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Not the latest fad or new-age fashion

Mindfulness is not the latest fad or new-age fashion. It’s been around for thousands of years. The scope of this post is not to explore origins, rather, how mindfulness works and what can be done to maintain positive mindful practice.

It’s like a diet in some senses; if you don’t do it, there won’t be any benefits.

I noticed considerable argument surrounding a UK television programme on social media regarding how mindfulness can be used to alleviate problems associated with Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Some say it can, some say not. I wonder how many of the “not” camp reside in the pharmaceuticals industry?

So, there you go. I’ve just blown my cover. I am proudly a member of the “yes it can” camp.  But don’t forget what I said; use it or lose it!

That’s a challenge with most children, young adults and adults alike. Generally, we’re brought up not living mindfully. For the greater part of our lives, we react to events. Worrying about what we did or didn’t do in the past and about what the future will bring, or not. Doing that we lose our attachment to the present moment. One of my favourite sayings is, “life is right now, in this moment.” This is mindfulness.

It’s about noticing what is happening right now in this moment.

Having awareness of what your body senses. Feeling emotions in your body, through positive or negative sensations. Noticing what’s happening in your mind.

What happens when you start noticing these experiences?

Awareness of what’s happening around you will enable deeper focus, and attention to your own senses will develop improvement in many aspects of life.

Improved focus can advance sports, educational or musical achievements for example. Any high-achiever will tell you that. Read about how great athletes prepare for a race. It’s not just about being physically fit. Mindfulness can help reach higher examination grades too. We always do better when we pay direct attention to our life-activities.

Noticing what’s happening around you, can help you to calm down when you’re sad, angry or frustrated. Mindfulness helps you deal with difficult emotions and can lift a dark mood. It can even assist recovery from chronic illnesses or addiction. I have my own evidence for that through personal experience which you can read about or listen to elsewhere. We will come to that.

Humans are pretty good at judging and reacting too. Think about it. How often have you seen somebody dive in and take apart a person or group because of something they’ve said or done? Here’s another aspect of mindfulness; without judgement and staying neutral yet maintaining curiosity.

That sounds tricky doesn’t it? It’s not as tough as it sounds but we may be carrying some baggage from our lives that makes it seem difficult at first. Once we parcel that baggage and learn to put it into our experience boxes and move on, it’s not so difficult.

So, if I could show you the space where mindfulness resides, I would point to this great quote from Stephen R. Covey’s bestseller, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Covey talked about Viktor Frankl, a famous psychiatrist imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during WW II

“They could control his entire environment, they could do what they wanted to his body, but Victor Frankl himself was a self-aware being who could look as an observer at his very involvement. His basic identity was intact. He could decide within himself how all of this was going to affect him. Between what happened to him, or the stimulus, and his response to it, was his freedom or power to choose that response.” 

We all have that freedom or power to choose how we respond to any situation the moment it arises. It’s how we respond that matters.

How does mindfulness work?

When someone says something we don’t like to hear, we react. Sometimes we say something and wish to retract it as soon as it’s spoken. Or we are knocked down by the emotion caused by an event.

Mindfulness helps us create space between emotions and actions. We learn to deal with positive and negative experiences more calmly and by making better decisions.

If we are mindful of our thoughts and feelings, we respond positively and, without hurting our own or the feelings of others. Sometimes life packs hard punches. Practising mindfulness gives us the ability to recover faster and move on.

So, mindfulness works with the daily ups and downs of life and can also lead to outstanding results with major events such as chronic illness as I have proved to myself along with countless others.

It wouldn’t be fair to leave you hanging on a statement like that, but I will for now and until I get back to you, I encourage you to seek more information with an open mind. There’s plenty out there.

Additionally, I’m involved with a project called, “Courage To Connect” where you can read about part of my journey into mindful living and those of several other authors. Watch out for more information.

Peace, Love and Light,

Steve

This was January Blogged

This is rather short notice but having said that, if you go with this idea, it should take only a couple of minutes to respond.

I often feel sad that I am letting some of you down because I don’t have enough time in the day to read every blog post that lands in my inbox. Such a pity because there is so much to learn.

For a while, I’ve been thinking about ways to overcome this but I have to accept that I simply can’t read every post that comes my way. So, here’s a plan . . .

If you send me three of your own blog posts consisting of header, a few enticing words with each and the link to the original, I will post them on a monthly digest on the last day of the month. Yes, as I said, rather short notice this month but it shouldn’t take long.

This could be the start of something wonderful for all of us. If it works, I will blog a reminder post close to the end of each month and publish our digest on the last day.

Hope you have a great day.

Namasté, Steve

Affirming The Positives

How often have you been overwhelmed with a headful of, ‘no, don’t do it,’ messages?

When you stop and calm yourself, another voice permeates your mind. This one is often calm and certain and you can trust this voice from your sub-conscious. Perhaps better known as intuition, it knows things not always accessible to the ego out there in the conscious mind.

No, I’m not having a go at the ego; it is only trying to protect you but it isn’t in possession of the whole story.

Your intuition is great at sending signs. How often have you seen that advertising banner and ignored it? No reason really, it just hasn’t grabbed your interest. Today though, something has changed. That poster stands out, intrigues you, and other signs have arrived recently and point in the same direction. They might not carry the specific message from the poster but you know the repeated signs relate. Something has to be done to follow a new road in pursuit of your goals.

How often have you felt an odd pull to do something different? Nothing dramatic; I’m talking about getting off the bus a stop earlier than usual. That pull might lead you to an opportunity that wouldn’t have occurred if you got off at your regular stop. It might just be clarity of thought, bumping into an old friend or helping somebody to cross the road. You don’t need a clear reason to leave the bus a stop early; let your feet do the walking. See where they take you.

Every week, I try to do something new. Often it’s not of any great consequence (sometimes it is) but it’s amazing how new opportunities present because of it. Starting a chat on another person’s blog can lead to new opportunities or ideas for example. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering but it has to be a regular activity, whatever that might be.

Making new connections can change your life, the way you do something, find you a new friend. The possibilities are there for the taking if you are brave enough to make the step of connecting. If you have a feeling you should connect, trust your intuition, go for it.

Have you ever been told to follow your dreams? I tell our children to do just that frequently. Don’t wait for New Year to make resolutions you can’t keep or think that just because you have achieved a major goal you should stop. Make a plan, build slowly, revise, work your way up to the big ones but, most of all, don’t stop following your dreams.

Lot’s of people use affirmations. I do it every day . . .

  • I wish Peace, Love and Happiness to my family this day
  • I will achieve my goals today
  • I will connect with a new person on Social Media who has an interesting profile today

You might have a more general longer term affirmation . . .

  • I will do whatever I can to contribute to peace for all on the planet

The important thing about affirmations is that you keep them in your mind, on your wall, screen. Keep them close, they amazingly influence you and the people around you.

So why am I writing about these things? Simple really; I practice and believe in them and know they make a positive difference. You will find them in my writing too, in the things I post on Social Media. They are not magic or mumbo jumbo but they do have an incredible effect on my life. By sharing, I hope they will lead to positivity in yours too and, the world needs plenty of that.

Homeless Ashes Feature Film

In the northern hemisphere, we head to our shortest day. Friends in the south enjoy their summer and I smile as Luna Moon Hare heads toward another battle between the holly and oak kings. She’s carried the crown dropped by the oak king in his defeat against the holly king back on the longest day of 2017. The next battle takes place on Thursday, 21 December at a little before 17:30 CET.

The oak king is favourite to win this next battle marking the start of his journey to bring rebirth and light back to our part of the world. The wheel of life keeps turning and the holly king is expected to win in the south.

That, my friends, is only the tip of the story which is one of many that all point to the same outcome; rebirth and light.

When the earth was created there was darkness and light followed. The sun is our living and divine fire, representing our own internal light. Chadogya Upanishad talked about a long highway going to two places; one at the start, another at the end. The rays of the sun do the same, starting at the sun; they enter the human body, start from there and enter the sun. We are light and we burn away the darkness on our journey to enlightenment.

This story is told to a traveller who has lost his way at the start of my next but one novel, Supper in Jerusalem. Upon hearing the story, he realises the path he must follow starting with one of his greatest strengths; compassion. He sees disaster all around him and hears the call to challenge.

Similarly, I see disaster in our modern society but not something from Supper in Jerusalem. I see Homelessness and it’s not something just to notice at Christmas.

Actor, Marc Zammit is working on a project to focus attention on homelessness through a full length feature film, Homeless Ashes. This crowd funded project needs to raise £95,000 to complete this outstanding film. A large amount but nothing compared to the costs of a romcom.

Marc is passionate and committed to the project and will not stop until this film is made.

Raised on a council estate, he has been acting for 17 years. Unable to afford drama school, Marc worked delivering milk from the age of 12 to help fund his career. When he went to drama school, he made a promise that if he were to reach success in his career, he would give something back to the community. He has gone from strength to strength and has found the path to make a film he believes will make waves.

Homeless Ashes is a dramatic feature film that will raise awareness of homelessness but it will also be an entertaining film. It will take you on an emotional rollercoaster and is full of raw passion while highlighting the issues of homelessness.

In 9 locations, on 1 day and 10 hours hard work . . .

‘. . . we managed to film the short on a £700 budget!’

If you can help Marc complete this film by offering a small donation, please visit Homeless Ashes at Indiegogo . You can watch the short there too. Every donation counts and you may even find yourself on the end credits!

Please share this post and let’s see if we can make a difference to the Homeless Ashes budget.

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