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Forums / Staying well / Mindfulness: What Is It? (Even if you dont know please post so we can help grow the forums accordingly)

Topic: Mindfulness: What Is It? (Even if you dont know please post so we can help grow the forums accordingly)

  1. smallwolf
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    smallwolf avatar
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    15 November 2020 in reply to blondguy

    doing a little study and thought I would share in case it helps someone...

    1. informal practices can be used any time of day - while showering. brushing teeth or going to work.
      helps in the development of attention, empathy and self-awareness
    2. make time for mindfulness and make it a habit so that it becomes part of your daily routine.
    3. work out a length of time that works for you. If you only have 5 or 10 minutes spare, this is better than doing none.
    4. e gentle and persistent. Trying too hard can be counter-productive and lead to frustration.
    5. Remember why you are doing it, and be kind to yourself in the process.
    3 people found this helpful
  2. blondguy
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    15 November 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi Tim

    you provide sound counsel on this thread topic...You understand the thread topic (Mindfulness) so well. You are helping more people than you know...:-)

    Why does 'Mindfulness' sound like a 'busy/overactive mind' to me? My counsellor never mentioned 'Mindfulness' back in the late 14th century...

    I think I have been using mindfulness for years except it had a different 'label/tag' ....my counsellor used to call it 'gentle distraction' 35 years ago

    Thankyou for the super helpful post Tim....I just copied and pasted it in my 'Coping Folder'

    kindest thoughts always

    Paul

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  3. ecomama
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    16 November 2020 in reply to blondguy

    lol "back in the 14th century"... 😂😂

    well way back around then too, my father diligently taught me how to pray, kneeled beside my bed every night... on and on... until I learnt 'The Lord's Prayer' - at 4yo I had NO IDEA what trespasses etc meant but I could say that prayer by heart.

    The Serenity Prayer would have been EASIER to learn and a bit more relevant to Wellbeing over my lifetime!

    "..... to accept the things I cannot change" and "the wisdom to know the difference"...

    When my Counsellor brought the Mindfulness topic up to her Head Psych and asked her if SHE practised it, Head Psych said I'm a Christian, we've practiced Mindfulness for a long time.

    And so it goes on with the Buddhist monk who taught me how to "still the mind" when washing dishes and GARDENING, not at the same time lol.

    Mindfulness doesn't have to be a 10 minute compulsory action that we turn on a clip for, but it can be that too!

    We can take what we've learnt about "quietening the mind" into all activities.

    Now with Mindfulness being a work practice ALSO, I've found it very useful throughout Staff Meetings lol... I set my head to nod and zone out or zone out as the case may be.
    I have a great excuse to use if I missed something lol.

    The Dalai Lama likes to remind us not to take life so seriously as he laughs away joyfully... and seeing a beaming smiling Buddha can remind us of the daily practices to get to that place of joy and contentment.

    Hope you all have a wonderful day
    EM

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  4. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    16 November 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Like the Dalai Lama I too like laughing and humour. I find if I can laugh at myself I can focus on the rhythm of my breath and cope with stresses.

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  5. blondguy
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    17 November 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Hi Everyone and thankyou for the super valuable input too!

    Hey EM.....I appreciate the quality support you provide here and across the forums

    EM mentioned: 'We can take what we've learnt about "quietening the mind" into all activities' You also mentioned having a 'still mind'.....and thankyou for picking up when I had my counselling ;-)

    Hey Quirky....thankyou for the super helpful post when you mentioned ' I find if I can laugh at myself I can focus on the rhythm of my breath and cope with stresses'

    Learning is a never ending process for me....yet I find it peculiar when 'some' health professionals incorrectly assume that their patients understand what mindfulness actually is

    my kindest always

    Paul

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  6. quirkywords
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    18 November 2020 in reply to blondguy

    hello everyone

    Paul , I agree that learning is a never ending process and a life long journey .

    It I is a curve full of surprises.

    I suppose if someone calls a concept mindfulness and they feel it is helping does it matter if another person says it is not.?
    we approach concepts in our own unique ways.

    thanks again Paul for your useful summaries.

  7. blondguy
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    18 November 2020 in reply to quirkywords
    Hi Quirky and thankyou for the super kind post

    I wouldn't suggest mindfulness to a person experiencing difficulty with their mental health as doing so would be proceeding from a false assumption (that the person understands MF)

    Have a really good day Q.
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  8. smallwolf
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    smallwolf avatar
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    18 November 2020 in reply to blondguy

    @Paul - maybe I am getting old and not caring anymore (you will find out why shortly) but I was struck by you comment about people assuming a client knows what mindfulness is... The professional should (?) check whether the client understand the process and then is happy to proceed. As opposed to saying "we are going to X, Y and Z (mindfulness) activities and ..." The flip-side is that if the professional says something that I do not understand, I will ask them. This the not caring part... I don't care if I look stupid! (Part of me say.... ASK!... At the same time, I can see others would be afraid to ask.)

    @Quirky - Is it mindfulness or not? Broadly speaking, there are two types of mindfulness - formal and informal. Formal practices require training or specialization. There are some/many that a counsellor could not do without additional or special training. Contrast this to informal activities like washing the dishes that require little training.

    There is a book called "mindfulness for dummies" that might help to explain this better.

    @Paul (again) - funny (not haha) you mention not suggesting mindfulness as I will point people to this thread in some of my replies. From a counselling perspective there are times when a mindfulness is not used and theses are referred to as "contraindications". Otherwise in suggesting to someone to use mindfulness in person is something I have only mentioned to persons I know quite well and then along the lines of "it worked for me" and THEN "perhaps have a chat about it with your ...."

    As an aside - a person I know was uptight about something and visibly so. I suggested to them to take a deep breath. I couldn't say anymore, the person had the look of death in her eyes at me, and say "don't say that again". Later she explained why to me.

    Our journeys are all unique and the same with our approach to ourselves and others .

    Have probably confused you all with my rambling.

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  9. blondguy
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    19 November 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hey Tim

    you have always had an innate gift where 'clarity' is concerned and thankyou (again) for helping so many readers (70%) and the 30% that choose to post

    Its not about 'people' suggesting mindfulness to others...My comments have been directed at 'some health professionals' that mention 'have you tried mindfulness' when providing support/counsel

    Tim mentioned 'The professional should (?) check whether the client understand the process and then is happy to proceed'...thanks for helping out and explaining it so well Tim!

    Your posts (through experience) are always beneficial here and across the forums

    Hey Quirky....thankyou always for your wonderful support! You mentioned "I suppose if someone calls a concept mindfulness and they feel it is helping does it matter if another person says it is not.?" Im sorry I didnt make my post as clear as I could have...oops! When we are going through a difficult period and our health professional asks us 'have you tried Mindfulness' it can be a silly question for the HP to ask especially if the person doesnt 'believe' in counselling or if we are in dark place

    We do approach concepts in our own unique ways...Yet when our issues begin to have a negative impact on our day to day well being, sometimes our 'own unique ways' can be counterproductive to our health by exacerbating the original symptoms

    my kind thoughts.....Paul

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  10. blondguy
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    21 November 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi Everyone and thankyou for the super helpful contributions too!

    Hey Tim.....I mentioned this a few days ago on the 15th....' I think I have been using mindfulness for years except it had a different 'label/tag' ....my counsellors used to call it 'gentle distraction' 35 years ago'

    my brain hurts

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  11. smallwolf
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    smallwolf avatar
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    21 November 2020 in reply to blondguy

    guess that it could be called a "gentle distraction" ...

    if you take an exercise that gets you to focus on things you can see, hear and feel is a way to return to the present.

    for example, right now, I can hear the airconditioner, the game my son is playing. I can see a vase with flowers in it, phone and chairs. I can feel the skin against my shorts, my feet on the cool(ish) floor, and my forearms on the side the table.

    in the above, rather than thinking of things that had happened or might happen in the future I am just focusing on things in my present environment in this moment. And this exercise could be seen as gentle in that it takes little time, requires little preparation, could be viewed as informal, does not require special tools - it only requires yourself and what is in your space at that time?

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  12. smallwolf
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    smallwolf avatar
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    27 November 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    A little story.... I was with my psychologist on Thu and I was talking about my negative thoughts and this then moved into mindfulness exercises. I explained that while I can do mindful based exercises they are not quite long enough for me. Secondly if I try to do it by myself it does not work as I get easily distracted. However if I listen to someone telling me what do (as as narrator) it is much easier for me.

    The solution for me... next time I see my psychologist will record a couple of exercises for me.

    Why did I write this? Well, I guess firstly I am not very good as doing it by or for myself. Perhaps also working out what does or does not work for me and finding a way forward. And yes, I am lucky.

    1 person found this helpful
  13. blondguy
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    28 November 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi Tim and thankyou for the clarity by sharing your own life experience/knowledge with mindfulness. What are your thoughts about mindfulness for a person that has high level anxiety attacks?

    After reading your posts it seems like mindfulness is an effective tool for low level anxiety or high stress levels when a person is able to function effectively on a day to day level. I noticed that mindfulness wasnt recommended or suggested on our Covid-19 thread from the inset of Covid-19

    I really appreciate your time and experience on this Tim and thanks again for helping the 70% of people that choose to read only and the 30% that choose to post

    Hope your weekend is treating you well

    Paul

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  14. Guest_1643
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    28 November 2020

    Hi all ,

    I've been trying the "mindful hot drink"

    where you focus very much on the drink as you drink it, the sensations. I try do this outside as well so I also feel the weather and the sun.

    It's so hard for me with my racing mind.
    I can only really do it for a short time - it feels painful and hard for me to be in the moment due to my PTSD syptoms, but for those few moments I get a sense of surprise that I am capable of it at all, and that a brief feelig of control over my body.

    Try a mindful tea!

    4 people found this helpful
  15. smallwolf
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    28 November 2020 in reply to blondguy

    Thanks Paul. I am going to be careful with my response as I do want to say something "wrong" (for lack of a better word...

    there are many forms of mindfulness a person can use - from breathing, to noticing objects, mantras, meditations, relaxation tools, formal and informal methods, skills and training of the professional etc. And also have to consider anecdotal evidence vs ... With all of that said, here are two articles (pages) that answer your question (?)

    • https://www.headspace.com/blog/2017/06/04/riding-out-panic-attacks/
    • https://learn.beyondblue-elearning.org.au/workplace/resources/pdf/topic5/GuideToWhatWorksForAnxiety.pdf (and go to page 99)

    When I on leave from work and at my lowest I would spend my days at the college library. I would (stupidly) look at work email on occasion and only because everyone relied on me. Suffice to say it was not the smartest thing I ever did. I also had Virtual Hope Box on my phone - there were time when I would have to get up and leave my laptop and sit under a statue using the relaxation tools of that app. I can remember one time I was under that statue for over 2 hours until feelings passed and regain control.

    I would regard it as a tool that can be used. A bit like a workman's tool belt. In my tool belt are apps (with mindful things in them), medication, a psychologist/psychiatrist, journals, etc.

    Most important... Rome was not built in a day. It takes time and patience and using it each day even if we don't "need to use it". Try using a hammer for the very first time.

    Tim

    2 people found this helpful
  16. quirkywords
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    29 November 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hello ,

    Tim thanks for your explanation. It is very interesting and informative. Time and patience two things that challenge me.

    sleepy I have tried mindful hot drinks but has not helped.

  17. Nurse Jenn
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    1 December 2020

    I try to think about Mindfulness as not only a strategy, but a skill. Similar to skiing or riding a bike - the first period of engaging with the activity is around learning it... this can take different amounts of time for different people. Some people find their way on skis or a bike very quickly, while others, it takes persistence and practice to get the skill to a level of comfort, where you can focus on the benefits of the activity rather than the structure.

    I have been falling off the mindfulness bike with skinned knees for a lot of years until I started taking my rides regularly and at a shorter distance. This has helped my to understand my own skill level and have been able to grow it this way. Historically, I would aim for a marathon mindfulness session the first few times...fail,,, and then not look at it again for some time.

    Now my mindfulness timer is how long it takes for my kettle to boil (short, and regular) - for me this works. Though, I have also felt some of my best mindfulness with the whippersnipper on.:)

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  18. Guest_1643
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    1 December 2020 in reply to smallwolf
    HI TIm - I have a hope box I made in hospital but I don't use it much anymore - the virtual hope box sounds interesting
    I've also heard of an idea sourced in AA and Addiction Groups called a G-d box - you write down your worries and put them in a box - and let them be "taken away" or "held" - people later look through the boxes to see that a lot of their worries didn't come true... I don't know much about this but ofund it interesting.

    I do a somatic excercise which is about getting in your body and feeling your body, which I learnt from this truama expert Dr Peter Levine ( not in person lol - just through following his works).
    Helps me a lot.

    Quirky the tea is actually almost painful for me - I can understand feeling it doesn't help. It's very hit and miss
    2 people found this helpful
  19. quirkywords
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    1 December 2020 in reply to Guest_1643

    Sleepy, I like idea for hope box.

    nurse jenn thanks for your suggestions.

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  20. Ggrand
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    1 December 2020 in reply to smallwolf

    Hello everyone..

    Tim I have the virtual hope box app..and I find it helpful when I’m sitting in a waiting room...to get my mind of the people waiting as well....

    I like the idea of writing our worries and placing them in a box...it could be very helpful for us when we review them...

    I try to practice being mindful when I’m in my house..but for some reason I can’t do it..yet when I’m outside I can quieted my mind more easily, maybe because outside is always different and there’s more to take in...

    Grandy..

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  21. quirkywords
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    9 December 2020 in reply to Ggrand

    Grandy and everyone

    I thought the hope box was a real thing and not an app.
    I don’t do apps. It I like idea of a real box.

    I used to have a real memory box so now I need to make new memories for another box.

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  22. Ggrand
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    9 December 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Heel Quirky and everyone..

    Your right Quirky...We can make up our very own hope box..to use when we need to...I have a few..I call grounding boxes around my house, and one in my car...

    The hope box app...makes me feel more comfortable to use in a busy waiting room...looks like I’m playing games ect on my phone to anyone who looks in my direction..

    I always used a stress ball or fiddle toy while I was waiting....Then other people would stare at me..so now the hope box app is for “my waiting room mindfulness”..

    A memory box sounds beautiful Quirky...

    My kindest and most caring thoughts.

    Grandy..

  23. smallwolf
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    9 December 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    hi quirky and grandy - the virtual hope box is based on a physical hope box. It could be a shoe box or folder, filled with photos, dreams, music, achievements etc. Many of those things I cannot take with me so are on my phone.

    "What day is it?" asked Pooh. "It's today," squeaked Piglet. "My favourite day," said Pooh.

  24. Tom R
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    9 December 2020

    Hi everyone,

    I noticed this thread and thought "Oh, good one!" Obviously it's a long thread, and I apologise, I've not read all of the comments (yet), but gee there's some good here. I apologise too if what I say now has been said already.

    Mindfulness became a bit of a 'buzz' word a couple of years ago and a bit of a craze developed around it leading to colouring books for adults, apps and all sorts. And there are some good ones. For me though, the basis is about become more deeply aware and conscious of 'what is,' those uncontrollable, outside of my influence realities and experiencings of the day-to-day that I can become more attuned to noticing rather than unconsciously ignoring or pushing aside. That might sound simple, and therefore unjust, because it isn't simple, it's hard work. But like anything requiring effort or significant practice, it requires discipline. There are days or even instances where it works well for and others where, try as I might, I fail to reach that zone or sweet spot. But it doesn't mean that I cease trying.

    Sometimes for me, it is sitting in my garden observing a snail or caterpillar, or watching something else through the lens of my camera, or the symmetry of a dragonfly's wings, the movement of clouds, the noticing of a sensation within my body, a scent I can smell or a prayer-like recognition of the everyday as I wash the dishes or make the bed. And sometimes it is poetry or building Lego. I bring my focus and attention, my noticing to my currency, my experiencing without having to buy in to whatever it is. I might notice the tension in my stomach or shoulders whilst at the same time not buying into the story of why I am experiencing the sensation. There might be a story, and it might tell me something, perhaps even the truth, in full or part, but if I'm buying in I've ceased noticing and made judgements which now impact my decision making or mood, etc. It seems silly in some ways to call it mindfulness, I see it more of a matter of mind emptying rather than filling, an act of intentionally letting go....

    Just my two bob's worth. T.

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  25. smallwolf
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    9 December 2020 in reply to Tom R

    Hiya Tom R and welcome to this thread. :)

    Thanks for your thoughts on the topic.

    Though will add that mindfulness does not have to be just about emptying or letting go. If you have done an ACT exercise like "leaves on a stream" which can also been considered as a mindful exercise...in this case you put your thoughts onto leaves passing in the stream. The same thing can be done with a bus or train at a bus or train station and putting your thoughts onto the side of the bus/train. In this scenario, it is more about looking at thoughts non-judgmentally and with acceptance.

    Can perhaps look at "some-exercise is mindfulness" is like "a car is a vehicle" - there are different types of cars, boats, planes, bikes etc. All have a different function and purpose. So mindfulness is more of an umbrella term that includes many forms of exercises, practices etc.

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  26. Tom R
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    9 December 2020 in reply to smallwolf
    Thanks, I'm training in ACT at present actually and hoping to do some face to face training with Russ Harris next year.
  27. Moonstruck
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    10 December 2020 in reply to Tom R

    Hello...I am.not sure what ACT is...can you explain it to.me?...I've noticed a few folk mentioning "hope box or app" or "memory box".on this thread.

    I can't see their connection or relevance at all to mindfulness. Am I missing something.

    I have no hassle practising mindfulness at all though haven't felt the urge lately.

    I find it much more delightful when it descends upon me unexpectedly e.g. when something captures my attention so completely I devote 100% to noticing every small detail....I can't understand why mindfulness seems so confusing to some.

    You can access it any time...any place...easy.

  28. quirkywords
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    10 December 2020 in reply to Moonstruck

    Moon

    I agree when something captures ones attention so one devotes 100% to noticing each detail, it is wonderful to be in the moment.

    I am not so much confused as I have a mind that is always churning like a washing machine where my thoughts are tangled. When this happens I find it had to focus then I need to quieten my mind as it does not happen naturally.

    I am trying to be able to access mindfulness anytime like you can.

    I think some people have trouble accessing mindfulness while others find it harder.
    I enjoy the honesty of your posts.

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  29. smallwolf
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    10 December 2020 in reply to Moonstruck

    hi Moonstruck, *waves to everyone else*

    just to throw out my 2c worth...

    on the apps... I had mentioned using an/that app as it included mindfulness related tools and that for me mindfulness can be difficult when riding the waves of low feelings.

    now, in relation to mindfulness, some might thing it will help remove their negative feelings. And for some people that might also work. For others who think this it does not work and discard it.

    In the world of ACT (acceptance commitment therapy) instead of thinking of/trying to remove the negative feelings, look at acceptance and making space for negative thoughts/feelings. For example, I have a lump in the throat feeling, so that I could use my mind to examine that thing and the breath and imagine the space around that lump growing and that feeling of the lump in my throat is lessened. And it has a lot of other exercises one can use.

    hope some of that made sense.

    Tim

    PS. Me... I am more in the ACT group after I found that mindfulness did not work (for me) as a way or removing the negative feelings.

    3 people found this helpful
  30. Jstar49
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    10 December 2020

    Hi, hello, giinagay,

    I have enjoyed mediation and mindfulness for a lot of years now. My favourite memory, tho it was hell at the time- I think becos I was judging myself for not 'doing it right'- was a retreat and every morning we would do a walking meditation. Just walking, in a line, slowly, feeling every part of our feet as they connected with the floor. I practice it now, started again when I had hip trouble. Such a lovely thing to do, to be here now.

    One thing I remember was out teacher telling us it was like our mind was a muddy churned up stream. We just had to wait til it settled, and all the silt and dirt settled to the bottom and then the stream ran clear. I think it's taken me many years to fully practice that teaching, and not much of it has been sitting in lotus position!

    I used to always think there was something else more important to do. I'm getting better.

    Cheers,

    J*

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