Tag Archives: mindful meditation

A new year and a new hope

Happy New Year!

What do you plan to do with the year ahead? It’s traditional to look back on the year gone by and to work out what you want / need to do for the coming months. It’s a time for planning, for resolutions, for looking at yourself, I’ve done my share of introspection, and thought I’d share my findings with you.

It’s been very apparent over the past year or so that we’re living in an angry society, where so many people seems to be railing against so much. The slightest thing seems to set them off, and there seems to be little thought given to care and compassion for others. You don’t need to look very far to see examples of this, and I wrote about some of our experiences earlier this year.

If I have a resolution for this year it is to be kinder to and less judgmental of others. It’s to be more thoughtful, more caring, and to do more for those less fortunate than myself. In other words, I need to be more mindful of all I say or do, and how that affects others. In order to do that well, I need to show myself compassion, and set boundaries where none existed before.

To that end, I need to let go of the last of the toxic relationships and friendships in my life. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort over the last couple of years trying to explain what issues I had to those who were causing me pain, and I thought that they would take that on board. I thought that they’d try to find some sort of common ground, some way of resolving those issues, but I have been mistaken.

It’s taken me a long time, but I have realised that those people will never change, and they will never even try to see things from my point of view. For the sake of my own mental health, I have to accept that there will never be a happy resolution with these people, and that I need to stop hoping for one and get on with my life.

My “new hope” for 2018 is therefore that people will start being kinder and more thoughtful, that rather than descending into something from Lord of the Flies, we can help ourselves and help other people.

At the risk of diluting this message, back in 1989 Bill and Ted hit on the right idea, and I thought I’d leave you with a reminder…


When not Writing I…

…spend a lot of my time writing!


My work means that I spend a lot of time on a keyboard, whether it’s in answering emails, writing documentation, reviewing someone else’s documents or other things like that.  I’m not a full time Writer, and what I do on this blog is entirely for my pleasure. I find it a way of managing my thoughts, of making order out of the myriad of things going on in my head, and in some cases even making sense of the world around me.  I don’t believe I’ll ever be a published author (because I don’t think I’ll ever try), and I’m never sure how many people actually read my blog anyway.

So, when I’m not writing for work, or Writing for pleasure, how do I fill the time and why?  Family takes up a lot of time, and I love spending my days and nights with them.  We like to go on day trips, road trips, afternoons out, to all sorts of places and for a number of different activities.  Dee and I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in bookshops, and are continually seeking out interesting volumes on a wide range of topics, though rarely fiction.  That’s because one of our other favourite pastimes is reading: we’ve always got several books on the go at once.

Other than those, my main distraction is generally music, whether listening to it or playing bass. That and walking I find helps clear my mind, to simply be, and they help me to return to every day life refreshed and full of new ideas.

If I had extra time, would I write more?  I don’t think so.  I enjoy the time I spend writing my blog articles, and I enjoy reading other people’s blogs, but I think if I had more time I’d find other ways of spending it.  My diverse ideas are finite and I wouldn’t want to get to the end of them too soon!  I’d like to spend that extra time becoming more adept at mindful meditation, and practicing mindfulness.  I’d like to be more thoughtful – or at least, less thoughtless. I’d probably try to complete a Tai Chi course we’ve been signed up for for ages, and I’d like to try yoga, though as a tall 50 year old slightly overweight bloke with very little flexibility, I think it would take me years even to be able to touch my toes without bending my knees!

London for the day – Image #99

Today Dee and I went to London to look for some specific items. We went to Camden Market looking for Tibetan Singing Bowls: we found some but decided not to get them as they seemed a little pricy. The market itself was buzzing, but not overly busy.

We then travelled south of the river and met up with my brother at Samye Dzong, which as well as having two Buddhist shrines also has tea rooms and a shop. We found and bought a singing bowl there, spent a couple of hours chatting over tea and spent a bit of time in Mindful Meditation.

A bus ride from there brought us to Denmark Street, near Tottenham Court Road. It’s also known as Tin Pan Alley and is renowned as the place to go for musical instruments. Even though it was late in the day, several shops were still open. You know you’re in the right spot of place when you can talk about a brand of bass they don’t have (but know of), ask what strings are best for the style of music you’re going to play and then spend the next 10-15 minutes hearing about the relative merits of the various options. As for the basses they did have – I could have spent a fortune!


Unfortunately, due to commercial pressures I’ve heard that much of the street is to be torn down so new modern buildings can out built instead. Music shops which have been there for decades will doubtless have to close and find somewhere else. I for one think it’s brilliant having so much variety and choice in the same stretch of 100 yards or so. If they do have to move, I hope the proprietors club together and open up in the same premises, a bit like a big department store perhaps. That would be awesome and would continue to bewitch us punters I’m sure.


It had to happen someday – Image #67

I’ve never seen any of the films (I think there’s more than one), and I’ve no idea what the characters are called, but I’ve finally given in and posted one of their many quotes (I’m guessing not all appear in the films)!


This one seemed pretty good, as a reminder of the Mindful Meditation course I finished a few weeks back. We can’t change the past, so let it go.  We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, so all that’s left is the present moment.  Make the best of every moment, be all you can be.


Apologies for the poor grammar and incorrect capitalisation (two things that wind me up, incidentally) but I had to leave you with something a bit upbeat: it is Monday after all, and 4 whole days before the weekend…

Do you mind? Image #57

Today has seen the end of my first course at evening class in many a year, and I have to say that I think I’ll miss it.  Every Friday for eight weeks Dee and I have gone along for a couple of hours to learn about and to practice Mindful Meditation, and tonight marked the end of the Beginner’s class.  It was taught by a bona fide Buddhist monk, and as he said we were getting the real deal!



Most people think it would involve sitting cross legged, chanting, with hands on your knees, thumb and middle finger touching: they couldn’t be more wrong.  On the course we learned how to meditate when sitting or walking, though standing and lying down are also “postures” which can be used.  You don’t necessarily clear your mind either: if you’re doing noticing meditation you let your mind go and just notice where it goes.

I’ve learned a huge amount from these classes. Not least is that, with regular practice (20 minutes a day), I can sleep soundly and wake refreshed every day.  I’m generally calmer, more rational, more chilled out.  Being aware of the moment, the now, and knowing that at that point in time that’s all there is, is liberating and refreshing.

I’d go as far as to say it’s been a life changing experience, and we will both be doing our best to continue the practice.  At some point we will definitely do the Advanced course, but that takes 6 months and requires sitting still for 4 hours at a time, so we’ll need to work up to that.

There’s a dinosaur in my… Image #29!

Picture the scene. It’s Friday night, the end of a long hard week. You’ve just spent an hour or so in a large church hall, being instructed in Mindful Meditation by a bona fide Buddhist monk who is wearing a wireless mic and whose mobile phone case matches his robes. Taking advantage of a comfort break, you go to wash your hands, and there’s a dinosaur on the sink!


There was a weird contradiction with Buddhist practices being taught in a Christian venue, and a monk using modern technology seems a little odd too, but plastic dinosaurs? Really? Just weird!

Incidentally, the monk has a wicked sense of humour, and we’ve noticed that he likes to start the second half of each session with a joke. and his jokes aren’t bad!

Got time for a quick rant for Image #28?

Driving through town the other day, we happened to be heading past one of the retail parks on the outskirts. On one side there are lots of different stores from toys, shoes, sports and clothes, and on the other side of the road there are a couple of DIY stores and a food hall.

On both sides of the road there was a coffee place from a well known chain, and on one side there are some fast food restaurants.  And here’s the crux of today’s post.

It's spelled "Through"!
It’s spelled “Through”!

Why do they all have Drive Through lanes? (Oh, and sorry, but I can’t bring myself to spell it the way it appears in the image!) Not only does it appear that we don’t have time in our lives now to sit and enjoy a coffee without having to be somewhere else, but we can’t even be bothered to use three extra letters!

Maybe it’s because I’m doing a Mindful Meditation course, which teaches that being in the present moment is everything, or maybe I’m just getting (more) cynical and irritable as I approach 50, but come on people, really? You can’t stop, go into the cafe, and sit down for 10 minutes with your coffee? You can hardly drink it on the move can you? I wonder how many accidents are caused by hot liquid seeping out of the top of a coffee cup while driving? What’s so important in life that you can’t sit back, try to unwind and just be?

Take the time, breathe and relax. Give yourself a break, for your own sake!