Mindful spending

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Mindful spending

Mindful spending

So, I have thought about this over the past day or so, and the rules for my decreased spend month are, essentially, quite straightforward. I will only buy food that is absolutely necessary, using up what is in my cupboard first, and I will refrain from buying any new clothes, make-up and toiletries, unless I absolutely need to. This is not about utter deprivation, but it is about spending more mindfully. For that reason, I will not spend on new material goods, other than essentials, but I will use money (as wisely as possible) on travel and experiences that simply

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Learning from loss: a quick catch-up

I’m sorry it has been a little while since I’ve written.  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year!   Our festive period was quite strange and emotional, due to the loss of my grandmother, but we enjoyed family time together and really made the best of it.  Unfortunately on New Year’s Eve, the day after my grandma’s funeral, we had to take my beloved cat, Maisie, to the vet to be put to sleep.  She has been unwell recently, the prognosis was not good, and we knew it was only a matter of time.  The

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Thoughts on living and dying

It is easy to forget, in the rain and the routine, the aches and pains of each day, what a tremendous privilege it is to be alive.   Proximity to death brings a kind of urgency about life that one can quickly lose in the humdrum of work, commuting and making dinner.  Having just witnessed the passing of my beloved grandmother, I am feeling a range of emotions from sadness to gratitude to emptiness.  But, within the grief, there is also an overwhelming urge to live.  To stop worrying, stop complaining, stop being fearful, stop clinging onto things not meant

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Monday morning mindfulness

Monday morning mindfulness

Sometimes, whether because of a difficult week, an upsetting conversation or just a general, existential feeling of sadness and ‘flatness’, we need to narrow down what we are focusing on and giving our time to, just temporarily.   This is where going back to the basics and keeping it simple really helps.  It’s a cleansing experience, a necessary and often reassuring one. Today, focus on the everyday tasks or habits, in your work day or whilst at home, and try to carry them out with consciousness.   Whether you are rinsing out a mug, filing papers or drinking a cup

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The struggle after acknowledgement

The struggle after acknowledgement

When we’re talking about behaviours we want to change, habits that are no longer helpful to us, acknowledgement is the first step and, for some people, the hardest.  Noticing our behaviours, our emotions and our triggers is absolutely vital if we are to make positive changes. But I’ve realised, through my own experience, that acknowledgement doesn’t automatically equal change.  It seems to be a facet of human nature (or at least my own!) that we can absolutely know that something is unhelpful or even harmful, but we continue to do it anyway.  Sometimes that is necessary, for a while, until

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Why should it take an earthquake?

Why should it take an earthquake?

I’ve been thinking, this morning, about how quickly one’s perspective can change, often through illness or a sudden event that causes us to focus on what’s important. I have often listened to people who have faced trauma or long-term, serious illness and been inspired by their views.  Then, inevitably, I have thought ‘What if it didn’t take something so huge and catastrophic to force us to re-evaluate our lives and our values?’ I had an awful dose of tonsillitis just before the summer.  I was at home, off work, for almost a week, in a lot of pain, shivering, sweating

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The eternal ocean

The eternal ocean

One would not, upon the stars, dream of placing a temporary condition of the heart; a means by which they could become fuller, more beautiful, more complete. Yet you, of stardust and stillness, made of the very same things, swill the air and the waves into chaos not knowing there is an eternal ocean beneath where all of your restlessness can have its moment and then pass, honoured but not believed. Be not afraid. Lay your tender heart open. All in nature is complete, and cannot be broken.

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Simple things to do when you’re feeling sluggish

Simple things to do when you’re feeling sluggish

We all have those days when we feel a bit ‘off’.  Sluggish, tired, fed up or just a bit blue for no real reason. These are a collection of easy things to try when you’re feeling that way.  They cost nothing and take little time, but they always help me to feel refreshed and just that little bit brighter. Drink a glass of ice cold water (lemon optional!)  Not drinking enough water can make you feel bloated, sluggish and just as though your body is not quite working at its optimum.  I feel immediately better once the water has passed

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How to remain mindful on busy days

How to remain mindful on busy days

No matter how busy you are, there is always time to breathe, to be quiet and to regain your connection to the present moment. It’s a constant reminding, a constant re-focusing of your attention.  And it isn’t always easy. You might only achieve it for a few seconds at a time at first, but that’s progress.  It often feels easier to just let our minds run away with us and repeat those same old thoughts, stories and complaints over and over.  Despite the fact that we are sick of them, there is something strangely comforting and familiar about indulging in

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Wise words

Wise words

Let me preface this by saying that I am in love with words.  I love literature, I enjoy a good chat or discussion and I am a bit obsessed with language in general–names, etymology and learning new words or phrases I hadn’t come across before. However, taking part in an introductory silent retreat this past year opened my eyes to the ways in which we overuse language and how it is possible to communicate well, whilst saying very little. The thought of the silent retreat didn’t particularly worry me.  I was a bit nervous about whether I would just blurt

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