I am thankful. Thankful for what I have learned practicing all things mindful through Essence Cheltenham since 2014. Julie and I have facilitated numerous sessions in at least five different locations (as well as online). We are thankful to each of you for sharing in the journey.
Mindfulness has become much more part of ‘the toolkit for wellbeing’ over the last eight years. Of course, it is just the label that has become more recognised, with the practices themselves going back through the centuries!
Yet the focus in Western Society often excludes the spiritual. Julie and I have sought to intentionally journey mind, body and spirit. Here are three things that the journey of the last eight years has brought to the fore for me in the spiritual realm.
- Focusing on our breath is so simple and yet so profound. Practicing awareness of our breath brings us closer to a still point. For me, it helps me to practice the presence of God. It takes me to God (the father) being the creator of all things including humankind, breathing life into me. It takes me to God (the son, Jesus) making relationship with God possible. It takes me to Jesus breathing God’s Spirit on his friends. It’s (just) our breath; it’s life itself.
- Observing nature takes us to a place beyond ourselves. And meditating on a living thing (a leaf, a shell, even a blade of grass!) never fails to take us on amazing journeys. This is also true of looking at things that have been made, such as a painting, a piece of woodwork or even a piece of furniture made in factory conditions. For me, as I look, I see the glory of the creator – in nature and in people’s abilities.
- Being thankful changes everything. Why? Because it changes our perspective. Sure the tough stuff remains but now the good stuff is not eclipsed. Mindfulness has thankfulness at its very core; I choose to direct that thankfulness to God.
Practising mindfulness is good for our wellbeing. And if we allow it, we can open ourselves to the spiritual: being aware of our very breath, noticing nature and practicing thankfulness can lead us to glimpses of the very presence of the Divine.
It feels the right time for Essence Cheltenham in this particular form to draw to a close. But of course the journey of awareness continues for each of us. May you journey well in body, mind and spirit.