Be Kind

This week’s yoga theme is mindfulness. Calming and clearing the mind. So what about those days or months when it just won’t calm. You worry. Over analyse. Catastrophise. Become obsessive. Anxious. What then?

My honest answer. Be kind.

I saw this quote today in one of my mindful workbooks and everything in me agreed. What if you could just be kind. What if that was your only aim. Be kind with your mind. It’s doing its best to protect you. It just gets a bit overzealous at times. Mine can be totally over the top throwing me into sleepless nights and exhausted days as it rubiks cubes everything it can’t control. I understand. I have so much compassion for people who are anxious. I had years of suffering chronic anxiety before I found the path I’m on, and even now I know anxiety is something we dance with all our lives.

I just don’t think mindfulness should be yet another way we harshly judge ourselves. See it as more of a ray of light to guide and soothe you. A warm sunbeam you can bathe in when it’s there, and on the days it’s hidden by clouds of thoughts, try not to panic. The sun is always shining. The clouds will part.

I love this mindful journal long book. It contains page after page of simple joy. Enjoy your home, the thrill of saying no (jono), the colours, textures, sounds, stories. If you have Netflix there’s a beautiful film called The Secret, Dare to Dream. It’s all about gentle hope. When was the last time you lay back just to listen to music? The joy of sound.

A friend recently bought me this blue angel. I love stained glass. It has pride of place in my indigo room. Angels mesmerise me. I love the thought of a being so pure its energy can cleanse the densest of places.

The little plant was bought as a baby. I adopt plants. My heart breaks as I see them dying on shop shelves. Dying of thirst. So I adopt them all. Crazy plant lady! This one utterly surprised me this morning by sprouting flowers as a thank you.

If you get the chance today, be kind to your mind. A form of mindfulness. Notice the things you love. Remember little moments that touched your heart. Allow your feelings to flow as you trust the inner river, whether it’s tears or joy. Let it flow. Watch the process with lovingkindness and you’re being mindful.

If you’re feeling creative I’ll leave you with a little story prompt. This one made me laugh. I could just imagine my cats getting so fed up of me that they finally speak. What would they say? 🤣

Feel Here Now

It was the first frost yesterday. I dashed out with my camera to capture the diamonds dancing across every surface, sparkling in the sunlight. Perfect in their impermanence.

This week we are exploring how we can ease our mind through yoga. One way, for me, is dropping into beauty. Taking the time to drink in the beauty around me. Sights, smells, textures, tastes. It evokes a vibrant humming gratitude within my heart.

It doesn’t mean I don’t feel my feelings. When I’m sad I cry. When I’m scared I freeze. When I’m confused I huddle in the muddle. I allow my feelings to wash through me as I process them, normally with a cat in tow. Cats have a knack of knowing when you’re emotionally constipated.

No matter what you are feeling, you are still allowed to access the here and now. Sometimes we think we have to sort ourselves out before we can let go and enjoy living. How would it feel to let go and favour the senses of your body over your tangled thoughts and emotions. It’s not denial or escapism. It’s a way of creating space, of giving your nervous system a break, and it actually helps your brain to problem solve. It’s way of telling yourself that no matter what you face you are alive today and worthy of self love. Worthy of giving yourself the time and care to taste your tea and smell a rose.

Sometimes I dance with my emotions as I do this. I write about the dying rose I’m witnessing as I drop into the space within me that is also experiencing a death or a transition. I eat dark, bitter foods, like cacao, when I’m facing dark intruding experiences. Processing even through my taste. Being here now, but also mingling with my inner world. Mindfulness doesn’t just have to be ignoring your thoughts. It can be a gentle favouring of a physical sensation which then gives your mind enough space to process and feel in order to integrate (another word for yoga).

We don’t do this in order to integrate. We do this because we are here to live. We were given life so that we could enjoy living (I believe).

My mum always taught me that it’s OK to try and untangle yourself, but don’t forget to live. She urged me to enjoy every day, as much as I can. Let go of worry and be in the moment, in any way possible. She said this as she was terminally ill, having just lost her husband. She said this smiling. Fathomless.

At times these words were beyond my reach. With age, they’ve settled into my bones and being. I make sure, every day, I take the time to fully enjoy something beautiful and be here now. Cry my cry but drink my tea, or as mum once hilariously said “quit your whining and put your wine in”.. 😂🍷

Self Care 2

One of the things that’s brought me simple nourishment has been a gentle practice of gratitude.

I found this little journal in WH Smiths a few weeks ago. It’s so beautiful and full of inspiration. It reminds me of the things already in my life that make me happy x

I found a way to cat proof my plants. I now have hanging gardens lol. I’m surrounded by little bits of beauty and wonder every day. I just need to drink them in. Flowers, cats, books, friendship, light, colours. It’s endless.

What will you soak into your heart today?

Self Care

Focusing upon self care this week is a real gift. Self care for the physical body, or Annamaya kosha in yoga.

Part of this week’s care is daily walks with a camera. Yesterday I hung out with the squirrels at Coventry Cathedral. They eat out of your hand and just melt my heart. I went to Wilkos to buy them peanuts and spent the next hour in simple joy. A man stood to my left doing the same. We smiled at each other in quiet recognition of the simple, slow things in life. He said he did this often. Maybe I should too.

I’ve been reading a book on slow living. Appreciating the beauty and bounty all around you. Savouring each day and daily journeys.

When you take pictures, it helps you to really see.

I love moss. It’s so soft but strong, ancient and silent. It has always given me a quiet awe, then I found out that it’s one of the oldest plants on earth. You’ll often find me stroking it as I walk by, wondering why others don’t.

Have you experienced the story The Secret Garden? All she wanted was a piece of earth. It healed her soul. It healed her friends body. The magic of nature.

This beautiful garden is in the city centre. I always gaze through the gate, wondering how it would feel to sit within its strong walls, feeling held. I’ve never seen a soul in there. I wonder why? You wouldn’t be able to prise me out.

Sometimes I write my dreams on a leaf and then set it free to the earth or float it on a body of water. The ancients believed trees were an axis to the heavens. A conduit for prayers. It makes sense to me.

As part of your self care for the body, why not slip outside quietly, take a camera and capture the soft magic. I’d love to see what you find. I love sharing my soul with you. Maybe you could share yours too x

With love and kindness for your journey, Amanda xx