The sounds not the view

Our eyes are quick to see a beautiful view. And today the bluebells on the lower reaches of Cleeve Hill on the outskirts of Cheltenham are an absolute picture.

It is not only a sunny day but it is also an unusually warm day. The sweet smell of the bluebells was really strong when I was there just now. A really sweet perfume filling the woodland.

So often our eyes and perhaps our noses take in our surroundings – but we fail to notice the sounds. Our ears are one of our five senses and yet we may find it hard to listen, to be aware of the sounds around us.

Sometimes the sounds are captivating – like the woodland on this warm sunny day  – you can hear it here.  Sometimes the sounds around us may be less captivating or neutral or even distressing for us. Either way we can be aware: we can hear; we can listen.

As we practice listening, we can become more aware of our own thoughts and emotions, our bodies, and our spirits.

This is Mindful Monday on 7 May 2018.

Join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness at the Oasis in Cheltenham on the theme of listening next Monday 14 May 7.30-9 pm.

Please book your place so we can prepare the space for the right number of people. There is no charge but a donation of between £3 and £6 towards room hire is welcome, if you are able.


Look and wonder

Look and wonder

This is a beautiful Spring photo – the flowers and the budding leaves are stunning. And my thanks to the photographer, Yendis, who took the time to notice and to share.

Recently I spent five minutes looking at what seemed to be a twig. As I looked I was amazed what I saw. There were tiny buds of leaves. They looked like just a bump on the twig but when I looked they were bright green and so beautifully formed: still compact but you could see the leaves that would emerge. And the leaves were arranged on the twig in a surprising geometric pattern: buds of leaves next to one another on either side of the ‘twig’ but then alternating at 90 degrees up the stem. Perhaps this is so they can maximise the light getting to the leaves?

The flowers are obviously stunning. The twig looked like nothing but it was actually also stunning.

I found the five minutes I spent incredibly relaxing. Being able just to look – and to wonder.

Try it out. Choose a detail in nature to study – just five minutes of your day – but you will be stunned.

This is Mindful Monday on 19 March 2018. We meet for an evening of mindfulness in Cheltenham on 16 April 2018 – join us if you can.



Spring hope

SpringIt was an incredibly wintry start to Spring last week! And I am so surprised to see how resilient the Spring bulbs are. Despite the cold, wind and snow, some are actually blooming while others are at least poking their heads up out of the earth. And snowdrops seem to stand small but tall whatever!

Spring is the season of new life, new beginnings. There is hope in the bulb about to burst forth, the sound of bird song, the brighter evenings, the touch of the sun. Take time to notice. Take time to enjoy.

Nature’s seasons can sometimes be a mirror for our internal seasons. Just as we see hope in nature, we can nurture hopes in our lives, in the lives of those we love, and the world in which we live.

Take time to notice the hope in creation and also take time to notice your own hopes. And as you notice your hopes, think about how you might nurture them. Is there something you can do today to help realise one of your hopes for the future?

This is Mindful Monday on 5 March 2018. Join us for an evening of mindfulness in Cheltenham on Monday 12 March, 7.30-9 pm.