Wellbeing notes: tiny plant, giant teachings

03/05/2021 at 10:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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One regular walk takes me over the old canal bridge. I passed over it not so long ago and took a photo of a tiny clump of moss that grows there. Small details from nature such as moss make for excellent meditation subjects. You can give yourself a few minutes of quiet, close your eyes and imagine the tiny plant in sensory detail: the green, textured cushion; the slender stalks supporting spore capsules no bigger than a grain of rice. 

When you notice that your mind has wandered, you simply remind yourself that you are here to meditate, and you focus again on your chosen subject – in this case, the moss.

We meditate in this way to pause the relentless chatter of our thoughts. It’s impossible to empty the mind completely; focusing on one subject is the next best thing. Doing this regularly can help us become calmer and less stressed. We can become more self-aware and may enjoy physical benefits, such as better sleep and decreased blood pressure. 

Yesterday I returned to the bridge. I was taking a longer walk than usual and although I did pause to take in the view, I hurried on towards my destination. It wasn’t until I got home that I realised I hadn’t even noticed the moss that grows on the bridge. And I realised a simple truth: what we focus on is what we see.

My invitation to you is to choose mindfully what you focus on today. 

Wellbeing notes: nature’s message of hope

01/01/2021 at 3:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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There’s something so uplifting about the first, tiny snowdrops of the year – a reminder of balmier weather to come. One summer I lost someone I was close to. Grief was ever present. There was no respite from the sadness. The following January, I saw the first snowdrops emerge from black earth. And for the first time in many months, I felt uplifted. It was as if the dots of tiny white flowers spelt out the word ‘hope’ in a dark landscape. Since that time I have especially treasured snowdrops, planting them in small drifts around my garden, bringing in a few blooms for the kitchen table. 

Hope is an excellent quality to cultivate in 2021. Hope reminds us that the potential for happiness is a core part of every human being. When we focus on our potential, when we visualise it as though it is already present, wellbeing enters. We become uplifted. And in that state of openness, we become receptive to the loving kindness that, I believe, always surrounds us. 

One simple exercise is to write the word ‘Hope’ on a square of canvas or paper. Enjoy choosing the placement of the four characters. You might write them large and plain or add illustrations that are meaningful to you. Then display your finished work in a place where you will often see it. Let its beneficial message spill into your life.

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