Category Archives: mindfulness

Live in the Present Moment

via Daily Prompt: Present

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One of my favourite lines from Winnie the Pooh, and, as with many Pooh sayings, profound. Today is the present moment, there is no other.

Living in the pesent moment has deep roots in many cultures. Living in the present moment is aided my a number of helpful practices, all mindful, all

I am told that among the Australian Aboriginal peoples there is Digerie, a contemplative practice. Notably, the word digerie is the root of digeridoo, the wooden wind instrument. Buddhism, Hinduism, Tao, and several other practices, all encourage meditation in some form. Even within the Christian tradition, meditation developed in the desert monastic communities of the third and fourth centuries. Now there are other non-aligned forms of meditation. Jon Cabat-Zinn at MIT has done substantial research in meditation, showing that it has multiple benefits. Meditation is a pure form of living in the present moment, putting aside all distraction and pressure and focussing on one’s breath and mantra is releasing. To put aside the current crisis, to let go of the tyranny of time, to engage with stillness and breathing is fabulous. Through meditation I can live in the present moment, and I find I’m better for it. I notice more about my responses, behaviour, and thinking. I am challenged to let go of the past and embrace the present. The stillness grounds me so that I am able to face doubt, and the endless permutations of my mind (the monkey mind, of which the Aussie version is a tree full of Galahs).

Jan Glidewell once said: “You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.”

When our lives are completely filled up with the stuff of doing, there is little time for being. Be still for a moment, breathe, focus, let time slip away, and make space in your arms for the present.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Don’t Lecture Me!

via Daily Prompt: Lecture

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Well, not if they’re good friends, and not if they’re excellent professionals in their field (counselling, medical, teaching …). Education has taken it’s own path in modern history from chalk and talk to interactive learning. TED Talks have offerd a variety of creative learning and engaging experiences through resentations that are more like a conversation than a lecture. While counselling has moved from directive processes to a person centered listening engagement. And parenting has, ever since PET and other more recent forms of parenting, moved from punishment based models to active listening and problem solving models. Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa led the push for a restorative justice model known as the Truth and Reconcilaition Commission (as already used in Argentina, Nepal and El Salvador) rather than a lecture/punishment model so that people could be heard on both sides.

If I’ve messed up I really don’t need someone to state the obvious, I just need to be heard. If you can get to my feelings, to my core, if you can enable to express my feelings, I can move one, I can grow, I can change. If we deal with the affective we can effect change within.

If you want me to learn you need to do more than just expect me to transfer your learning to pages or folders as your notes stored by me. If you engage me in conversation, discussion and other ways of interractive learning, then I will retain and learn, because I can value you and your experience if I am in turn valued. I grow by observing and by engaging, discussing,  with others. And, learning helps rewire the brain! Lectures are static in the main, whereas discursive learning and engagement are dynamic and empowering, drawing from the well deep within ourselves. Engage me, don’t lecture me!

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under community, education, life, mindfulness, psychology, self-development

Watch Me Pull A Real Me Out Of A Hat!

via Daily Prompt: Conjure

Rocky and Bulwinkle, it passed the time, and when I really should have been doing homework. Bulwinkle’s conjuring trick, which should be pure legerdemain, that polished slight of hand, becomes a comic twist, whereby the trick works, Bulwinkle conjures, he conjures all sorts of animals, in fact everything but a rabbit!

In another sense, how do we pull ourselves out of a hat? What of ourselves do we conjure? Do we pull out everything for the world to see, everything except the real me? The message of Bulwinkle is simply that he doesn’t do the trick properly, he’s half-hearted, sloppy. He doesn’t concentrate, he just rummages then pulls whatever he latches onto. He’s too busy trying to rush to impress. Life’s a bit that way too. If we want to achieve something but we’re not intentional in how we go about it then, it ends up misfiring, we don’t quite get to where we want to be. If we’re sloppy and half-hearted why should we expect our results to be any different? If Bulwinkle had wanted the rabbit he would have had to be more intentional about it. And that’s exactly what we need to do too, we need to be intentional about what it is we want for ourselves, otherwise we’ll conjure a whole lot stuff, but not the real thing. If we’re too busy trying to rush to impress, then we will always lack authenticity. Be Intentional about those aspects of yourself you wish to draw into the world for others to see.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Mnemonia

via Daily Prompt: Mnemonic

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I was never a mnemoniac. They drove me mad, I’d glaze over, and inevitably never grasp the process. One of the few I could ever quote was “i before e except after c” or “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Probably because it was short. I had the attention span of a drugged monkey. I’m still hazy about which months have thirty days, the mnemonic never helped “Thirty days have (white noise) …” In reality I couldn’t be bothered. Even now, memorising lists results in “Just shoot me.”

Mnemonic ( comes from Koine Greek: μνημονενμα) which meant – a record of the past, and so we promote memorising for learning. But, mnemonic also means to be mindful.

And so there is another form of mnemonic I do relate to, and that is learning from someone’s life. A person’s life can be a mnemonic or pattern that inspires. The names that have inspired me include: Martin Luther King Jnr., Rosa Parks, Maximilian Kolbe, Sir Edmund Hilary, Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Jimmy Carter, Simone Weil, John Muir, Dag Hammarskjold, the Dalai Lama, Parker Palmer, Aung San Suu Kyi, and so many others. I have taken something from each of them, something from their pattern of living, something that  inspires or makes sense. These people are living patterns, and through documentary, books, or watching them, I can see their way of being.

I’m not bothered how many days are in a month, but I am interested in mindfully attending to the wonderful examples of humanity around me, and learning from them.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under community, history, life, mindfulness, Spirituality

Insist

via Daily Prompt: Insist

“Insist upon yourself. Be Original.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Original me
so too, original you
outwaiting unique

©Paul

Indeed, be yourself, no one else will 🙃 besides, all you really have to do is show up!

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Go Minimal – Simplify

via Daily Prompt: Simplify

By way of mindful living, simplicity and minimalism have become bywords of a groundswell across the world to downsize and jettison clutter and unused material things. It seems to me that we are creatures of acquisition, we have to have stuff, but in the end it becomes dissatisfying, and we feel an urge to get rid of stuff, to downsize, simplify, minimalise.

In the 1970s came the BBC TV series ‘The Good Life’ a rollicking comedy, but with a serious undertone, that captivated many, and has inspired several generations to attempt a little of what they modelled. It’s a great story about Tom and Babara Good – Tom quits what he experiences as a meaningless job, and they put their middle class life behind them to live self sufficiently. It fed into permaculture, backyard farming and whole range of styles.

In the 90s Sarah Ban Breathnach published the beginning of a series of books called simple abundance. It was part of a worldwide movement at the time to downsize and take time. It wasn’t so much about self sufficiency as simplifying life. The movement was criticised as being popular among the wealthy who could afford to buy land in rural areas and drop out part time. For some, ironically,  it proved to be expensive to live simply.

In more recent years there has been a plethora of movements and leaders in the art of simplifying life.

The Minimalist Guys (https://www.theminimalists.com/game/ )  would be well known I’m sure. Their trademark is the the 30 Day Challenge. It’s game of throwing out (well giving away, donating, selling, etc.) what you are not using. The number items you throw out corresponds to the numerical value of the days in the month. So, Day one, throw out one item, Day two, throw out two items. By the time you get to Day thirty – thirty items (some friends of mine chose make that the day to toss out old mugs and cups), so a real challenge. There are many others now advocating the simple life, and with refreshing ideas on how to do it, like Lorilee Lippincott at https://lovingsimpleliving.com or the collective at www.anunclutteredlife.com .

Another way is the Small or Tiny House movement across several nations.

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It is very slowly catching on in some shires in Australia, but some shires are resisting or refusing to engage with this. Ironically, one of the issues is the cost in scaling down products for a small home. Some are on wheels, which gets around some regulations in various shires, as these are deemed moveable and impermanent. Local government can be weird about progress (but I’ll leave that for a rant later).

For many, these movements can be about gaining perspective, order, peace, and a mindful lifestyle. To undertake any of these simplifying ways helps the environment by reducing our carbon footprint, and the sheer materiality of our lives. Simplifying is a body, mind, soul, nature experience. I can’t argue with it, I believe we’re over-sized on every level as it is. It’s very hard to let go of stuff, but let go we must for the sake of ourselves, each other, and nature too.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under environment, life, mindfulness, minimalism, nature, permaculture, Spirituality

Tend

via Daily Prompt: Tend

In the world around me the feedback loop is consistent: “I’m stressed, I’m frazzled, I’m bogged down in work, I can’t see a way through, I’m worried.” Anxiety, according to a multiplicity of studies across the western nations, is on the rise, and across age groups. I have friends who are afraid to take time off work for legitimate reasons lest they lose their job (which is unlikely), while other friends are reluctant to address work issues – they don’t want to rock the boat, they don’t want to risk their reputation, they don’t even stand up for themselves let alone other people. It’s almost like we’ve become servile, frightened people. In looking at it from a different perspective, people are overloaded and weighed down by work, responsibilities, and relationship difficulties.

Perhaps I sound simplistic, but my concern is that we don’t tend ourselves enough! Or, perhaps more accurately, we don’t tend to ourselves appropriately. We read about mindfulness, contemplative lifestyles, minimal living, self-care, but when do we actually put it into practice? My concern is that mindfulness is currently the most written about topic and yet is the least practiced way. Sure, we might go to yoga now and again, take the odd walk, meditate periodically, take the occasional break, but we are inconsistent, and lacking commitment to go the distance (which in fact equates to lack of commitment to self). And we suffer for it, we live in an imbalance.

Without mindfulness we are more vulnerable to the ills we read about, depression, anxiety, lack of self-worth and so on. Mindfulness is not a cure all, but if approached and lived in conjunction with healthy living and a balanced diet, then it is going to make a positive contribution to our overall health. Which is a reminder that there is no one way or silver bullet solution, we need a balanced life to survive.

Tending self is about taking breaks, going on holidays, exercising, spending quality time with family and friends, meditating, reflecting, and just getting down to being. Tending self is not about a singualr focus on the self, it is really a focus on relationships (which means a relationship with nature too) and health. Is it selfish to tend to self – well yes, but in a positive way. The word selfish has had some really bad press over the years, but to be selfish is to really look after oneself, not to exclusively self-indulge, but to care for oneself as one has need. If we are to flourish we need to nurture ourselves. Sometimes I think we need to be a little more selfish and tend to self, only then can we tend to others and the world.

A Senryu

Toast while driving
narrowly missing the turn
late for mindfulness

©Paul

pvcann.com

 

 

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Filed under community, life, meditation, mindfulness, nature, Senryu, Spirituality