Mindfulness

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Apologies for the poor picture quality, but I love scenes like this one. Since I was a kid, there’s always been something about lights in a dark setting; the kind of ambience it provides. I remember when my Dad was taking us home from a trip to the city, coming home at night along the dual carriageway I’d just be staring at all the lights, and to be honest I’m not sure exactly sure why…it’s just when I see a view like this one, it kind of sparks something in me, you know?

I wanted to talk about that because it kind of sets the overall scene of what I’d like to talk about, and that’s mindfulness. This word was introduced to me last year, when I was having problems separating myself from my University work; just like thinking about it all the time. I was recommended a book on mindfulness meditation, which  summarised is a philosophy about really taking in each and every moment, reconnecting with yourself. 

While I’m on this topic, I’d like to quash rumours regarding meditation; it’s not anything like some people would have you believe, it’s just (in my experience anyway) sitting in a straight-backed position whilst focusing predominantly on your breath. That’s a very simple way of putting it which perhaps doesn’t do it justice, but it’s really something that everybody can do; that’s my point. Mindfulness teaches you to appreciate the here and now, and it has been a great help to me when my mind is constantly racing, wondering what I have to do next and focusing on the best way to achieve it.

Lately, with the rush which comes from your final year of University I’ve been feeling a bit anxious; like my mind is racing all over the place again. So, I wanted to write a little bit about appreciating the here and now, as much for myself as for anyone else.  The picture I took on my way home today is just one example of this, but there are countless others out there which if you’d just take a moment to stop and notice them can be really nourishing and rewarding. 

Today for example, I’m working in the IT labs; I have a headache and I’m tired already at 11am. My friend shows up, and we’ve both been talking to each other about things lately, asking advice..friend stuff. She comes in and we’re talking, and she’s like:

“We are such losers!”

Haha, amazing right? …Wait, doesn’t sound too great? Well, I can’t really put it into context because it was kind of private but I just love moments like that, when it’s like two people together through difficult times. She may not know it but that really made my day; kind of like a really cool, sentimental friend thing 🙂

I guess my point is that I have this great stuff going for me –  it’s not perfect of course but you know, a lot of things in my life are just as I want them. I realise that it can be difficult to recall these moments in times of stress but it’s what I always try to do, because these experiences are everywhere if we take the time to look, and appreciate them. I hope that no matter how much pressure you’re under, if you’re reading this then you can just take a step back to appreciate the smaller, unseen things in your life. The smell when you walk outside your door, or in my case the wonderful colours of the sky, or the illumination of the streets on the way home.

Until next time 🙂

“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.”

Stories

Before you read this blog, take a look at the picture I’ve posted alongside it. What do you see, what do you think of when you see that dress? Perhaps it seems like a random kind of way to start this but trust me, I’m going somewhere with it.

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I took that photo whilst I was volunteering today at a local charity shop. The actual reason I took the photo was to show it to one of my friends to see if she’d like it, but then I got to thinking about what that dress meant to me. I touched on this idea of ‘stories’ in my last blog and it’s not just people who have their stories; objects have a plethora of tales attached to them, too.

Sometimes I look around the charity shop looking at the clothes and other items and think about the people who wore them or owned them, about the events and milestones which they had whilst wearing them/reading them/watching them; the history, you know? It should be mentioned that this particular dress was new, but still it must have an extensive history behind it; the dream of the designer to make it look a certain way; perhaps he/she had a dream and a vision about those who who would wear it, and for what occasion. 

When I looked at the dress, I thought of the future. I thought of who might wear this, and on what occasion. I might have mentioned this before, but it’s a personal dream of mine to go to a dance with a girl, or meet a girl there. So when I saw it, I kind of thought of a girl wearing it for her prom, or something of that nature. Maybe she’ll go into the charity shop on Monday and fall in love with it; maybe someone will fall in love with her whilst she’s wearing it 🙂 

I guess my point in writing this blog comes in two points:

a) The narrative and story of our everyday lives is fascinating, isn’t it?

I mean, I’ve focused in this blog on the objects having stories attached to them but they’re only fascinating because of the stories. And going further into what I was saying last time, each person has a story to tell. Again I’ve probably said this before, but I’d love to just talk all night to someone new, just to find out about them. I think it’s like 7 billion people in the world, right? Each with their own unique story. Create and share your own, and be part of others too – sounds like the ultimate adventure to me 🙂

b) Perspective.

Whatever you look at, and whatever happens to you, you have a choice about how to react. Perhaps this dress story isn’t the best one to illustrate that point but it made me happy to think about the positive connotations which could be associated with it. As part of a broader point, the future story I myself associated with that dress may well never happen, it might not be bought and then just thrown away. But why not believe that the best possible version of events can happen? Because it can, you know?  

If bad things have happened to you and this has altered your mindset in a negative way, trust me I can understand that. But also trust me when I say that it won’t help. Ultimately with your mind, you have the power to overturn any situation – never forget that.

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”