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Day at Time. We only have now. 1/4/20

2 Apr 2020

I woke up feeling a bit groggy and under the weather and wondering whether I was starting a cold and then remembered I had probably had one too many glasses of wine the previous night. Whilst it’s lovely connecting with people for a pre-dinner catchup on WhatsApp or Zoom, the habit of having a glass of wine in hand is not good, particularly as it’s an almost nightly occurrence!


I thought about not doing the online Sculpt class, but I am so glad I did because it completely changed how I felt. I became energised. I then went on to do an hour’s Qi Gong (see last blog for link). In the spirit of taking control of what we can, our internal world (as oppose to the external) this feels like such a positive practice for breathing fully and deeply into the lungs, activating the immune system and connecting with a strong core or base in the body.


This feeling of having death riding on my shoulder all the time, and the fact that my diary has now been emptied of planned events, makes it oh so much easier to live in the present moment. Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment and aware of our experience; thoughts, feelings and sensations. We are then more likely to see our unhelpful patterns of mind (like negative ruminative thought) or behaviour. As we practice mindfulness, we become aware of the space between something happening within us (a thought, a pain) or in the outside world, and our reaction to it. This is the key because in that moment, we have a choice. This is my one of my favourite quotes that expresses this:


Between stimulus and response, there is a space.

In that space lies our power to choose our response.

In that response lies our growth and freedom.

Victor Frankl


We have the choice to react in habitual ways or to respond with wisdom and kindness. I have been practicing mindfulness for almost 14 years, going to retreats, training and teaching but there is nothing like coming in touch with one’s own mortality for waking one up to the here and now. In reality this is the only moment we have; the past is in the past and the future is only imagined. How do we respond to this moment?


“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers.

She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer.

When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there,

so she climbs down and holds on to the vines.

Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well.

She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging.

She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass.

She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse.

Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Tigers above, tigers below.

This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death.

Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat.

We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it

and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”

From Pema Chodron, The Wisdom of No Escape


Hint: Find out what makes you feel good and do it!




Pause and notice what is in your experience. What thoughts are going through your head, how are you feeling, is there any particular emotion around and what about sensations in the body. Ask the question, how am I? How am I feeling? Really being curious as to how you are. Spend a few moments feeling your feet on the floor and becoming aware of your breathing and then respond from this more grounded, balanced place.

[See STOP practice in 24/3/20 Coping with over-whelming feelings]