Absolutely unique

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”

I first saw this quotation on someone’s T-shirt.

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”

Researching its origin, it looks like this came from Margaret Mead, an author and speaker well known in the sixties and seventies.

I love it. I love it for its duality.

Certainly we should remember we are each absolutely unique. May be that helps us to celebrate the mix that makes me me and you you.

But have a go this week and note each person you meet. Remind yourself that they are unique. As you do this, you may find yourself more open to that person, more appreciative of who they are.

That way we can all celebrate that indeed I am me and you are you.

This is Mindful Monday on 16 September 2019.

Join Julie Hill and Sara Shailer tonight for an evening of mindfulness on theme of each of our uniqueness tonight at the Oasis, Cheltenham. To book email hello@essencecheltenham.org


Amazing you

amazing you

Each of us is unique.

We may quickly acknowledge this in our heads but miss the wonder – the truth – of the fact.

Wiki estimates there are about 7.7 billion people alive. Let’s face it with that many people it is tricky to be exact!

Yet each of us is unique. You are unique.

We could look at a whole range of attributes in demonstrating this. Fingerprints seem a possible starting point. Did you know that not even identical twins have the same fingerprints? Each of us (each of the “about 7.7 billion people”) have a different set of ridges and lines, right from the time we’re born.

It is easy to compare ourselves to others. It is harder to celebrate the unique mix that is you. And only you. Now that is something special. That is something priceless. That is worth celebrating. Go on, be you!

Join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for a mindfulness evening at the Oasis in Cheltenham on Monday 16 September (7.30-9 pm). Using meditation and art, we will explore and celebrate each of our uniqueness. To book email hello@essencecheltenham.org or send a message on Facebook.


Letting go

Letting go

Summer is often the time for exam results for many young people and some not so young. It is the moment of finding out whether hard work has paid off and you can proceed with the next step as you had planned or need to think again.

Sometimes there is a clear link between hard work and achieving a good result; sometimes there isn’t a clear link.

Here’s a story:

A martial arts student says to their teacher, “I am devoted to study. How long will it take me to become a master?” The teacher replied, “Ten years.”

Impatient the student said, “But I will work hard. I will practice every day for hours and hours. How long will it take then?” The teacher replied, “Twenty years.”

Mindfulness is like that. We need to let things unfold. When we are impatient for a particular result, our understanding will be clouded. We will be frustrated.

Mindfulness is about letting go, not trying harder. As we do this, our understanding of ourselves and those around us will deepen. As well as becoming more physically, mentally and emotionally aware, we may also find ourselves more spiritually aware.

I know that letting go in itself ain’t easy – but it is nice not to have to tell yourself to try harder!

This is Mindful Monday on 2 September 2019.

Join Julie Hill and Sara Shailer for an evening of mindfulness on the theme of each of our uniqueness on Monday 16 September at 7.30 to 9 pm at the Oasis, Cheltenham. There is no charge but you do need to book in advance. To book email hello@essencecheltenham.org. Looking forward to welcoming you!



Take a break outdoors

Pause outdoors

It is good to choose to spend some of our time simply being, not doing. (We are after all human beings, not human doings!)

Mindfulness, the act of keeping our attention in the present – with all that our five senses present us with – helps prevent repeat thoughts wearing us down and gives our minds a break. And often that helps reduce stress and anxiety and improves our mood. What’s not to like?

Plan to immerse yourself in the outdoors and really appreciate where you are. Remember to turn off your phone. Your mind will start to wander. With kindness (not crossness!), bring it back to the present moment immersing yourself perhaps by using one of your five senses: What can you see? What can you hear? What can you feel (useful sometimes to go barefoot for this)? Is there any taste in the wind? (There often is by the sea.) What can you smell?

Whether it is five minutes, an hour or a day, use all five senses to explore the environment around you, really noticing the small details.

This is Mindful Monday on 19 August 2019. Join Julie Hill and Sara Shailer tonight 7-8.30 pm practicing mindfulness in the outdoors. Call 07503 634531 or email hello@essencecheltenham.org for location. There is no charge.



I have a hedge in my garden that I inherited nearly 3 decades ago already well established. It has the odd brown patch appearing – and I decided to give it some fertiliser today in the hope that it will extend its life.

Having fertilised the hedge, I started thinking about how we as people also need fertiliser! I am not thinking of food to eat for our physical well being but other forms of food that feed us emotionally and spiritually.

I met with my co-facilitator Julie the day before, exploring the theme of how unique each person is in preparation for a series of mindfulness events in the autumn. I realise that there was emotional and spiritual fertiliser in the time we spent preparing, even though I didn’t recognised it as such at the time.

Perhaps we recognise activities (including doing nothingness, just being!) that feed or fertilise us when we come from them rejuvenated, changed in some way whether that is in our thinking or our spirits.

There is a poem that Julie and I reflected on, written to the Creator, and this is an excerpt:

“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

You may find refreshment as you read this. You may find it in something else today. Notice it; embrace it.

This is Mindful Monday on 12 August 2019. 

If you are in Cheltenham or the vicinity, join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness in the outdoors on Monday 19 August 2019, 7-8.30 pm. Email hello@essencecheltenham.org for details.

Something boring?


Each day has tasks which are repetitive – and which we often label ‘boring’. It could be hanging out washing, stacking the dishwasher or doing the washing up, peeling potatoes, buying milk, taking out the rubbish – or clearing junk emails.

Our minds are often impatient during these tasks. We focus only on the end of the task. “When this is done, then I will have a cuppa/watch TV/phone a friend.”

The fact of the matter is we need to do these tasks (usually anyway!). But we can actually immerse ourselves in the task, instead of putting our lives apparently on hold until we complete the task.

When we do the task with our full attention we start to notice, often drawing on our senses.

Give it a go. You need to do the task anyway. What will happen when you give it your full attention?

This is Mindful Monday on 5 August 2019.

If you live in Cheltenham or the surrounding area, join Julie Hill and Sara Shailer for an evening of mindfulness in the outdoors on Monday 19 August. Contact Sara on hello@essencecheltenham.org for further details.

Dates for autumn events available soon!



Falling awake: stop and drop

falling awake

More usually I think the phrase is ‘falling asleep’, not ‘falling awake’ (and I think it is Tesco that use the phrase ‘you shop we drop’).

Falling awake is the title of a book I am reading by Jon Kabat-Zinn on mindfulness.

I love his description of how to cultivate being mindful:

The invitation is always the same: to stop for a moment – just one moment – and drop into wakefulness. That is all. Stop and drop: meaning, drop in to your experience of experiencing, and for even the briefest of moments, simply holding it in awareness as it is – in no time, or to put it differently, in this timeless moment we call now, the only moment we actually ever have.

I am glad that while he notes it is simple, he also notes that it is not easy!

I have journeyed with many over the years including through facilitating Essence events in Cheltenham. Being with others in discovering how to be more mindfulness in the every day is incredibly helpful – and it also helps to have a bit of fun and laughter in the process.

Here’s to moments of falling awake in your day – and week – ahead.

This is Mindful Monday on Monday 29 July 2019.

If you are in the vicinity of Cheltenham, join us for an evening of mindfulness in the outdoors on Monday 19 August – email hello@essencecheltenham.org and I will get back to you to confirm time and location.