It’s a grey day here in Manchester, it’s been hurling down with rain for most of the weekend, my arthritic joints are aching and I’m getting over a horrible cold so I absolutely shattered (the bone sapping tiredness is back). BUT inside I’m feeling positive and ‘enjoy today’ is my mantra. I’ve made some significant changes over the last few months – a new adventure is starting.
As ever, my awesome husband is 100% supportive and helps me every day, as do my friends and family.
I did what I usually do to help myself feel a bit better I went outside to have a look what was flowering, take some photographs and see the state of the garden after a very wet and windy weekend. Taking photographs of flowers up close means you have to REALLY look at them. I’ve written before about how my garden and gardening help me to be mindful. Even, if you don’t have any outside space at your home, sit or walk in a park for an hour. Nature is everywhere even in very urban areas. I wrote more about how my garden helps me with my wellbeing.
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:
To Dwell is to Garden – Martin Heidegger, (1889-1976) German philosopher
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Physicist and Nobel Prize winner for General Theory of Relativity
With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment – Nhat Hanh (1926 – he’s 91!), Buddhist Monk
For me, Gardening is mindful, being in the moment. It doesn’t have to be me ‘doing’ things, it’s about the scents, the rustle of leaves, the birds, the hum of lawn movers in the distance. For me, when I’m in the garden, I’m in the moment – I find watering, deadheading and weeding relaxing – and planting too. For me, it’s about peace and recharging.
About my garden
It’s small, it’s rubbly soil and north facing; the neighbours have huge conifers, which make it even shadier at the end of the garden.
I love it – our small, sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the world
I’m content in the garden.
Before I bought my house – Summer 2009
In high summer 2016… some of the conifers on the right have gone now – but those on the left are even bigger 🙁
My garden is a work in progress – like me. I’m 51 – I definitely feel I’m in a new chapter with My Chap (my new husband) holding my hand, metaphorically too. To be fair, he does all the digging and heavy work as I have osteoarthritis. It’s a team effort in the garden.
and there’s always time to eat and relax.
Many pots planted (and watered), and always Yoda – any season… Yoda (and Star Wars have appeared many times on this blog).
I love lavender too – it figured very heavily at our wedding in September 2017 (it was our ‘confetti’ too) I have about 20 different plants around the front garden which gets sun all day.
Lavender and a cabbage white butterfly
Many crocuses and violas too. Always something for the birds too.
It’s not all purple flowers though – there’s lots of colour around the garden. Orange and yellow life my mood in Spring. I love tulips too.
Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. Luther Burbank, American Botanist
Meanwhile, you’ll find me in the garden, drinking Earl Grey or a Pimms… you’re welcome to join us if you’re in the area 😉
What do you do that’s mindful?
Originally, I wrote about what my garden means for me for the April competition at Cottonopolis Women’s Institute. We were asked to suggest our mindful activities, there was a vast range including knitting/crochet, sewing, baking, art or drawing, listening to music, and a few people like me loved walking or being in the great outdoors.
Our speaker in April was Deb Connor – an all-round star who led some mindfulness exercises and stretches. She’s a trained mindfulness teacher, an acupuncturist and is a vegan too.
I’ve been doing mindfulness for a couple of years now – which combined with over 10 years of yoga has really helped my mental wellbeing. I’ll write about this another time.
Women’s Institute – Cottonopolis WI, Ancoats, Manchester
We have so much fun at WI meetings, in June we made beauty products from lavender, peppermint and coffee skin scrubs.
If you’re local come along…
Let me know in the comments what you do that’s mindful? Do you have a garden? What does it mean to you?
Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort. – Deborah Day, Author Be Happy Now
I’m really looking forward to joining with The Blurt Foundation #blurtselfcareathon in April. Selfcare is something I try to do every day. I really enjoyed doing #blurtmerrycalmness it’s helped my #mindfulness practice, helped my #wellbeing and finding words and photos to represent each word.
It will mostly run on Instagram, but I thought I’d do some overview posts here too.
I’ve got lots of ideas of what pictures to take and what I want to write about to fit with the daily theme. I find that having a concept to think about each day, makes me think more mindfully. I do know that taking photos, being outside and being in the moment helps me enormously with my anxiety and living with chronic pain from arthritis
January 2018 – #savouringJanuary – @gabrielletreanor – Gabrielle writes about wellbeing, slowing down and self care, being in the moment, mindfulness advice for overthinkers (like me). I really enjoyed this photo prompt too but I’ll write about this another time.
Want to get involved with #blurtselfcareathon?
I’ve been discussing the #blurtselfcareathon on a peer support group on Facebook and some people were a bit stuck about what photos to take and what to write about.
So I thought I’d write a post showing some of my photos for the December prompts. I hope you find it helpful.
You don’t need to post every day – there’s no pressure with this.
If you want to keep things more private there are closed facebook pages – or just email yourself
It’s your selfcare – do it your way 🙂
It’s can be a good idea to look back to see what you wrote – and see how far you’ve come.
in some ways these photos prompts are a bit like a diary/journal
For me taking photos are part of my self care but they don’t need to look ‘instagramable’ or ‘touched up’. It really doesn’t matter what photo you use to represent your ideas.
have fun with it 🙂
go at your pace – catch up or skip days if you want to.
Have a look around the hashtag
Here’s the prompts for December 2017 – #blurtmerrycalmness
‘No Winter lasts forever, no Spring skips its turn’Hal Borland (1900-1978) American author and naturalist
No one in Britain can have missed the weather the last few weeks, #thebeastfromtheEast, #StormEmma and more snow due this weekend. I hope you don’t mind, but some of this post was written a couple of weeks ago, and the rest today, as another wintery weekend looms. Also I’ve been a bit stuck, very tired and osteo-arthritis aching but I’ve been plodding along. I feel a bit like Spring, stuck around the corner, nearly in reach but not quite. I saw something on twitter today, which made me laugh:
Winter this year, is like a person who leaves the room in a huff, only to come back in ‘and another thing…’ only to leave again… and return…
#theBeastfromthe East brought about 4 inches of snow to Monton, it’s very unusual to have this much, usually, it’s about two inches, as it’s very flat around here with many canals. It was THAT cold and icy our local Parkrun (Worsley woods) was cancelled… this never happens as it’s under trees and very protected compared to most Parkruns. Fortunately, my Chap was OK about this, as the air was far too cold for running – you wouldn’t think to look at him that he has asthma 🙂
The wind chill dipped to minus 12 during the night, and minus 8 during the day. I don’t think I’ve ever been so cold in the middle of the city. I’m very used to cold when I’m up a mountain and layered up. It reminded me of the very cold day in January 2015, when we went to Neuschwanstein, in Bavaria with my Brother and his family, who were visiting from Australia – happy memories 🙂
A very cold, snowy day in Monton on 4th March 2018
It wasn’t lost on me that 1st March was the start of the meteorological Spring – so I layered up with my thickest, longest waterproof, gloves, hat, scarf and boots and ventured into the garden to see what flowers I could find. I was surprised to find some tête-à-têtes, and some purple perennial wallflower so I quickly picked the flowers, and put them in a vase with some lavender. The vase has appeared in ‘In a Vase on Monday’ many times, I wrapped ‘bee happy’ washi tape around it. The print is part of a series – the Winter print with descriptions of moons has appeared too (Worm Moon, Pink Moon and Flower Moon) at the start of meteorological Winter. Butterflies and bees seem a long way off at the moment, but like most things, they’ll be back.