Cracked? Bashed? Broken?

cracked

I love this ornament given to me by a friend many years ago. I see it as a person in worship to their creator. I love the smoothness of the pottery and the fluid lines.

Look closely and you will see a break on one of the arms. (A moment with the duster . . . and then some glue.)

The figure is actually more precious to me now – with its crack. It seems more real.

We are indeed all a bit cracked, bashed, broken – however you want to describe it.

And yet there is hope of healing – a journey towards wholeness – for me with my creator God. And the scars? Perhaps one day they can become precious – a record of the journey.

This is Mindful Monday on 10 February 2020.

Join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness on the theme of journeying to wholeness on Monday 16 March 7.30-9 pm at the Oasis, Cheltenham.

 

Joy in the small things

daffodils

I often work in market research. Recently I have been doing brief one-to-one interviews for an organisation. I offered a bunch of daffodils or a bar of chocolate as a thank you for taking part.

While both the give-aways have been popular, the daffodils have produced the most smiles. There is joy in the cheerful colour and the intricacy of the flowers. Occasionally there is a light scent.

Yet, here in the UK at least, daffodils are such an inexpensive flower.

Look out in your week for joys in the small things, often the free or inexpensive. Sometimes it is as simple as noting someone’s smile, even when they aren’t looking at daffodils!

This is Mindful Monday on 3 February 2020.

If you live in Cheltenham or nearby, you can still book for an evening of mindfulness tonight at 7.30-9 pm at the Oasis. Email hello@essencecheltenham.org to say you are coming or with any questions.

Life’s a patchwork

patchwork

Like me, I expect last week was a mix of the positive or happy and the negative or difficult. Most weeks are probably a patchwork. Some weeks the sunshine may dominate; other weeks the grey clouds may dominate. And now we come to the start of a new week . . .

Let’s colour code the mix. We could think of the positive or happy as yellow and the negative or difficult as black.

I have chosen an image for this post with more than yellow and black in it. That’s because there can be more than two colours.

When we are in a difficult situation it is right that we recognise it, practice awareness of the situation and our own reactions to it (there is little value in brushing the difficult under the proverbial carpet after all). Yes, it is black.

Yet even then if we can begin to look for anything at all that is right or good in that most certainly difficult situation, new colours come into play. The black might shrink just a little, albeit still be present. We might see faint green shoots. We might also begin to find we have some energy (red perhaps?) to deal with the difficult.

This is Mindful Monday on 27 January 2020.

Join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness on Monday 3 February at the Oasis, Cheltenham, 7.30 to 9 pm. We are starting a series of sessions on journeying into wholeness. To book a place or to ask questions about the evening, just email hello@essencecheltenham.org

 

Intention vs. auto pilot

list making

Some of us are natural list-makers; others aren’t. I happen to be a list-maker.

On weekdays I start my day either reviewing a list I made at the end of the day before or creating a list for the day. It’s old school I know but I use pen and paper! On the left are things I need to do or want to do in my job; on the right are things I need to or want to do unrelated to my job i.e. the rest of life! I might have something like ‘finish report’ on the left; I might have something like ‘buy milk’ or ‘call Julie’ on the right. If it is a long list I prioritise either using letters or numbers. These identify the order in which I plan to do things or those things that are an absolute MUST to get done that day, regardless of the order in which I do them.

I have had this habit for many a year but this month I have been more reflective as I have written each list. Because it is a habit, I can write the list on ‘auto pilot’. This essentially means writing down the things that are at the top of my mind.

As I have reflected more on my daily lists, I have started asking the question, ‘What is significant to do today?’ It works for the work-related stuff and the ‘other’ stuff. It makes me move out of auto-pilot to make choices. Sometimes it has caused an entirely different list of priorities: what my ‘auto pilot’ mode put at the top of the list has sometimes ended up crossed off entirely. Sometimes I can say why a priority or action changed as I reflected; sometimes it is as if a wiser mind than mine joined in the exercise.

Instead of being ‘top of mind’ lists,¬† the lists are becoming more intentional (on some days at least!).

Lists may or may not be your ‘thing’. But making intentional choices on what to do (and therefore what not to do) is something we all rate.

This is Mindful Monday on 20 January 2020.

If you live in Cheltenham or nearby, join Julie Hill and Sara Shailer for an evening of mindfulness at the Oasis on Monday 3 February 7.30-9 pm.

 

 

 

Kindness

kindness

Kindness. It is a good thing. Right?

I looked up a definition of kindness: “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate”. Yup, it’s still a good thing.

I have noticed something over recent years. I try to be kind to others  but I find it hard to be kind to myself.

I have discovered that this is common. Many of us seek to be kind to others but are not so sure or unable to be kind to ourselves.

There is a profound teaching for how to live life that I meditate on with regularity. (It is profound so it is going to be a long journey of discovery!) Love others as you love yourself.

Kindness is an aspect of love. So . . . Be kind to others as you are kind to yourself.

We are well into the new year. You may have a new year resolution you are continuing with but struggling or that you have given up on. Let’s take it a step further. Be kind to yourself.

Kindness doesn’t mean self indulgence. It means showing consideration to yourself.

When we seek to practice kindness to ourselves we learn a little more of how to love ourselves – and others.

This is Mindful Monday on 13 January 2020.

If you live in or near Cheltenham, join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness at the Oasis on the evening of Monday 3 February. To book email hello@essencecheltenham.org

 

New year

Choices on the horizon

Happy new year! It is a new year – and a new decade. 2020 somehow sounds significant, like the year 2000 felt significant.

And yet 1 January 2020 was a day when the sun rose and set just like any day. We gave it significance through the date system we use.

This made me think about my choices on what I think is significant and what I don’t. Each of our choices are unique to ourselves. They are based on our own beliefs and values, sometimes shared widely with others and sometimes not.

Being aware of what we deem to be significant and what we don’t is useful. It is worth our time to identify what is significant to us right now. Why? Because what we deem to be significant will influence the choices we make on how we spend our energies this day.

Being aware and making choices based on that awareness will aid each of us in living lives of meaning, lives of purpose.

Sure there is ‘the routine stuff’ in our days with which we engage. If we don’t identify what is significant to us, the routine stuff will fill our horizons. If we identify what is significant to us – and pursue this as best as we can – we can choose (at times at least) to give priority to that which is significant. The journey of awareness has gold within it.

This is Mindful Monday on 6 January 2020.

If you live in Cheltenham or nearby, join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness at the Oasis at 7.30-9 pm on Monday 3 February 2020. To book your place email hello@essencecheltenham.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice the good

1 2 3

We’re drawing to the end of a calendar year. As you look back at the last 12 months I am sure you will see the good, the bad and the ugly!

Our minds seem to naturally turn to the bad and the ugly, more readily than to the good. This is not about ignoring the difficult stuff; it is about ensuring we also notice the glorious stuff! And when we notice ‘the glorious’ we may find we have the energy to look also at the other stuff.

Take a moment. (Grab a pen if you can.) Identify 3 things that you are thankful for in the last year.

Take another moment. Identify 3 more things that you are thankful for.

You may find you want to return to this exercise over the next few days. Notice. Note. Be thankful.

This is Mindful Monday on 30 December 2019. Dates for 2020 mindfulness sessions at the Oasis in Cheltenham available soon!