Steps to peace within

Steps to peace within

All of us seek peace within – and most of us will have found it is a journey, the path of which we continue to walk, rather than having a sense of having reached the destination called ‘total peace’!

Tomorrow a group of us will meet in Cheltenham (UK) for an evening of mindfulness, on the theme of ‘growing in peace’.

We will reflect on actions we can take today on our journey to peace, including looking back to identify things in our past or our thoughts about the future that might rob us of the peace we seek now. We will touch on two equally powerful choices of acceptance or action to change our perspectives on our past and our future, enabling us to live better in the present.

I just watched a four-minute video by Terry Waite, a hostage for several years. He suffered and yet he seeks to address the anger he had, rather than let it simmer:

If I allow my anger to get the better of me [because of what happened to be in the past], it will destroy me.

He also says:

This is your life now. Not tomorrow, not yesterday. Now.

Click here to watch the video.

This is Mindful Monday on 4 February 2019.

If you would like to join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness at the Oasis on Tuesday 5 February 2019, email ahead to book your place as it helps to know how many of us are gathering to prepare the space: hello@essencecheltenham.org.

Joy doubled

dog

If a trouble shared is a trouble halved, is a joy shared a joy doubled?

We met for an evening of mindfulness on the theme of ‘growing in joy’ last Monday. At one point in the evening we moved into small groups to share a photo or picture that gives us joy.

The photos and pictures were of loved ones (both people and pets!), the beauty of nature, creative pursuits enjoyed, and moments cherished. They were lovely to see. But what was more wonderful still was the face of each person as they shared. There is indeed joy in sharing in the joy of another.

Look today. Notice the joy of others. Be ready to see it. Be ready to be enriched.

This is Mindful Monday on 10 December 2018.

We meet for an evening of mindfulness on Tuesday 5 February on the theme of ‘growing in peace’. Book if you would like to come.

 

What if . . .

What if . . .

What if we did everything we do with love?

It’s a bold thought. And I have been observing myself over recent weeks.

I do a lot of things on auto pilot, in neutral. Of course I only even realise this as I look back at what I have just been doing – you don’t notice much in auto pilot!

I do other things with a meanness, a lack of generosity to myself and others as I seek to achieve a goal in my mind regardless.

When I do seek to do something with love, it changes what I am doing. I am not thinking here of our nearest and dearest relationships but the everyday relationships with others as we journey through our every days.

I claim no massive changes; the changes have been small. Like not interrupting someone when they are speaking or going out of my way to give someone a lift when they missed their bus. They have cost me a little patience, a little time. But they have changed everything. There is richness, a beauty, when – however clumsily (in my case) – there is love in the action.

I came across this from Mother Teresa

“I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?'”

This is Mindful Monday on 15 October 2018.

Live in or near Cheltenham? Join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness looking at growing in love tomorrow – on Tuesday 16 October – at the Oasis Centre in Cheltenham. You can book even on the day.

 

Mindful in the everyday

white ceramic teacup on saucer with brown liquid

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

We can be tempted to make mindfulness something for special occasions. I went on a ‘retreat day’ recently – one of those special occasions – when it was good to spend some time exploring silence, that rare commodity in the everyday. However, it also reminded me that we practice awareness most of the time in our everyday activities, the 99.9% of our lives, and generally not in silence!

It is challenging to give a task our full attention. And yet when we do, we can be surprised with the richness of the experience. For example instead of absentmindedly drinking our cup of tea, eating our dinner, talking to a friend, driving to an appointment, or cleaning the bathroom, we can give it our full attention.

What does this look like? Here are three suggestions. It means not hurrying. It means making this task our focus, the most important thing to be doing right now. It means paying attention to the information our senses are giving us.

When we practice awareness, the task we are doing is meditation. And if we cannot do everyday tasks mindfully, we probably cannot meditate while sitting in silence. So the everyday and what for me are the ‘special occasions’ are connected. Practicing awareness in the everyday prepares us for moving deeper in our awareness sometimes through more disciplined practice. But for now, it’s time to clean the bathroom!

This is Mindful Monday on 8 October 2018.

Join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness at the Oasis in Cheltenham on Tuesday 16 October, 7.30-9 pm. The theme is ‘growing in love’. To book your place, contact Sara on hello@essencecheltenham.org, ideally by Friday 12 October but you can book even on the day. There is no charge. If you are able make a donation towards room hire.

 

 

 

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!