No Time to Stand and Stare

, , ,

Leisure by WH Davies

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

 This poem, a classic, still sums up everything that we might miss if we forget to stop, breathe and be. Mindful awareness brought home to help us live in this moment…….. not every moment but at least a precious few each day.

Mindful Little Christmas

, , , , ,

“Mindful Little Christmas” came to me last year in the form of a Christmas Blog written by Harriet McGuigan  in ” My Mind”—– with her advice on how to practice mindfulness to combat the stress of Christmas. 

As Andy Williams sings, ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year
with the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you be of good cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!’

She talked about how we all have good memories, sad memories, regretful memories, painful memories  of Christmases that have passed. We may have lost someone, have a new member join our family, have developed a serious illness or quite simply, be too much  of a perfectionist, thus creating self inflicted stress. Just being aware of the busy mind, feelings of panic and the reality of each day leading up to Christmas, allows us time to pay attention.

In daily life, it may take some courage to get up, put your feet on the floor and face the challenges but for many of our neighbours or for ourself, Christmas morning may be exceptionally difficult.  The getting through each day of the Festive Season means facing the day despite the heaviness we feel in our heart, the physical pain that we are holding or indeed the deep suffering of grieving. For others courage is being vulnerable with a loved one, asking for help or for some company.

Mindfulness allows us to stop and really notice how we are? There is no magic wand! However using the stopping, breathing and noticing may allow you to be a little less stressed, a little more loved and a little more loving if you can allow yourself to do something which is authentically you.

Have you ever sat with an elderly family member who spends the day reminiscing about past; how Christmas is not the same anymore! The negativity quells any momentary enjoyment of what we may be eating, sharing, smelling and gifting! Others escape the moment by hoping for a better future filled with financial security, health and happiness.

Mindfulness is about bringing yourself back as much as possible into your present reality – Taking one breath at a time. It is about being conscious of what ‘is’ rather than going off into fantasy and wishing for what you wish you could have in the future or getting drowned in the past when things were easier or at times harder.

With a little discipline, choosing to have a few mindful moments during the festive season could bring you inner peace, contentment and appreciation.

  1. Take a risk and breathe into your reality right now. Not the reality you wish you had, not the reality that you imagine your friends or family have and not the story the  TV adverts would have you believe – I invite you to breathe into your own life.
  2. It could help if you share your reality with a loving other (a friend, a partner,  or a person of trust) and perhaps sharing how celebrating the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ in your unique way  works for you this year.
  3. When you are eating just eat, when you have company just observe and absorb.
  4. Invite you guests to name one thing they are grateful for today.
  5. Forget the keeping up appearances and enjoy your Christams within your own emotional and financial budget.
  6. Make YOUR unique Christmas this year by allowing more of authentic you to shine through.
  7. If you are alone or know someone alone then step into that moment with them. Just a moment and the gift of time together

The key is to meet yourself where you are at.

Remembering that a little love shared and a little compassion for yourself and for others, goes towards  the original Christmas message. In the tradition of Christmas I wish you peace, joy and happiness in your unique heart.

‘…….and have yourself a ‘Mindful Little Christmas Now’

Giving and Receiving

, , ,

artistic-christmas-header

Frenzied shopping at the end of the year, large financial concerns as you see the credit card levels increase or quite simply a checklist, like every other list of things to do.  The theme of “giving” while offering someone a gift can be joyous and heart-warming, or in many cases it becomes a duty or creates a feeling  of emptiness inside.

I know for me that gifts bought out of ” we do this every year” makes me feel sad and often a little hypocritical. I used to have a long list of the courtesy cards and gifts that were sent out. Realising that there was no real sincerity being sent along with them led me to make changes.

Firstly, I asked myself how I felt when receiving a tick- box present? Then I compared that to one that was bought and offerred with  heart-felt-ness and authentic love. I knew immediately which of the two types of gifts, I personally appreciated most.

In recent years I decided to only give from the heart, asking myself “Is this an expression of love and caring? Does it come from the heart?”

The act of giving and receiving is most worthy and friends and families immediately become our true benefactors.
What would it look like if we perhaps offered these people, only words?

Christmas time is so perfect for a gratitude practice? If we stop for a moment, don’t we owe our gratitude to the people in our lives? What if we took the time to say or write a brief expression of that gratitude for each person? If we tuck some special words into our gift, or better yet, take time to tell them.  When we are in their presence, noticing that they are opening our gift to them ,what else might we say in that moment?

Spreading love and kindness, showing gratitude and appreciation are indeed the most valuable gifts of all.