imagine you are standing on a bridge looking down at a small river with colourful leaves floating in it. You see your thoughts written on the leaves. You read each thought and register it but then the leaf disappears on down the river.

Practicing paying attention to our thoughts but then letting them go enabling us to come to a still point – or get closer to stillness at least! We are freed – for the moment at least – from our thoughts running us ragged.

We may find in the stillness rest and restoration. We may find in the stillness that we accept ourselves just as we are. We may find in the stillness an awareness of the creator. We may find we can ‘just be’.

This is Mindful Monday on Monday 21 October 2019.

If you live in Cheltenham or the surrounding area, join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness on the theme of each of our uniqueness on Monday 4 November, 7.30-9 pm at the Oasis. Book your place by emailing


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