Don’t wobble!

When you are walking, walk. When you are sitting, sit. Don’t wobble. Gautama Buddha.

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I love this quote. Especially the “don’t wobble” part. In my case, I interpret this as “don’t fidget”! But it’s really all to do with mindfulness, isn’t it? In this crazy frantic world we are so accustomed to doing things unmindfully. We cannot do just one thing at a time, nor are we able to give it our full attention. Our thoughts flit about; our senses experience the world and stimulate memories or thoughts of the future. As the wonderful spiritual teacher, Eknath Easwaran put it,

When we do things with only part of the mind, we are just skimming the surface of life. Nothing sinks in; nothing has real impact. It leads to an empty feeling inside. (from Take your Time)

I know this is definitely the case with me. HOWEVER, I’m fighting back. I don’t want to live that way any longer. It makes me feel “wired but tired”. So this morning was Day 1 of the new, mindful me.

an example of one-pointed attention

My usual morning routine goes something like this. Perhaps it will sound familiar to some of you:

I stagger a little bleary-eyed into the kitchen, with our Labrador nipping at my heels, desperate for her breakfast. As if I would forget to feed her! (Well, I did once. 😏 I wonder if dogs have memories?). I put on the kettle to boil water for tea. As it’s doing so, I’m measuring out her breakfast feed. As I do this, I notice some laundry in the dryer and open the door to check if it’s dry. Before I know it, (and the kettle has boiled by now!), I’m sorting laundry, feeding the dog, checking the weather on my mobile phone, flicking the switch on the kettle again, and putting away any dishes left on the drainer from the night before. Isn’t this exhausting, but many of us function in this way, ALL DAY! And then we wonder why we can’t relax; why we don’t find lasting enjoyment in life. Function is a good word to describe this way of living. It’s not based on enjoyment. Rather, it seems to originate from a relentless need for efficiency and good time-management!!

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Here’s how I changed things up this morning:

I lay in bed for a few extra minutes until I felt okay to begin the day. Amber the Labrador was firmly told to stay in her bed while I made her breakfast. When distracting thoughts came into my head, I brushed them aside again and again to concentrate on the task in hand. Once I had fed the dog, I made myself a cup of tea. After I had made my tea, I put on a slice of toast. I forced myself to do just one thing at a time and to fully concentrate on it. When my mind was saying to me, “Wouldn’t you like to check your fb page while you wait?” or “Why not put away some dishes or plan the menu for next week?” I said to it, as firmly as I told Amber to go to her bed, “No.”

The most difficult thing to do was to eat mindfully!

I found it very strange not to switch on the tv, or complete the crossword I had started yesterday, or put on some music, or sit and look out of the window, or watch the birds at the feeder. All of these are distraction habits. They make us “skim the surface of life” where nothing really sinks in, not even eating. And so, I sat with eyes closed and concentrated all my senses on just having breakfast. Here’s what I found:

  • the sense of touch: holding a warm mug of tea in both hands is so comforting, especially on a cold morning.
  • the sense of sight: I purposefully kept my eyes closed while eating so that I would not be distracted by things going on around me. Although I did notice that I like my tea to be a certain colour (with not too much or too little soya milk). This adds to my enjoyment of it.
  • the sense of smell: melting soya spread on wholemeal toast. What an amazing aroma! Concentrating on this really enhanced the experience.
  • the sense of hearing: I tried to block out any external noises and niggling internal thoughts and kept bringing myself back to concentrate fully on breakfast.
  • the sense of taste: I enjoyed experiencing hot and cold on the tongue, chewing slowly and mindfully. I was hyper aware of the physical process of swallowing food. This is usually automatic, but you know, when you slow down and take notice of it, the alimentary system in the body is really quite amazing and beautiful in its simple complexity.

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I hope you find some of these suggestions useful and that you manage to have less “wobbles” in your day. Why not try to have a mindful breakfast tomorrow? Let me know how you get on! Much love, Anita.😊

Soul Murmurs!

I want to share with you some exciting news! My third book, Soul Murmurs, will be published July 26th, 2019. Can’t wait to read it? Here’s a sneak preview…..! Have a great week, Anita.🤩

Soul Murmurs
Seasonal words of spiritual wisdom to enlighten the soul

by Anita Neilson

You know those moments when the hairs on the back of your neck stand erect? A little warning perhaps that all is not right.  Those are soul murmurs.  And those instances of inner stillness, in an almost breathless state of being, when you feel tingles all over—a wonderful confirmation from your intuition?  Those are soul murmurs.  And those days when despair and unrest do battle with your psyche, leaving you feeling unable to cope?  But then the telephone rings or a social media post pings, with just the right message to guide you through the day!  Those are also soul murmurs.

Soul murmurs are nudges from the Divine; messages from Source; intuitive wisdom, all sent to us innumerable times each day.  What we need to do is learn to listen out for, and be aware of, these messages.  When we do begin to notice them, it brings a sense of peace, calm and joy to our daily lives.  We smile inwardly in private recognition and gratitude for this Divine assistance.  To the awakened soul, aware of being tied to this heavy, physical body, it is a delight and a comfort to know that we are never alone through all the challenges of life on earth; that help from Spirit is always on hand; and that we are eternally connected to Source (whatever name we may give It—God, the Divine, Allah, Krishna, Christ, Universal Consciousness, and so on).

My awakening was a gradual affair, albeit abruptly begun a decade ago through ill health.  I believe this is quite a common occurrence, ie that we awaken as a result of a challenging time of extreme crisis in life.  There are frequent accounts of people who, for example, have had near-death experiences and then awaken.  Reborn. Twice!  Once, in the physical body, and twice in the realization that they will never be the same again, blessed as they are thereafter with the knowledge of the soul’s true identity and purpose on earth: Self-realization, to find our way back to God.    I awakened through ill-health.  At first, I perceived this as an extreme time of physical and emotional trauma.  Now, with the grace of hindsight, I can see it as the most wonderful spiritual gift, imbuing me with compassion and understanding for others, two spiritual qualities which I sorely lacked in my previous ‘life’ pre-awakening.

Self-realization is a wonderful journey, and as I walk further along this path full of twists and turns, pitfalls and detours, I know that it leads my soul on a gradual return home. I especially cherish having a stronger connection to the Universal source of knowledge and intuition.  This poured forth the inspiration for the poems, prose, short story, autobiographical vignettes and affirmations in my new book, Soul Murmurs: Seasonal words of spiritual wisdom to enlighten the soul.  I love its peaceful wisdom and keep it beside my bed.  I can do this with no trace of ego, since the inspiration for it was gifted to me in those moments of inner stillness, during meditation, during peaceful walks in nature and so on.  I see it as a loving joint venture between the little soul (ego) and the true Soul (connected to Source). I have structured the book under seasonal headings to echo the eternal cycle of life and my own spiritual journey.  Why not take some time each day to read a page or two?  Let its quiet wisdom sit with you as you go about your day and allow your heart and mind to process what it means for and to you. 

Read the full article published in Best Self Magazine!

The joy of friendship!

What do we really need to be happy in life? What are the things that truly matter in the long run? You know what I’m going to say, don’t you, and it isn’t career, material wealth or possessions. Sure, these things are good in life as long as we don’t become too attached to them and make them our whole raison d’etre. For me though, (and I’ve come late to this realisation) what’s really important is who and how we love.

TODAY: If you’re a competitive person like me, remember that everything we have (looks, personality, possessions, skills and so on) is on loan to us for this lifetime. We can’t take any of it with us when our time comes to leave the earth. Are these things really so much more important than allowing love into your heart?  Here’s my poem on the joy of friendship. It’s called, I am Complete:

I am complete

I am replete

I open the door on this life

and gifts in abundance

come tumbling out:

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love for living

joy in giving

health and well-being

bounty beyond all my needs.

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But friendship holds me high

with encouragement to fly

“Look at me!” I squeal

as I soar in the sky

like a kite on a blustery day

vulnerable yet full of joy

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free to be me

supported by the filaments

of companionable love.

 The above is an extract from my new book, Soul Murmurs, published end July 2019.  I’d love to hear your views. Anita😁

The town mouse and the country mouse

‘Once upon a time’ in a children’s magazine of years gone by, lived a town mouse and her cousin, the country mouse.  The magazine often featured their adventures arising chiefly from their different cultures and views on the world.  I was reminded of this dichotomy (my big word for the day! I’m going to use it all day!) recently during our week’s holiday at the seaside, when I discovered something interesting about myself. Continue reading

These 5 simple things: advice to my younger self

Do you ever wish you could go back in time and give some advice to your younger self?  Here’s what came to me today during meditation of what I might say (with love) to the young girl I once was.  Please bear in mind, we should never berate ourselves for the things we have done in the past, for these all help us to learn life lessons along the way.    This post is also for Debbie Roth’s #forgivingfridays.

Here’s my short video These 5 simple things, on the 5 pieces of advice I would give myself back then:

Have a wonderful Easter weekend, and try to remember to be kind to yourself and others.  Love, compassion, understanding, helpfulness, patience, generosity:  these qualities are what make us more human, and make life worth living.   Let’s all contribute to the earth as much light and positivity as possible! Much love, Anita.💛