Learn to move on

Life must be lived forward but it is only understood backwards.

Some things are truths of living that deserve to be written in stone. So I loved it when I saw an artist had done just that with this truth.

Have you got a repeat thought about something that happened in the past rattling round in your head, probably way more than you would like it to? It’s wearing you out; it’s wearing you down.

Make time to sit down and reflect on it. What can you learn from what happened? If it helps you to absorb it, write it down. If you choose to be in a relationship with God, seek his Spirit’s wisdom.

Learning from the past is part of living in the present, living in the present well.

This is Mindful Monday on 9 August 2021.

Living forwards


Life must be lived forwards, but it can be understood only backwards.

This is a quote from Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher and theologian, who lived over a century ago. Truth is timeless.

The past is not the present. If we allow thoughts of the past to consume us, we fail to live in the present – and our lives pass us by. This is when we dwell on the past, seeking to live in it (which of course is impossible to do but that doesn’t stop us trying perhaps!).

However our past can inform our present – our lives – if we choose to learn from it. Now we are not seeking to live in the past but to understand things that have happened in the past so that we can indeed let the past be the past. But we also want to apply any learning we can both to how we live now and how we plan for the future.

When we find no joy in the present, it may be a symptom – a sign – that we have unresolved matters from the past. These matters can rob us – steal – the joy of the present moment.

Seeking to understand our past may be complicated – seemingly at times impossible – and it won’t be a one hit kind of thing either. However armed with courage and compassion for ourselves and others there is joy in the present as a reward.

This is Mindful Monday on 1 July 2019.

Join Julie Hill and Sara Shailer for an evening of mindfulness next Monday 8 July at 7.30 pm at the Oasis in Cheltenham. We will be looking at how to live in the present while also learning from the past, exploring snippets of a story from the book The Present: the gift that makes you happy and successful at work and in life by Spencer Johnson.

Book your place by emailing hello@essencecheltenham.org

Story time

Story time

I recently sent a children’s book about Elmer the elephant to a niece in Australia – her two boys liked it so much that I think their parents know it by heart and have had to limit how often it is read!

Even as adults we like a good story. We may prefer to read or watch a story. A good story engages our emotions and takes us on a journey. It entertains us but it may also enlighten us i.e. we learn something along the way.

It is many years since I first read Spencer Johnson’s best-selling self-help book The Present: the secret to enjoying your work and life, now! I have probably read it over a dozen times. It is a short: I know because I re-read it on a train in 1.5 hours this week. It has big print, for those of us that still choose the printed version and might be pleased to have a bigger print size! It is a light read with characters that are easy to identify with.

But being short, big print and a light read are not the reasons I have read it so many times. I have read it so many times because it contains insights that ring true – and I find I take something different away each time I read it.

In fact I am just about to co-facilitate a mindfulness course of three sessions that includes a brief story time each session. Time to sit back, listen and – each of us in our own way – learn.

Alongside the story time we will also use meditation, discussion, video, music, and poetry – ah yes and we will listen to one another. There’s gold in the sharing.

This is Mindful Monday on 10 June 2019. Join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for three sessions of mindfulness on Monday evenings 17 June (being in the present), 8 July (being in the present while learning from the past) and 22 July (being in the present while helping to create the future).