Blog

Oneness. Photograph taken by Manny

“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” Hermann Hesse

This morning it was raining and a wispy mist hovered over Frodsham hill. This afternoon the sun is shining and the hill is clear and visible.  All things are in flux. All things change! 

A Day of Self Care and Self Appreciation was a wonderful event of nourishing ourselves and of gently inviting loving kindness into our mindfulness practice and of sharing our mindfulness experiences. I’m reminded of Kristen Neff’s words, “Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you’re good enough, self-compassion asks what’s good for you?” The inner critic or inner judge can often get in the way of or brutally quash the caring voice that’s nudging us towards taking time to rest and just be, so it was delightful for us all to have intentionally retreated from the busyness of daily life; doing so enabled us to commit to taking care of and to ask ourselves at intervals of the day, ‘what’s good for me, right now?’ The weather permitted us to enjoy sitting and walking meditations out of doors and we all lunched in the garden while chatting or choosing to be silent in far away corners. Later in the week, I chatted with a friend, who shared that she has a phrase that she says to herself in times of difficulty or when challenges arise. It is simply, "What would love do now?" I have since woven this phrase into many events! 

I am now looking forward to the next 8 week MBSR course that begins on Tuesday 2nd October at 6.15pm.

Thursday evening meditation classes have continued throughout the summer. We have been exploring what I call, ‘fluid shifts of attention’ that is a paradoxical contemplation of being with while letting go! The meditation group has welcomed 4 new people to our weekly class and the newcomers have become regular attendees…lovely!

In July I was at a 5 day Silent Self-Compassion Retreat and it was greatly needed. Moving into silence allowed me to deepen into the heart and into practice. Having left the retreat I have noticed deeper connections with others and all life with whom I co-exist. Being in the presence of and learning from Jack Kornfield proved to be inspiring and moving beyond words. 

Highlights of July and August include, 4 beautiful waterlilies flowering in our new pond (another lesson of what stories the mind can convince us to believe – we were sure the waterlily plant was poorly and would not produce flowers!); huge iridescent dragonflies hovering about the garden; being inches away from a fledgling bird of prey in Wales; witnessing hundreds of baby frogs hopping along a path at Delamere Forest; dappled sunlight during late evenings of walking the sandstone trail; a male blackbird feeding two of his offspring; magnificent and breath taking sunsets that have set the sky alight. Oh to be mindful of the precious and beautiful moments of daily events.

Go slowly. Go softly. Go mindfully.

Whispering grasses. Photograph taken by Manny

“Summer is a period of luxurious growth… .The bounty of the outside world enters and enlivens us” Paul Pitchford

The past couple of months have brought forth much joy. 

I have recently finished teaching the internationally renowned 8 week MBSR course, founded by Jon Kabat–Zinn. At the final session participants revealed what a powerful, life changing and life affirming course it is. As always, I feel privileged to have been on a mindfulness journey with such remarkable and courageous people.

Thursday evening meditation classes continue to attract newcomers some of whom have become regular meditators. A  newcomer remarked on what she felt to be a beautiful shared energy and how she was made to feel so very welcome. The meditation classes allow time for slowing down into stillness and silence while connecting with a kind and non judgemental community. Meditating in the presence of a group often lifts our spirits and helps to restore balance of body and mind. Many group members have commented on how while meditating it is uplifting to hear beautiful birdsong and gentle running water and how the meditation studio is light, airy and calming as the summer sun and early evening breeze find their way into the studio.  1:1 mindfulness sessions continue and it is wonderful to be sharing the benefits of mindfulness practice in these 1:1 classes. 

The meditation retreat I attended in May was absolutely wonderful. We walked silently through and sat in magical glades. We meditated by waterfalls and beneath ancient trees and morning and evening skies. A much, much deeper appreciation of and connection with nature was cultivated. The boundaries between inner and outer landscapes dissolved. Wonderful! 

I have many meditation retreats to look forward to! This month I will be attending a 7 day silent mindfulness and self compassion retreat that will deepen my practice while taking care of and nourishing myself.

In early July I will be in London to listen to and learn from the renowned teacher and author Jack Kornfield. What an honour to be in his presence! Mid July, I will be attending a weekend retreat in Herefordshire and another in August in Scotland. I am grateful for all of these opportunities that not only deepen my meditation practice but also inform my teaching and the choices I make in day-to-day living.

There are too many wonders to note in this months blog but some include, a week of walking at my beloved Suffolk at which we spotted a baby crow, fledgling blue tits, swallows and hen harriers. It was wonderful to rest on the hot pebbles at Aldeburgh beach while soaking up the sun with the song of the sea in the air. We also enjoyed concerts at the Britten Studio, Blythburgh Church and the magnificent Ely Cathedral. The cherry tree in the garden is heavy with ripe red cherries that the blackbirds are thoroughly enjoying! Early and late evening forest walks are delightful as is watching the sun setting. The lakes at Hatchmere and Delamere are exquisite at this time of year.

For now all is joyful and graceful and I am thankful.

 

 

Momentous Murmuration. Photograph taken by Manny

“Every Spring is the Only Spring, a Perpetual Astonishment” Ellis Peters

World news can make us feel that all about us is tumultuous and full of uncertainty and fear. The pace of daily life seems to be accelerating.  At such times, our mindfulness practice invites us to slow down and to be with our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations with gentleness. The Thursday evening meditation class recently chatted about how the opportunity to slow down, to nurture inner spaciousness and to meditate in the presence of a supportive group are nourishing, grounding and reassuring. Bringing into our awareness what is within close proximity to us in the immediacy of a moment reminds us that there are many wonderful and heartening facets of life. We also noted that soon we will not be needing to light the candles in the meditation studio because the nights are growing lighter and that when the weather improves we will be able to meditate out of doors. Welcome to the newcomers who have joined the meditation group.

In May I will be attending a retreat that through mindfulness practice will deepen my connection and interactions with nature. I look forward to long walks, to sitting practices on the top of a mountain or by a river and to meditating beneath the stars. In late June I will be attending a 7 day silent retreat to further deepen my meditation and mindfulness practice.  I am grateful for opportunities to slow down, rejuvenate the senses and to be able to connect with other mindfulness practitioners.

The 8 week internationally acclaimed MBSR course is now fully booked and I am very much looking forward to sharing mindfulness practice with all of those who have chosen to learn about and to practice mindfulness.

Wonders that have warmed my heart are experiencing in March early evening starling murmurations at Northwich; spotting two brambling birds who are now regularly visiting our garden; discovering that a wood pigeon is nesting in a pine tree in the garden; the delightful and uplifting swathe of yellow daffodils that can be seen in Helsby and Frodsham; the exquisite blousy blossom trees; the bulging buds of magnolia that are about to burst and flourish and finally attending a beautiful wedding in Glasgow. We only have to pause and invite into our awareness all that is joyful and heart warming.

All is well. Go gently. Go softly.