I love greenery. I love the outdoors. And I also love waterfalls. And I got all three in plentiful measure on holiday recently.

Whether you are able to actually go on holiday or not, we can look at nature wherever we are. And as we do there is refreshment, almost a healing within.

There is something about the natural order – even the divine order – that we connect with as we look and see. In the everyday of life, we can look, see and be enriched. At times of confusion or a lack of wellbeing, we can find clarity and peace. We can sometimes catch a glimpse of the glory of God himself, whether we choose to use that phrase or another.

Be refreshed: look and see.

This is Mindful Monday on 23 July 2018.

Join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening in the outdoors on 30 July 2018. Just get in touch for time and location. The theme is the gallery of the outdoors.

Take a walk

take a walk

Take a walk.

As you walk notice things for which you are thankful.

It is a good path to walk.

This is Mindful Monday on 16 July 2018.

If you live in Cheltenham or nearby, join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness in the outdoors (weather permitting) on 30 July. Contact us for details.

Tomorrow, I will . . .


Do you – like me – suffer from procrastination? I fail to act now – in the moment – but instead put something off for another day. The more I do this, the more I come to dread the task. It grows in complexity in my mind. It grows in the amount of time I expect it to take.

Clearly there are some things that we need to put aside to deal with on another day – but these things that I leave tend to be small things that I could do in the moment I think of them.

Mindfulness is about practicing awareness of the present moment. It is about being aware – of ourselves, of others – and (for me) of God. And yes it can take us to a place of stillness (inactivity) but it can also take us to a place of action.

As we become aware of an action, we can choose to focus our attention on it and complete it. We can choose to:

  • take one task today that we have neglected
  • do it
  • actually finish it completely  . . .
  • and now – the bit we usually forget – stop. Take time to appreciate its completion.

This is Mindful Monday at Essence Cheltenham on Monday 9 July.

If you live in Cheltenham or nearby, join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness in the outdoors (weather permitting) on Monday 30 July. Please contact us for details.


Crying out

Out of the depths I cry

I like a bit of poetry. I am not a poet myself. And I don’t know an awful lot about poetry. But I like it.

Why do I like it? Often I find a poem is a more honest – more stripped back – statement about a situation or a more captivating description. This is partly because the poems I read are short although this is by no means true of all poems!

At Essence Cheltenham mindfulness gathering last Monday we each spent time individually writing a poem. It wasn’t a poem for sharing. It was a poem of what we want to say to God, the divine, the creator of all  (either because we believe or because we took the risk and imagined we believed at least for a moment).

We were using an aspect of poetry from the ancient book of the Psalms in the Bible as our inspiration. Some of these poems are essentially someone crying out to God – and, as they do that, going on a spiritual journey to a better place.

The background to the exercise was our search for those who are great listeners – and an ancient poet wrote:

Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.

It wasn’t hard to think of a situation about which I wanted to ‘cry out’. I scribbled with an honesty it would be hard to harness with another. I sensed no judgement. I sensed a safe place to truly express myself.

And then I was surprised. I paused from scribbling and I listened. Like the story of the ancient poets, I sensed a journey to a better place. I knew I had been heard. And then I knew a different perspective.  It was not my own – and I sensed the wisdom and love of the divine.

This is Mindful Monday on 2 July 2018.

If you live in Cheltenham or nearby, we meet for an evening of mindfulness in the outdoors (weather permitting) on Monday 30 July. Contact us for details.

Change the world

Listen. Change the world.

I am sure your day is full of many different things – including a variety of conversations with different people, whether in-passing or more in-depth.

‘In-passing’ conversations might happen with a cashier in a shop, the delivery man at your door or members of our household while waiting for the kettle to boil.

In-depth conversations might be planned or unplanned, with someone we know or hardly know – and we probably think of them as taking more than a few minutes. We probably also expect them to be about things that really matter to us or the other person.

But may be it isn’t the duration of a conversation that matters but the attention we give a conversation. It could be planned or unplanned, short or long, with someone we know or don’t know. The question is what happens if we give the person we are in conversation with our full attention?

Listen to the other person. In being present in that moment you – and they – will find joy. It’s called being in relationship. It is a special thing that costs our attention and changes everything.

Among people I am fortunate to know who are good at listening is my brother. And it is his birthday today. Happy Birthday Dave – and thanks for being a great listener!

This is Mindful Monday from Essence Cheltenham on Monday 25 June 2018.

Join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill tonight for an evening of mindfulness – on the theme of listening. It is at the Oasis in Cheltenham, 7.30-9 pm.


Love big ears

Love big ears

Two ears; one mouth. Listening more than talking.

Listening to what someone is actually saying, going deeper than the words they are using. Or perhaps even listening to someone’s silence, going deeper than the words that they are not using.

Being listened to. Not someone just being there while you speak but that person hearing you. Really listening.

There is joy in listening (although it is a life-long learning) – and there is joy in being listened to. I came across a quotation this week:

 “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”

I am not sure that anyone is average – but there seems truth within what is said. Being listened to is part of receiving love. Listening is part of giving love.

Listening is one of those wonderful things of life: it has no financial cost but changes everything.

This is Mindful Monday on Monday 18 June 2018.

Join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness on Monday 25 June 2018 at 7.30-9 pm at the Oasis in Cheltenham. It’s on the theme of listening!

Tyre tracks

tyre tracks

Tyre tracks? When things happen that impact us emotionally it can feel like tyre tracks. The usual level pathway of our emotions is disrupted, gouged out, and prone to muddiness should there be any rain!

This is Essence Cheltenham’s Mindful Monday post – but it is on a Tuesday! The delay is the tyre tracks of living.

While I was with a close friend at the weekend, they were taken poorly and, after a call to 999, blue-lighted to hospital. I was pleased to be with my friend. But I recognise an emotional tyre track from the day. All is not level within.

Mindfulness trains us to notice, to be aware, to observe – rather than suppress. This is the start of a journey back to well being. Now I need to make some adjustments, where I can, to what I am doing this week

Any tyre tracks for you? Recognise them – it’s the start of a journey to better well being.

This is Mindful Monday – on Tuesday 12 June 2018!

Join Julie Hill and Sara Shailer for an evening of mindfulness (with a focus on listening) on Monday 25 June, 7.30 to 9 pm.