It was great to see so many people last night, and some new faces too. It can be so supportive to practice in a group again, as Mindfulness can be a relatively isolating practice, and yet as we discussed it actually increases our connectedness to those around us.
The longer Body Scan and the Walking Practice in the 2nd half helps us connect to the body- and the body has so much to tell us. It's not just as a refuge to go to when faced with difficulties,when it's so easy to get lost in a torrent of thoughts, but it can also serve as an early warning signal when low mood or anxiety may be developing-and crucially gives us that sliver of space and an opportunity to do something helpful.
But recognising those things takes Practice. There were some helpful tips last night including scheduling of a 3 step Breathing space before meals, because it's the remembering that can be so difficult in the middle of our days. Or trying to sense your body and taking 3 Mindful breaths when you eyes 1st open, instead of leaping out of bed in the rush to start your day. Or focussing on the sensations in your feet when you do get first get out of bed and perhaps slowing down those steps too. Find whatever works for you, but it is true that the more you practice, both formally and informally, the more accessible will be the tools to help when difficult situations arise...and they will, that's life! It's how we respond to them that we may have a chance to do with a little more skill.
A reminder that there are still some places available on the Mindfulness Day on Sunday 5th March -application forms on the Diary page of the website. It was lovely to hear the several positive accounts of how trepidation regarding the recent Mindfulness day turned into quite amazing experiences, but even those episodes which didn't feel quite so comfortable may also be very valuable learning opportunities which only arise when we have the time and space to really pay attention to our experience.
I am aware that the thought of a Mindfulness weekend can be daunting to some but we spoke last night of the great opportunity it offers to really deepen your Mindfulness practice in a supportive environment and to experience something you certainly won't have experienced before. There are only 10 places available for the residential retreat Friday 12th May evening to Sunday 14th May afternoon and in order to encourage anyone who would like to try it, TMG will be heavily subsidising this weekend and we have decided to reduce the price to £150 (for this weekend only) for a single room and £100 if you are willing to share a room. Full details will follow shortly but if you would like to reserve a place please email us here.
I have added the 2 poems we read last night below and hope to see some of you next month for the March meeting on Monday 6th March when Sheila Webb will be coming over from Tunbridge Wells to lead the session for us.
The Human Body at Peace with Itself - Tsongkhapa
The human body, at peace with itself,
Is more precious than the rarest gem.
Cherish your body - it is yours this time only.
The human form is won with difficulty,
It is easy to lose.
All worldly things are brief,
Like lightning in the sky;
This life you must know
As the tiny splash of a raindrop;
A thing of beauty that disappears
Even as it comes into being.
Therefore set your goal;
Make use of every day and night
To achieve it.
It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still and just like that,
something in me settles, softens,
makes space for imperfection. The harsh
voice of judgment drops to a whisper
and I remember again that life isn’t a relay race;
that we will all cross the finish line;
that waking up to life is what we were born for.
As many times as I forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I am going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, to be and walk
slowly into the mystery.