“The world is full of magic things,
patiently waiting for our senses
to grow sharper”
There is much research to show the beneficial effects of Mindfulness. I will be honest and say that I have struggled to practice it despite having various apps and hearing others say how it has helped them. I find it hard to relax, yet know how important it is to give myself time to unwind from the daily pressures that crowd and overwhelm my mind. So in the past I have felt a bit of a failure when mindfulness is the topic of conversation or when encouraging others to try it.
So I decided that I should seize the challenge and take a mindfulness practitioners course and see what it could teach me. What I learnt was that mindfulness wasn’t meditation or some strange mystical art, but instead a way of life. Something struck me when I was reflecting on what I was learning about mindfulness that sometimes we have to find what works for us, and I realised that I do practice mindfulness only without really knowing it.
There’s nothing I like more than going out with my camera. I’ve not been taking pictures long but instead of getting bogged down with the technical side, I have just gone out camera in hand and started taking pictures. I always wanted to be able to capture the amazing things I see, but doubted that I could do so with the lens of a camera.
Visiting amazing places, wandering around with my camera has opened up a new magical world. Castles and moats made me think about princesses and knights and old stately homes, as well of course the search for Mr Darcy. Walking through walled gardens and sitting by old fountains made me wonder about the people in days gone by and what kind of lives they had. While in some ways their lives were different, in many ways they were the same, worries about family, making a living and as always the story of falling in love.
Its amazing too the things we can see even in everyday life that often goes unnoticed, a beautiful blue sky, amazing cloud formations, beautiful flowers in our own gardens and our comical, sometimes adventurous pets.
Even stopped at the traffic lights it amazes me the magic all around, often you will see little birds on the pavement looking for lunch, birds soaring above looking for a lamp post on which to perch and I have even seen a squirrel sat on a nearby wall looking at the line of traffic and the world going by.
This is when I practice my mindfulness, when there are days that are difficult I look at the beautiful sky and realise the world is bigger than me. When I feel frustrated and worn down, a walk in the sun warms my bones and melts away any tension. When feeling down a few minutes watching the squirrels play, chasing each other and the bemused magpies it always encourages a smile and laughter. On nights when sleep evades me or my anxiety is high I sit in my garden and stare at the stars and trying to count them, lost in their beauty, then calm often returns. Sometimes I manage to catch these moments too, with through the lens of my camera and it reminds me that beauty and positivity is never far away.
When my children were little, days were often chaotic and busy. Sometimes exhausted and tired it was hard to contemplate another day being solely responsible for these two little people that had taken over my life. But when they cuddled up on my lap, I would brush away a stray curl and as their eyes grew heavy and their breathing slowed, I would stroke their tiny hand grasped in mine and wonder how I could have made something so beautiful. To say I felt blessed would be an understatement and all the stress of the day would disappear, instead a warmth would fill my heart and I knew I could do it all again the next day, just to experience those moments again. Often I look back at photos of them and the memories come flooding back, filling me with love and gratitude, because before long they leave your arms to build lives of their own.
Yes, when I look for the magic in the world around me all feels right again. No matter where we are or what we are doing there is always something to remind us we are lucky to be here, be it building meaningful relationships or treading upon this beautiful planet. Whether it be nature, or our children, or finding happiness in the gifts and talents we process, there is much to be thank for. Reflecting on these moments can support our emotional wellbeing and help us feel encouraged to face another day.
So do I practice mindfulness? Yes I believe I do, I am mindful of my place in the universe, mindful of the gift that life is, the people it has given me, and mindful of the magic in everyday life that surrounds me.
Next time your out stop for a second and have a look around you, you may be surprised at the magical things you can see and if you can snap it with your camera. Make memories that stay in your heart, that mindfully remind you that life can be good.
You can see more of my photos here.