Sunday, 25 September 2016

Begin just exactly where you are

The present moment is the only moment available to us, 
and it is the door to all moments. 
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Teaching mindfulness always gives me more than it takes.  Whilst I may fret about the preparation of a class or workshop, once it's under way, the rewards are mine for the taking.  

Practising alongside others is always a pleasure, and never more so than when I find myself guiding a group, some of whom may be meeting the practice for the first time.  

Yesterday's workshop was no exception.  A group of us gathered and got onto mats with blocks and bolsters (and, in some cases, chairs) and practised mindfulness together - first sitting, then walking, before doing some more mindful movement in the form of long held yin yoga poses, concluding our two hours together with a seated reflection.  

Whilst a few faces were familiar, many of us were meeting for the first time.  Curiosity and open mindedness were our friends as we met one another and the formal practice.  Here, the beginner has a distinct advantage, unencumbered by the handicaps of previous association, and expectation led comparison.  

As I found my way round a venue I had not taught in before, the group settled into the practice and claimed the space as their own.  I am looking forward to welcoming some of them, and others, back on 22 October.  

Mindfulness is the observing of things as they are, 
without laying any of our projections or expectations onto what is happening.
~ Frank Jude Boccio

For more information about forthcoming workshops please visit my website

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Goodbye, dear friend

I suspect it might well be the first and last time that Lady Gaga will be played at the crematorium.  Charlotte's funeral was always going to be a memorable occasion.  I will never forget our final goodbye, close to the river that she loved so much, and accompanied by 'Bad Romance' played, we all agreed, at an appropriate volume and, pleasingly, in its entirety.   

Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you plann'd:

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember, do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than that you should remember and be sad.

~ Christina Rossetti

Friday, 2 September 2016

Swimming through life and beyond it

And so, she is gone.  We have said goodbye to one another in this life.  Sitting beside her in hospital with lines trailing from both her hands, I realised that all that needed to be said had been said.  

Death gives clarity to life.  Suddenly all is so wonderfully clear.  Meaning, purpose and passion are everything.

Charlotte has always shown me what it is that really matters.  These are the lessons I get to keep for life:  Do what matters.  Every day.  Forget everything else.

Life's too short to rush through it.  Pause awhile to stand in the awe of its beauty and get to know those spirits who make the world a beautiful place.

I have had the great privilege of getting to know one such woman.

Hours after she passed away, swimming came naturally.  Her effortless grace got me to the poolside far earlier that morning than normal.  The water was peaceful and calm.  Those within it, perhaps less so.  Those who get there en route to work are mostly there on a mission.  My own was to enjoy my swim and feel the camaraderie.  

There is no need to be alone.  Though I would probably recognise only a handful of those I was surrounded by, I drew comfort from being amongst my own as life does what life does:  continue to unfold in all its strangeness, and all its wonder.

Charlotte's spirit shall continue to give me strength, and inspiration.  I have so much to tap into.  I feel so humbled by the grace with which she lived and am dedicated to honouring her and our precious friendship as best I can.  

A life lived well.  A life filled with love.  A life full of laughter.  A life full of fun.  A life lived to the last.  

Charlotte Easton  2 Dec 79 - 1 Sept 16