There’s no disputing the world is a challenging place as the sharemarket continues on its rollercoaster ride and upheavals of one sort or another confront us every day as we take in the news. But at the same time life can often seem so simple and beautiful if we only stop to savour it.
Mindfulness is attracting a lot of interest these days as we all seek ways to ease the stresses of daily life – and stopping the chatter of the monkey mind to focus on the here and now, or, as it’s often called, present moment awareness, is a powerful tool at our fingertips. Of course, those who’ve studied yoga or meditation or any Eastern practice will know its power already but the fact that mindfulness is now making its way into the mainstream holds great hope for anyone seeking greater peace and contentment without having to pop a pill.
One of my own favourite mindful moments is watching the blackbirds in my garden and in the morning waking to their delightful warbling song as they set up a real conversation in the neighbourhood. As they dart about in the grass and weeds (as you can tell I’d rather look at the garden than pull anything out!) pecking at whatever takes a blackbird’s fancy, there’s clearly a family hierarchy at work here. Mum, or is it Dad, always ventures closer to the house to pick up the juicier morsels that no one else dares to snatch, while junior warily keeps his distance. And I have to admit to a certain pride that we have nurtured this baby blackbird in our backyard with their telltale nest perched in the now bare branches of our quince tree. I don’t know where they went in winter but now they’re back and I’ll keep an eye out for them. In summer though it’s a different story as these notorious orchard raiders get to work. We have yet to pick a single cherry from our quite fruitful tree as they invariably swoop on the very day when we’ve decided it’s time to pick. Next summer a mesh net will be draped over everything!
Blackbirds aside, staying in the present moment and enjoying the stillness and quiet that overtakes you, is a recurring idea in several of our articles this month. I was struck by the advice of a leading TCM practitioner to practise mindfulness even while we exercise and never to exercise too much! A man after my own heart! It’s just one of the tips in “Live to Past 100”.
That said, many of us are carrying our sedentary lifestyle to extremes and it’s an important health issue Peter Dingle looks at in his feature this month, “Stand Up for Exercise”. Standing desks are becoming much more common but if you don’t want to go that far, at least get up and stretch every 30 minutes or so. I’ve started doing it already so thank you Peter!
Another feature I’d draw your attention to this month is “At the Structured Water Frontier” by Martin Oliver. It’s fascinating research that points to the existence of a crystalline structure for water that appears to surround and stabilise DNA and thus has implications for life itself. It’s time to look at your glass of water with new respect!
So forget your worries this month. Instead, slow down and enjoy all those little moments of beauty and peace.
Margaret Evans has a background in teaching, journalism and publishing. She is the editor of NOVA Holistic Journal.