Mindfulness

06/02/2013

Apple

A friend’s son was in the first grade of school, and his teacher asked the class, “What is the color of apples?” Most of the children answered red. A few said green. Kevin, my friend’s son, raised his hand and said white. The teacher tried to explain that apples could be red, green, or sometimes golden, but never white.

Kevin was quite insistent and finally said, “Look inside.”

Perception without mindfulness keeps us on the surface
of things, and we often miss other levels of reality.

~~ Joseph Goldstein ~~~


Phenomenal woman

07/11/2012

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

~~ Maya Angelou ~~

Image origin: unknown, found circulating on Facebook


Affirmation of the Week

22/10/2012

“I AM SMILING”

Working within a busy city… it’s all too easy to get caught up in the trudge of the daily commute. I’m sure most people can identify with the imagery that the word commuting would bring up in our minds… the rat race, a multitude of people, the majority dressed in black or grey… dashing single-mindedly to their places of work. Almost a uniform image really… and I’m one of them, been doing the same thing for quite some years now… and at this time of year it seems to be much “harder” to get up in the morning and face that daily “trudge”.

Winter is now breathing down our necks in the Northern Hemisphere, the clocks are about to go back and darkness has descended before it’s time to leave the office for home at the end of the day. It’s getting colder, we’re wrapping up warmer, there’s less light and sometimes it feels as if a spark has gone out a wee bit with the reduced amount of sunshine… yes we do get some sunshine in the UK!

I was thinking how grey it all looks. The commuters, the weather, the buildings… and how that too can lend a more negative vibe not just to ourselves but to how we interact with other people which then has a ripple effect into our day. Yet this doesn’t mean I can’t smile… that I can’t lift my head and see light and sparkles in things I pass by on that daily journey. But how many people do I see walking past with their heads down, shoulders hunched, looking and acting miserably as if they can’t bear to be outdoors, can’t bear their everyday lives? How grey do people look when they do that? And depressed… as if they are wishing their lives away, waiting for the warmer weather to reappear again. And then I thought that I too am known to have walked like this and sometimes still do when I’m moving on automatic pilot first thing in the morning.

Yet, it comes down to choice. Behaving, looking and acting grey is a choice when instead I could be smiling. OK, I don’t mean manically all the time, like someone deranged (yeah yeah that happens normally *grin*)… or as if I’ve just stepped out wearing a Joker costume, but just generally… what is to stop me from smiling… from choosing to enjoy each step in the brisk air instead of hunching over miserably… from choosing to be happy?

Absolutely nothing.

So this week… and the following weeks as they meander into the future… I am choosing to smile.

And if you’re not smiling, I would ask why not… and hope you find a reason to choose to smile for 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne


Affirmation of the Week

01/10/2012

“I SPEAK IN A LOVING MANNER”

Language and communication… where would we be without it?  I remember when I had a discussion with a friend of mine at work about how we express ourselves and how we can be perceived through that expression. Which of course led me to thinking this would be a great affirmation!

I am talking about verbal communication here… what energy we are pouring out of our mouths! You can think all the most wonderful thoughts in the world, but as we all know… that old cliché is also true, actions speak louder than words. So this week I thought we’d combine the two.

Like many people I have been known to swear.  And speak negatively.  And have a pity party for one.  And quite some years ago, yep… there was a fair bit of that negativity going on.  That’s not to say some situations don’t actually deserve some of this, some do.  But it’s also not something I was proud of… and the majority of the time it was purely habit, I slipped back into them automatically. I didn’t do it at work (in the office I mean, well not the majority of the time anyway) and it’s not as if I needed to do it the rest of the time if I’m honest with myself. Some of it was knee-jerk reaction, like when someone pulls out in front of your car at the wrong moment… and the rest of the time? Well, it was unnecessary really. It had no benefit… it generally brought absolutely nothing of any value into my life, in fact I think it cheapened it!

Then one day I was on the way home and I heard someone say something that I could imagine myself saying on the train, in fact I’ve probably said the same words in the past (I won’t repeat them here)… it sounded awful. It sounded cheap. It gave a feeling and I guess automatic judgement about that person… so what a shock when I realised that that could be me… with someone else watching and thinking these things about me.

“I’m not like that”, I kept thinking to myself… but yes, at that moment… it was a part of me 😦 A very sobering thought indeed. It’s not nice when you come across these realisations of your self is it!

Why on earth do people do it? Some answers to that question I can think of are… habit… copying others that are around you… bravado… anger… fear… insecurity… none of these are positive are they!!!! Yet everyone I know who swears, tells or would tell their kids not to swear, that it’s not nice… it doesn’t sound nice… so why do they do it themselves?

This also brings to mind a quotation I read which fits here as well:

People may doubt what you say, but they’ll believe what you do
~~ Lewis Cass ~~

You can say you’re a nice person who speaks lovingly, but what actual words and energy comes out of your mouth? What impression are you giving to others? Is it representative of the real you, the light and spark that exists at your core… the one that is filled with love and hope and happiness? I know that even now, there can be a difference here for me… so now I am working on eradicating the automatic reactions I have verbally, and also on the core reasons why they appear in the first place. I do believe in walking with love, in emitting love… therefore my verbal energy should be the same as my mental and emotional energy… from hereon in… I aim to speak in a loving manner (and I’ll no doubt be tested on that some time soon when I’m driving *ahem*!) 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne


Affirmation of the Week

17/09/2012

“I EMBRACE SILLINESS”

Introspection is a wonderful thing… after all, aren’t most of the answers we seek to be found within our selves? Sometimes though, we need to take a break… we need to breathe… to rejuvenate… to have a *time-out*. This is a message that has been brought home to me loud and clear recently!

How often do you do something that you would class as *silly*? That doesn’t appear to have any meaning, any benefit… or even, God forbid, pointlessly takes up some of your valuable time? Look at the word… *silly* or *silliness*… what does that conjure up in your mind? From my personal perspective, it can mean being daft, acting the fool, doing something that other people think is a waste of time, or would laugh at me for… childish, idiotic… then I realised that these descriptions are all negative! Oh dear!!!!!!!! So off I trotted to trusty old Google, and looked up the definition of silliness.

Silliness – The quality or state of being silly.

The Thesaurus for it states: noun – foolish behaviour, absurdity, folly, foolery, foolishness, idiocy, imbecility, insanity, lunacy, madness, nonsense, preposterousness, senselessness, tomfoolery, zaniness, informal craziness.

It can also mean an impulsive scatterbrain.

Again, these don’t seem to read positively do they?

Call them what you will… but dark times… shadows… healing… grieving… loss… questioning… searching… and many other adjectives which I won’t list (and I’m sure you can think of more of your own)… are good in our path for growth, progression and gaining wisdom… but they need to be balanced with fun, with laughter, with love… and with light. And during those dark times, finding that light can actually be one of the hardest things to do… especially if we are unaware just how heavy and dark we actually become.

Also, all too often, travelling these paths can bring a lot of seriousness into our lives… and that of itself can  weigh us down, even if we are not aware of it happening at the time, let alone when it’s compounded by other things that are going on in our daily lives.

So this week, I would hope that anyone who reads/comes across this blog and/or post will join in in being silly… acting just that little bit “mad”… doing something daft… even if other people think it’s crazy… don’t let that stop you!

Do one thing, each day… to make yourself laugh… 

Giggle… pull faces at yourself in the mirror… run down a path or road with your arms outstretched… spin in a circle in the house while doing housework… sing along loudly to some music in your car even if you are tone deaf (ok this one is definitely me… you should see some of the looks I get sometimes… (no sniggering allowed 😉 … seriously, if you also bop along while you’re sat waiting at traffic lights, you’ll get some right weird looks off people *GRIN*)!!!

What is wrong with being silly?
What benefits do you think it can bring into a person’s life?
How many ways can you think of to be silly?

Now I can’t think of that many silly things to do… so please, do share and post any ideas or things that you do… you may just be helping someone else lighten their load 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne


Affirmation of the Week

13/08/2012

“I AM A MIRACLE”

Welcome to another Monday and another affirmation. Hopefully you’ve had a good weekend and have lots to look forward to this week, including recognising all those wonderful bits that make up YOU 🙂

Yes, you read that right. I am a miracle. Well I am… and so are you. So is every single person that is walking on this planet. We live, we breathe, we exist… we not only complete many different actions throughout each day, but they are accompanied by thoughts, feelings and words… affecting each other and rippling out into the Universe. And then there’s all the different functions that our physical bodies do on a minute by minute and second by second basis! That alone is a miracle without factoring in the complex thought and emotional responses that are connected to the body alone. Then there’s the personal growth and lessons that we all go through as we get older, the experiences (and hopefully wisdom) we gain. All within that one body that you call home!

Yet, how many people own that? Believe that about themselves? I have yet to meet anyone who does… all too often we put ourselves down and don’t recognise the fact that we are indeed, a walking, talking miracle (OK, now I’ve got that  song in my head “Living Doll” by Cliff Richard *eek*).

Here’s a wonderful excerpt that Living Life Fully had on one of their past weekly ezines… enjoy!

With Love. . . Leo
Leo Buscaglia

Tonight I would like to talk to you about something really important to me. I’m constantly meeting people and working with people. And I’m becoming so very concerned because the people I meet are so wonderful and so beautiful, and yet they are afraid to show their wonder and show their beauty. They are in constant doubt about being beautiful and wonderful. If there is to be any hope for us as lovers, we’ve got to make sure to express this love and this caring and bring it out into the open and not be afraid.

So tonight, I would like to talk to those people who aren’t sure yet and are a little bit reticent about being all that they are.

It’s amazing–you may not realize it, but so much of what you are not is because you are literally standing in your own way of becoming. And what I’m going to talk to you about tonight is, get the hell out of your way! Fly, because it’s all available to you! And all you have to do is take the responsibility and do it. But so many people don’t trust themselves. They don’t even like themselves.

I was in the office recently–many of you know that I have a lot of things in my classes that are voluntarily mandatory. And one of the things that is voluntarily mandatory is that everybody come to visit me. Now, that isn’t asking too much, and I get frightened people who com in all trembling.

I had this lovely girl who sat across from me, and I said, “Tell me about yourself. We’re going to be together for 16 weeks in classes, and I don’t want you to be a stranger. You tell me about you, and then I’ll take over and tell you about me.”

And she said, “I don’t have anything to say.”

I said, “What do you mean? Tell me about all your wonder.”

She said, “Wonder?!” And then there was a long pause, and she said, “Well, I’m too short.”

That had never occurred to me until she told me. And then I thought, well, I’ll counteract with something good. I said, “Yes, but you’re a darn good student. Do you know that you got an A on your mid-term?”

And she said, “Sheer luck.”

How do you like that?

I said, “But you know that you’re unique in all the world. . . .”

“Not me. I’m not unique,” she said. “And besides, I’m not very good-looking, and not a lot of people seek me out. And I’m lonely a lot of the time.”

It occurred to me that if she really believes that she’s short and ugly and stupid and has nothing to contribute, why would anybody seek her out? Oh, did I work on that one!

When she walked out, she was four inches taller. And if I ever see her lean over again, there’s going to be hell to pay.

Jack Parr says a wonderful thing. He says, “My life seems like one long obstacle course, with me as the chief obstacle.”

Isn’t that great?

I always love to mention the book Souls on Fire by Elie Wiesel. It’s a beautiful book, and he makes a statement I really love. He says that when you die and you go to meet your Maker, you’re not going to be asked why you didn’t become a messiah or find a cure for cancer. All you’re going to be asked is, why didn’t you become you? Why didn’t you become all that you are?

There are no two people in this audience who are alike. Isn’t that a message to tell you–that you are unique and you have something to say? And isn’t it a message that you have a right to say it before you leave the face of the earth?

How often have you heard yourself say, “I’m nothing”? You’re nothing if you think you’re nothing. . . .

You are a miracle. You have something to share that nobody else in the world has. To keep that hidden because of self-defeating ideas is to die less than you are. Don’t let that happen. Your greatest responsibility is to become everything that you are, not only for your benefit but for mine.”

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne

Living Life Fully’s website can be found here


Affirmation of the Week

06/08/2012

“I GIVE MYSELF THE GIFT OF SLEEP”

Tiredness… it’s something I battle, will push through, work through… because there never seems enough time in the day to get everything done so I am making a conscious choice this week to get more sleep!

But why should this be a gift? I’ve often thought about this on the way to work while I doze on the train… why should sleep be a gift? It’s something we do every day, it’s absolutely necessary in order that we can live… so how and why should we phrase it as a gift?

I think that in today’s society which is so fast-paced, technology aware, everything has to be now, now now… instant gratification, instant communications, instant information… this all leads to to stress and pressure, and sleep is one of the first things to go when we have deadlines to meet.

I also figure that potentially part of this may even go back to childhood… I presume I wasn’t the only one… but I remember being sent to bed as a punishment, being allowed to stay up late as a treat… retreating to the bedroom to read a book so as not to get into trouble… and this kinda makes me think now that sleep ended up falling into the subconscious territory of “bad”, of a place to be avoided. Anyone else agree?

Yet I need my sleep, love my sleep, hate getting up early in the morning… each week I *intend* to get into a regular routine of going to bed at a certain time so as to get at least 7 hours sleep (I generally need 8 per night but on weekends can sleep for longer)… but does this actually happen? Heck, no! Why not? Well each evening there is always one little job that needs doing, one email that needs reading… nothing actually that can’t wait until the next day… yet I do these things at the expense of sleep by postponing it.

Sleep… so many benefits… here are a few:

improved concentration
memory formation
repairing damage done to the body’s cells during the day
keeps your heart healthy
may prevent cancer
reduces stress
reduces inflammation
makes you more alert
bolsters memory
helps to lose weight
makes you smarter
reduces risk for depression
it makes you a nicer person

I found this site (among many others) through Google, in case anyone wants to look up more information:

http://longevity.about.com/od/sleep/a/sleep_benefits.htm

I have to say not only do I agree with the above list but can also identify with the nicer person one *grin*, lack of sleep makes for a very grumpy person… so this week I WILL achieve this, I choose to achieve this… and hopefully some of these benefits won’t be too far behind!

Anyone else joining in?

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne

Picture by Josephine Wall
http://www.josephinewall.co.uk/


Affirmation of the Week

30/07/2012

“I LISTEN TO MY BODY”

Seriously, how often do you really listen to your body? Did you know it speaks in whispers? Well, mine does… and very quiet ones at that. It’s either that or my *ego* self is way too loud… yes I’ve been pushing myself at the gym but I am actually very body aware when it comes to sport and/or exercise… I spent years doing a specific type of sport so am very lucky in the regard that nowadays I know how far to push myself, when to hold back, and when to not exercise at all. However, in the past, some years ago, most of the time I used to ignore what my body was telling me, I listened to others and conformed to what was expected of me by them… I worked a full-time job, I commuted, I then trained several times per week, commuted, worked, trained again, a solid cycle that never ended… I didn’t eat properly, smoked, didn’t get enough sleep & when I did sleep, it was never through the night solid sleep either.

These days I try to listen more… and it’s voice is especially noticeable when I really start listening… I don’t eat chocolate (*waits for the gasps of horror*)… which considering this is a daily staple, is a huge sacrifice!  I will then often smaller portions because really, I’m thirsty rather than hungry… and may even have a 2 hour afternoon nap on a Saturday instead of slumping in front of the tv watching something that would take my mind elsewhere from where it really needed to be!  When I listen to my body and ignore the *I want I want* of the ego… which ultimately is the part of me that wants instant gratification and comfort… then I am actually looking after myself properly, feeding myself, hydrating myself and loving myself in ways that are beneficial to me.

Now this isn’t the same thing as revelling in our bodies… we can revel and relish our physical form as much as we want, and that’s a good thing…  so long as we are taking care of it… after all, it has to last us a long time, a lifetime in fact!

So I would ask, if you sit quietly and “clear the clutter” that the monkey mind continuously fills your head with, what answers do you get when asking what things do you do to your body or give to your body that, really, you don’t want, need or isn’t good for you?  Not in a *health police* kind of way (I still maintain a little of what you fancy does you good *grin*), but more in the way of (and these are just basic thoughts, feel free to add to them):

  1. do you drink enough water
  2. do you over-eat or not eat enough
  3. do you eat enough of the right kinds of food
  4. do you get enough sleep
  5. do you exercise and if so, exercise in a healthy way
  6. do you smoke
  7. are you happy in your body
  8. do you accept your body
  9. do you drink alcohol
  10. do you do drugs

On a personal note, I’m trying to drink more water, cut down on some of the types of food I used to indulge in a lot more (oh how I love white refined sugar)… and one thing I always always try to do (and fail miserably) is getting to bed earlier (Facebook = time stealer)!

Perhaps next time you pick something up to eat, drink or even take part in… ask your body… do I really need this, do I really want this, what benefit will this bring to my life… will it make me happy… and open your mind to the answer… it could be the start of a new adventure with yourself!

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne


Affirmation of the Week

02/07/2012

“I REVEL IN MY BODY”

Bodies… we live in them, we push them, we over-indulge them, we under-indulge them, we love them, hate them, like them, dislike them… we expect the most from them yet very often don’t even notice how much they do for us.

I do not know of one woman (or man for that matter) who totally accepts their body as it is. There is always something that they would change about it, from being slimmer, being lighter, being heavier, losing cellulite, toning up, having slimmer or longer legs, losing batwings, having dainty hands, clear smooth skin, the perfect pout, the perfect smile, perfect teeth, shiny hair… the list is endless!

Our bodies are marvellous… think about everything yours does, what you ask of it, expect of it… how you treat it… even down to little things like when you get out of the shower, do you smother yourself in lotion to help hydrate the skin? It doesn’t take long and the benefit is long-term.

It sounds like I’m focussing on the appearance aspect here, which I am to a degree, but the effects go much deeper…when we revel in our bodies, when we listen to what they want, it can cause a chain reaction of change… we start feeding ourselves properly (note that I include chocolate in this context *smile*), we either start exercising or exercise ourselves in a more beneficial manner, we begin to appreciate our bodies and ultimately ourselves and then treat ourselves with more respect, grace and gratitude. I could go on… but I won’t.

So this week, why not find one new thing to do this week that will show your body your appreciation of it… and if you feel like sharing, please post a comment and let us know what it is, you might be helping someone else to try something new too!

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne


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