Gratitude

One of the most important aspects of mindfulness I’ve learnt so far is to acknowledge gratitude. I must admit it is something I took for granted but when I’ve actually reflected on how I have behaved over the years, it seems that much of life’s joy has indeed passed me by. This has been because I had failed to notice or I allowed it to pass by without any acknowledgment. I dismissed anyone’s praise. Without gratitude, we will potentially live a life in a quagmire of anxiety and negativity. So, what to do? Keep a gratitude…

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Autotelic experience

It is an end in itself. Look back at a recent enjoyable past event. Why was it joyful? Whilst there are several elements of joyful experience, one part is when it becomes intrinsically rewarding in itself. It is an end in itself. It is an end in itself. I was recently watching my daughter at a riding lesson. She was really concentrating bouncing on the saddle as they trotted but laughing out loud. I found myself intensely concentrating on hearing her laughter. Everything else in the world melted away. When we become so involved…

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Of joy & despair

Things happen, life happens. The last few weeks have been different. The week before last I attended the inauguration of my parents in law as Mayor & Mayoress of Bolton. We paid off our mortgage after several moves and 31 years of making payments. I was offered a new job. Liverpool FC winning their final game to ensure Champions League next season. Attending the leaving party of our popular practice nurse. Helping a good friend and also my sister, celebrate their birthdays. Listening to my daughter play Twinkle, twinkle on her violin for the first time.…

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Gratitude

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks and I didn’t know why? I could stare at my navel and come up with stuff but realistically it was just the rollercoaster of life. Sometimes we’re up and sometimes we’re down. For most, this is just minor fluctuations but for some of us, it’s quite a ride! One way to reduce the fluctuations is to use the mindful practice of keeping a gratitude log! Simply stated, one keeps a daily log of episodes of gratitude. Those of you that journal will already be doing this! It…

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Printing memories

Those that know me appreciate that I am an amateur photographer. Some of my photographs have been published here and my gallery is at 500px – click here for my site. Since we now all carry our phones we are all photographers and document our lives from the mundane to the dramatic. We have lots of ways to show these memories to the world – facebook, twitter, Instagram . . . They seem very ephemeral. I wonder what the current generation will be able to show of these historic times we live in (as I write…

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Going home again

Yesterday, I went back to my birth city. It had been several years as I had left home at 18 to attend University & had never wanted to go back. I’d had a difficult childhood. Cycling as a teenager was my escapism and I was always thinking of running away from home. I would pack my saddle bags & panniers and then be out all day. Finally coming home when late as I had nowhere to go, but it felt better whilst on the road plotting my escape. You have a lot of time…

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Through a child’s eye

I have recently returned from a few days vacation in Norfolk, UK with my wife and daughter. She is nearly six years old and I spent a good deal of time watching her. It reminds me of how we can lose our ability to notice life. It is so easy to be focused on work and such like, and fail to observe joyful life passing us by. So on the last couple of mornings, I walked to the beach with our dog and stood for a time. Pausing to drink in with each and…

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Rest for a calmer world

As the Easter break is upon us we have a longer weekend to enjoy.  We need to have rest throughout every day, but do you notice? Did you notice yesterday how you spent any downtime? Added to my reading list this week is Haemin Sunim’s bestseller, The Things You Can See When You Slow Down. A central tenet of this book is obviously slowing down to achieve calm, but also to notice the world around us. He points out that we can feel small and vulnerable as we perceive our minds to be small…

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Which is more important? Pleasure or enjoyment?

A professional colleague & friend suggested I read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s ‘Flow – The classic work on how to achieve happiness.’ I’m not that far in it yet, as it is quite a thought provoking book. So this week’s blog is about the difference of pleasure and enjoyment and which one you would rather, in your pursuit of happiness. A life absent of enjoyment does not mean that aspects can’t be pleasurable. There are two main ways to improve life – change the external environment to match our goals (such as buying stuff), and to change how…

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Shisa Kanko

I read a story via a posting on FB this week which held some resonance with me. ‘Known in Japanese as shisa kanko, pointing-and-calling works on the principle of associating one’s tasks with physical movements and vocalizations to prevent errors by “raising the consciousness levels of workers”—according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Japan. Rather than relying on a worker’s eyes or habit alone, each step in a given task is reinforced physically and audibly to ensure the step is both complete and accurate.’ Have you ever driven somewhere and arrived without…

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