In balance?

In balance or out of balance?

We all place priority on different things in our lives, sometimes out of choice and other times out of necessity. What’s ‘too little’ or ‘too much’ of any activity will differ for each of us.

But we all gain from asking ourselves the question, ‘What’s the right balance of [name the activity] for me?’ The ‘right balance’ is our happy or contented place. Most activities are neither good or bad. They can however be ‘in balance’ or ‘out of balance’.

Here’s some examples. What’s the right balance of time . . . keeping fit? . . . with friends? . . . on my own? . . . with family? . . . at work? . . . indoors? . . . outdoors? . . . on social media? . . . keeping abreast of news? spent volunteering? . . . watching TV/streaming? You get the idea. Think through the balance for you physically, emotionally and spiritually.

These activities are often not either good or bad. It’s the balance of each activity in relation to the other activities that’s the key to our wellbeing. It’s the balance that gives us the sense of having our feet planted firmly on the ground, not teetering on the brink or piroetting through each day.

This is Mindful Monday on 22 November 2021.

Reflections

Reflections at Stourhead Gardens, November 2021

I spent a glorious morning enjoying autumn colours at Stourhead Gardens and knew you would want to share in it. I particularly enjoyed seeing reflections of buildings and nature in a lake. Some detail is present in the reflection and yet the scene is more muted, softer.

Imagine seeing a reflection of your life right now. What are the shapes and colours that would show in ‘the lake’? You might want to draw or write down what stands out.

Ensure the reflection of yourself you are seeing has a softness in it. We need a softness in our perspective that enables us to reflect with kindness, not judgement.

This is Mindful Monday on 15 November 2021.

The winds that shape us

Winds that shape us

Each of us is shaped – or influenced – by many different winds, from infancy to today.

Pause and identify one or two of the winds that have influenced you.

Some winds are positive. How do we know them? They are the ones that tell us that we are valued and loved, and enable us to value and love others.

Some winds are negative: they are the ones that tell us that we are useless and unlovable, and make it harder for us to make good relationships with others.

Being able to identify and classify the winds that shape our thinking about ourselves and the world around us gives us understanding, including compassion for ourselves. We weren’t always in a position to control what shaped us. We will find weather damage!

Being able to identify and classify the winds that shape us also gives us the opportunity to review what we are being influenced by, opening ourselves more fully to some influences and closing ourselves to others.

For me today, thinking of the winds that shape me, I am resolute to open myself more to the breath of the Divine – God’s Spirit. The Spirit is the one who knew me while I was still in my mother’s womb and is each moment all knowing (omniscient), all present (omnipresent), and all powerful (omnipotent). It’s the best of winds.

May you too open yourself to life-giving winds.

This is Mindful Monday on 8 November 2021.

All weathers

All weathers

It’s definitely autumn now; summer is behind us.

In the UK, there’s an increase in wind and rain, temperatures are beginning to drop; there are also glorious foliage colours and bushes full of red berries.

Like every season, it’s a mix of moments in the ever-changing weather, if we take the time to notice.

The weather is the weather. It can be ‘glorious’ (most of us love it crisp, blue skied and sunny) or ‘dreary’ (most of us dislike it grey, wet and cold). It is what it is, like it or don’t like it.

I have been intentionally noticing the wind. Early one day on a hill, it was strong and steady and nearly blew me over. On other days it was gusty, making itself heard quite clearly indoors. And on one day it has been soft, a pleasant breeze on my face.

This week, take moments to experience the weather. Notice the wind on your face, a raindrop on your hand, the softer light of the sun in the view from your window.

Notice what arises in your mind and your body as you allow yourself to experience the weather, including any tendencies to reject or hold onto particular weather. When we start to notice and experience the weather, our judgements of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ weather will become more blurred.

Sure, we like some weather better than other weather but let’s be in the autumn. For like all seasons, it too will pass. While it is here, let’s experience it, rather than miss it. It’s part of living.

Health check

Be wise

These are wise words: “Simply let your `Yes’ be `Yes,’ and your `No,’ `No’”. But it is easier said than done, in some of our relationships at least.

Some of us may have been taught as children that it isn’t polite to say ‘no’. Or we think that setting boundaries in our relationships means that we are not being loving.

Thinking like this makes it harder as adults to take control of life, to know that we can make choices for what we do and don’t take responsibility.

Let’s observe our choices this week. Are we clearly thinking through for what we take responsibility? Or are we welcoming all comers, without discernment?

It’s healthy to be able to use both words, ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.

Give yourself a health check by observing when you find it easier to set boundaries and when you find it harder. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom.

This is Mindful Monday on 25 October 2021

Healing

I didn’t write a Mindful Monday post last week. I was immersed in family celebrations – enjoying being with loved ones. It was healing.

I then went to a funeral of a friend. As I recalled the good times and my friend’s gifts, there was healing.

The day after the funeral, I sprained my ankle. It swelled up. Fluid moved into the injured area, evidencing white blood cells getting to work. I found watching the healing take place day by day healing in itself!

Sometimes we need to simply take time out or take a particular action. As we do, we find restoration or put another way healing.

What was the first event, the family celebration? Ah well as you asked, it was celebrating my brother receiving a doctorate. I’m a proud sister!

This is Mindful Monday on 11 October 2021.

Recognise misconceptions

Observe your perceptions to recognise misconceptions

Walking along a country lane, I brushed my arm against stinging nettles. Here goes with a rash. Indeed, I could feel the rash starting.

Reading an email, I saw confusion about the date of an event. This is going to take quite some unwinding.

Heading out the door on an overcast day, I put on my fleece. It’s bound to be cold outdoors.

The reality of all these events was different from my perception. The vegetation I brushed my arm against was not stinging nettles and a rash did not appear. When I read the email more carefully, there was no confusion about the date of an event. Although overcast, it was in fact very warm outdoors and I quickly removed my fleece.

These are three little reminders that my immediate perception in a situation is not necessarily reality. Learning to reflect, to pause, just for a moment, has value.

With gentleness, let’s observe our perceptions of situations during today. Then we will recognise misconceptions more quickly, enabling us to engage more fully with ourselves, those around us and the world.

This is Mindful Monday on 27 September 2021.