I try to be mindful in my life and activities every day ‘try to be in the moment’, it doesn’t always work out, so I just start again the next day. I try not to overthink too. There are many organisations, groups and people that help me with my mindfulness – in particular, The Blurt Foundation, Spark Support and Gabrielle Treanor. I love following photo challenges, so I was thrilled to see Gabrielle has started a prompt for September 2018 – #BreatheSeptember2018 launch on Instagram. This is the third year she has run this – you can check out previous hashtags too. People get involved on twitter and facebook too.
My Previous photo challenges
I wrote about what you might want to include in a photo challenge in April 2018, when I asked if readers wanted to join in with this hashtag:
My advice for getting involved with photo challenges:
There’s no right or wrong way to do a photo challenge – it’s up to you. Don’t feel you have to post every day, nor does it have to be public photos. Just do whatever is best for you 🙂 Previously, I’ve joined these photo challenges:
“Calming the mind is yoga. Not just standing on the head.” Swami Satchidananda
This week, despite the heat in Manchester, I’ve done quite a bit of gardening in the evenings, when most of our North facing garden is in the shade. I notice my mood is better if I’ve spent time outdoors, especially pottering around and watering the plants. I’ve rationalised my plants into bigger pots, pushed together so that I can water everything I need to and bigger pots retain the moisture. It’s also the first summer I’ve watered shrubs in the garden. It takes me about half an hour to water the pots (with a watering can and water from the water butts). We have had so little rain here – and the temperatures have been in the high 20s for a couple of months. Also, I’ve put succulents, sedums and drought tolerant plants in my hanging baskets. Gardening helps me be mindful – as does yoga.
7 August 2018 – posy of sweetpeas, lavender and dianthus – with The Book of You and a Be present yoga print
How yoga helps my mind, body and spirit
I’ve been practising yoga, on and off, for about 12 years, starting completely by accident. A friend of mine had a pal who was learning to be an Iyengar yoga teacher so needed people to practise with. It was right next to work, straight after work so it seemed a good thing to do. It changed my life.
When I was younger I had poor spacial awareness and was always tripping over, which lead to some hilarious incidents including my Steve (my former partner) pulling me out of a peat bog as I’d sunk up to my knees and was slowly falling face forward into the bog. Another time I went flying, just as a busload of tourists came round the corner in very rural Ireland. I was always collecting bruises from bumping into things.
It’s a long time ago, but the first things I noticed doing yoga was that it helped me stretch (especially my hamstrings), helped calm my brain as I was concentrating on breathing and the position of my limbs. I learnt to do corpse pose (Shavasana) not ‘banana’ pose as my first Yoga teacher Jacky named it. Yoga isn’t a quick fix – it took me about 6 weeks to see the real benefit. I carried on with Jacky’s classes and then John Aplin for years until my work pattern changed.
‘Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine’ Anthony D’Angelo – American Educator
The weather has been a bit chilly and windy here in Salford, so for today’s vase I picked the brightest colours I could find in the garden – lots of different kinds of dwarf daffodils, including a solitary frilly one. Most of the Daffodils came from a mixed bag of bulbs from my local garden centre Bents. I added some bright yellow primrose, which opens as orange, and a frond of blue scilla. I matched them with an aqua glass vase, which I bought at the Eden Centre a few years ago – it’s made from reclaimed glass, has a metal hanger, handy for wedging stems against. The vase is really a tealight holder – it’s appeared before In a Vase on Monday, with daffodils but I didn’t realise that until I looked it up on the blog. There’s rain drops on the Primula and one of the Daffodils has been munched – oh well that’s Nature for you.
I probably sound like a broken record, but the weather has been very backwards and forwards in April in Salford. It’s been even more changeable than usual for April, – and not many April showers either. There was the brief hot, sunny 70degrees for a few days mid week, which ‘might’ have been our Summer/Spring. It was rather wasted as I was at work, but it did give me a chance to take some photos around Oxford Road. Doesn’t it look awesome and I love the living wall on the side of the Physics building. I wish there were more of these and more Cherry trees around campus.
Cherry blossom in April
Manchester and Salford look stunning at the moment with the many ornamental blossoms – I counted over 50 trees on the way home in so many shades of pink and white, on my 6-mile commute (and two miles in motorway in deep concrete cuttings). I must take some photos of the local ones around Monton – there’s four mature cherry trees on our Green, which definitely isn’t big enough for a cricket match.
As usual I’m linking up with Cathy from Rambling in the Garden; she has a beautiful collection of many shades of white, with streaks of green when you look closely. Like many things, if you look closely you see more. A good reminder for life generally – and doing this helps me be mindful too. I’m expecting to have Tulips in my Vase on Bank Holiday Monday, there are many coming though.
Blurt Foundation #blurtselfcareathon April
This finished today -Monday 30 April 2018. It’s been a reflective day for me.
I’ve enjoyed the challenge of finding photos to represent the topics – sometimes it was very thought provoking, other times the photo and description were straightforward – some photos I had already and some I took especially for the prompt. I made a couple of collages too.
I’d definitely do another of these prompts again. Have you seen anything suitable? Would you have a go? Let me know in the comments.
I can see my neighbour’s stunning cherry blossom from my front door. Isn’t it gorgeous? It lifts my mood.
In the meantime enjoy National Gardening Week – hope you can get outside to enjoy some gardens, flowers and plants… or just a walk in the sunshine or doing something you love. It’s due to be a sunny Bank Holiday weekend so we’ll be making the most of it.
I’ll be taking notice of the small things too – #mindfulness. I’ve tapped into more of my inner sunshine despite being ridiculously busy.
We go to Australia in less than two weeks to see our awesome relatives so we will definitely see some genuine sunshine (inner sunshine too).
18 April 2018 – DAY 18 SOCIAL #blurtselfcareathon – My Australian family and friends, pals from Stirling University, Manchester work crew, RunMND posse, the Women’s Institute ladies and finally, but certainly not least my Eccles pals.
DAY 18 SOCIAL #blurtselfcareathon I’m a sociable and friendly person – I’m so fortunate to have so many friends and family who’ve supported me in tough times and good. And of course, My Chap – he makes me a better person.