Spring is upon us and Mindfulness certainly helps me to appreciate the beauty which is around us all the time. When we're caught in autopilot, as we are so much of the time,we can often miss the wonderful white and pink blossoms, the swathes of yellow daffodils and the vivid greens which are all around us. Waking up to all of this can really put a spring in your step, no pun intended!
Mindfulness practice can be very helpful in helping us to manage difficulties in our lives but equally, if not more important, is the way it can help us turn towards the lovely stuff which is all around us, and so easy to miss. This appreciation of the good things around us can resource us when things are more difficult, and being human means that life will always have its fair share of ups and downs. The question is can we learn to be more present with all of it? Can we see it all more clearly and therefore put ourselves in a better position possible to respond with a bit more skill to whatever we face, good or bad.
I was reminded of the importance of being able to resource oneself in nature, after going for a more Mindful walk recently, which really helped following a difficult conversation. On returning I listened to a new short meditation on Compassion by Mindfulness teacher Christina Feldman which resonated with me. This,and many more, can be found on a brilliant new app released by the Oxford Mindfulness Centre which is currently only available for Apple phones. It has all the meditations from the MBCT course but also a great selection of meditations of varying lengths for people who have already done an 8 week course. If you don't have an iphone you can still stream the practices from the website after registering. You can find it here.
Apps like these can be helpful in supporting your Mindfulness practice, as can the Monthly Sitting groups or even postings like this. But the most important thing to do is to practice. Even if for a few minutes each day. And you may have noticed that it's at times when you are most busy, where there seems to be more and more things to do, when you feel you've got no time to practice....well that is precisely the time when you most need to practice! But it's the remembering to practice that is always the sticking point, no matter how long you have been practicing for. So scheduling some regular time each day to just Be can help.
And to really immerse yourself in awareness there are still some places at the Mindfulness residential retreat weekend in May at the amazing price of £150 for an all inclusive weekend. Details can be found here.
Mindfulness continues to grow in popularity as more and more people recognise the importance of looking after ourselves from not just a physical perspective but also from a psychological one too.
There is an upcoming Mindful Living Show in London on 2nd and 3rd June that some of you might find interesting. I know a couple of committee members are going so if you wanted to attend with others from TMG just email us and we can put you in touch.
Youtube can also be a useful resource and I recently came across an interesting 3 minute Youtube video which explains simply about how Mindfulness affects your brain. It's called Mind The Bump and well worth a look.
The fact that you are reading this likley means that, whether or not you still practice, you remember the benefits of Mindfulness. And I am aware that many people who have done a course find great benefit from having done so, even though they may not come to the monthly groups etc. I recently met someone who did a course a couple of years ago and discovered that she was practicing every day ,and finding it really helpful in her life, although I had not had any recent contact with her. Some of you may not practice so regularly but still find what you learnt useful. We are all different and the important thing is doing what works for you.The beauty of Mindfulness practice is that there is always more to learn...you never complete the course, because the real Mindfulness course is life itself and how we relate to all aspects of it. So keep practicing!
No matter how tough things are, turning towards the good things in our lives can really help. Pablo Neruda's quote says this beautifully....
"You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot stop Spring from coming."