Sunday, 5 August 2018

5 in 5 - August 2018 - Mindfullness On The Go

Welcome to '5 in 5' where on the 5th of 
each month I post 5 photos that I have 
taken in 5 minutes.

I am not new to meditation and mindfulness but when this book was recommended by a friend I decided it had a place on my bookshelf. The author, Padraig O'Morain, lists ideas and ways of being mindful within our busy lives and that has got to be useful, hasn't it! As I considered what photos to take for this months 5in5 I saw this quote:
Let there be

an opening

into the quiet

that lies beneath

the chaos,

where you find

the peace

you did not think


and see what shimmers

within the storm.

- Jan Richardson

And so this month I thought I would share some of the suggestions, and things that I have been doing:

Most of us look forward to our first drink of the day, but rather than drink this while you flick through the newspaper, social media, or think about all the things that you need to do - just take a couple of minutes to pause. Bring awareness to any aroma, the colour, and surface of your drink - for example, is it smooth, frothy, are there any bubbles, reflections or movement? How does the cup feel in your hand? Notice what you notice, and then as you take your first sip again bring attention to any sensations, taste, texture, and feelings. Just allow your mind to notice these, and if it wanders away just bring it gently back. Notice how much more you enjoy your drink when you are paying gentle attention.

When we eat we can sometimes get into bad habits. We might watch tv curled up on the sofa, or dash around eating a sandwich, and before we know it our plate is empty! It doesn't matter that we might have spent ages preparing and cooking a meal, or maybe choose something special, so pausing to enjoy time eating can give pleasure and be a more satisfying experience. So, similar with the drink, give attention to the food you are about to eat. Notice the colour, texture, and temperature; and if you eat a biscuit or piece of fruit, notice how it feels to hold it in your hand. Are there any sounds as you bite into it? Just give a few minutes to notice what you notice, and become more aware of the enjoyment of eating.

In our busy and distracted lives we can sometimes forget to listen  and instead, as someone speaks, we might be thinking of a response or something that we want to say.  So another mindfulness practice involves truly listening, and giving the other person our full attention. As well as making that person feel valued, it allows our busy minds a moment to pause and to be in the present, rather than jostling to be in the future.  

One of my favourite practices is to sit quietly and just to notice what sounds I hear. One way to increase this experience is to notice what you can hear in front, each side, from behind, above and below. Listen for different frequencies, as some sounds are more difficult for our human ear to pick up, and be prepared to be surprised. When I was at the river the other day the tide was out and I was surrounded by thick mud. But as I listened I could quietly hear the movement of water, even though there was no visible sign. 

Another practice I enjoy which you can do anywhere, is to be aware of your own presence.  Notice your breathing, the rhythm, or where the breath is coming from (chest or belly). If opportunity allows, sit quietly with your eyes closed; but you can still do this effectively with your eyes open if you are sitting in traffic or for an appointment which is running late. There is much evidence that mindfulness can create a calming influence, so much better than feeling irritated or anxious!  

Or do a body check: Start at your head and work down each part of your body, noticing what you notice without judgement or focus. If unwanted thoughts intrude, allow them to pass in a gentle way, and return to your practice.  

As well as using your body, you can also notice what ever is around. I enjoy watching clouds, reflections, or the way the wind blows through the leaves; but there are so many different ways of practicing mindfulness.  Living in the present moment has so many benefits, and it also enriches simple every day experiences and makes us more aware and in tune. For anyone interested, you can use mindfulness when taking photos and I wrote about this back in January 2017, in 'Adventures in Seeing'.

So, thank you for visiting!  If you would like to join in this month's challenge you have until 25th to take your photos and post a link to your blog. Here's how it works:

1.  Choose a location.

2.  Have your camera ready.

3.  Set a mobile timer for 5 minutes.

4.  Take as many photos you can until the time is up.
5.  Choose 5 photos to download and share by using the link tool (for this month only please go HERE to link)
   You have until the 25th of the month to add your photos and if
you want to know more about 5in5 there are details here.

And one more thing - when you use the link tool, please click on your post title.  This will show the web address. Please right click, copy and paste this as your link.  This will take readers directly to your '5 in 5' blog page and be easier for them to find.

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