And breathe… take time out and come to the Mindfulness Drop-in Session at The Sumner Room, St John’s Church, Hale Road, Farnham GU9 9RP on the first Mondays of the month, starting with Monday 8 Jan 09:30 – 10:30. No need to book and completely free of charge.
On 1 October, we held a Mindfulness workshop day at St Mark’s. Despite earlier misgivings on my part, 18 people braved the rain and made it to St Mark’s.
Leading the day was our mentor, Suzette Jones (Diocesan Health and Well-being Adviser) and we had a variety of Mindful workshops, led by Suzette, Simon and myself. We had decided to split the day into two halves, which seemed to work well for people – some came for the full day whilst others attended for either morning or afternoon.
Mindfulness is a completely accessible method of meditation. Whilst it is not uniquely Christian, increasingly Christian practitioners are rediscovering this compassionate form of meditation. There were times to sit and meditate followed by “inquiry” – which gives the opportunity to compare experiences and thoughts within the group. We were introduced to Mindful Movement, becoming aware of tension and relaxation in our bodies. Mindful Flowers began with a meditation for participants to call to mind someone who needs their prayers. We then made and decorated flowers, wrote the name of that person on the flower before honouring the prayers by placing the flowers in a circle in church.
It was a very full day, drawn to conclusion with Mindful smiling. How hard can it be to smile for a whole thirty seconds? Just try it yourself.
St Mark’s Church Upper Hale, is offering a free Mindfulness Day on Saturday 11th June, 10:30am-3pm, run by the Health and Well-being Advisor for the Diocese of Guildford, Suzette Jones, who has much experience in running Mindfulness groups. St Mark’s also offer free sessions that are run on the morning of the first Monday of each month. Mindfulness is simply paying attention to our experience in the present moment with an attitude of kindly acceptance.
Suzette Jones said, “You are warmly invited to attend this free day on keeping our Mindfulness practice alive. The day will include several meditations and practices, new and old.”
Lesley Shatwell, who is a member of the church and who will be helping to run the sessions commented, “Mindfulness practice can help us to feel awake, aware, be present for more of our lives; to choose our actions more wisely; to let go of worries and habits which no longer work for us, and to boost our well-being and compassion for self and others.”
Spaces are limited so please register your interest to:
email@example.com tel: 01252 314703
Bring a packed lunch, drinks are provided.
Recently, I read a book that highlighted the fact that we understand how to manage our money, our financial resources, but we are far less canny about how we manage our mental resources. It went on to recommend four steps to ensure a good ‘mental economy’:
- increase income of mental and physical energy;
- decrease or eliminate unnecessary expenditures of mental energy;
- reduce and eliminate debts of uncompleted actions – old feelings, traumas, etc.- that drain mental energy;
- manage available income (energy) wisely by investing in more healthy actions.
It struck me that this is the spiritual life. We increase our energy by ‘breathing in’ – we pray, take time to go on retreat, do mindfulness or other meditations – the Bible tells us to ‘Be still and know that I am God’. We also try not to worry – that is the command that appears in the Bible more often than any other. We work towards forgiveness, such that the past isn’t a millstone around our necks. Finally, we work out what our vocation is, we find out what gives us joy and energy and what part we have in doing God’s work.
Too often we find ourselves exhausted, trying to fix unfixable people or situations whilst neglecting the things that God is calling us to. Perhaps the words of the Serenity Prayer say it best:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Ever felt like the world is just going too fast? Is there always too much to do and too little time? Well, (how do I explain it, this might be awkward …) perhaps you need some time-out. I know, for so many of us busy people, the last thing we can contemplate is spending time breathing, taking time for ourselves – that’s way too indulgent and what good does it do anyway, that’s not going to solve any problems. Hang on a minute … “time breathing”? How hard can that be? I’m going to breathe anyway, because if I don’t, then I’m really not going to get everything done.
Breathing. Yes, it’s strange, for most of us, breathing is one of those things which we just let our bodies get on with. But for over a year now, some folks in St Mark’s have been finding out about breathing Mindfully. Sitting, focussing on our breath and parking our worries and problems just for a few minutes. And gradually, our busy, busy minds take a break, take a breather and we are refreshed to carry on with all the stuff of life.
It’s not rocket science. People have known about Mindfulness for millennia. Some people might call it a form of prayer, a way of being still and letting God get a word in edgeways. For others it’s a technique which helps them de-stress. For still others again, it does nothing and it’s just a load of people sitting in a room breathing – what’s so special about that. Ah, but … what about you? Does it work for you? Would you like to give it a go?
We hold drop-in Mindfulness sessions once a month at St Mark’s. 9.30 am on (usually) the first Monday of the month. At the moment, they are led by Suzette Jones, the Diocesan Health and Well-being Adviser. Check out the weekly notice sheets and look for the notices up around our churches, or e-mail me if you would like to go on our mailing list. The next sessions are Monday, 7 December and 4 January 2016.
At St Mark’s Church on Alma Lane in Upper Hale there are already free mindfulness sessions on the first Monday morning of each month. The church is now offering a free Mindfulness Course on Tuesday Evenings, starting on 15th September, which will look at Mindfulness in more detail. The sessions will be run by the Diocesan Health and Well-being Advisor, Suzette Jones, who has much experience in running Mindfulness groups.
Lesley Shatwell, who is a member of the church and who will be helping to run the sessions commented, “Mindfulness is about purposefully paying attention to our experience in the present moment with an attitude of kindly acceptance. Mindfulness practice can help us to feel awake, aware, be present for more of our lives; to choose our actions more wisely; to let go of worries and habits which no longer work for us, and to boost our well-being and compassion for self and others.”
The Reverend Lesley Crawley, a priest in the parish, said, “Each session will focus on a different aspect of Mindfulness, for example Mindful walking or Mindful eating. The course is open to all, regardless of faith. It is based on Mindfulness stress reduction and will take us through how we can use Mindfulness in our everyday lives.”
To qualify for a free place you need to commitment to attend all 8 sessions and a small amount of homework is required. Spaces are limited so please register your interest to:
Communities Engagement Team
Diocesan House, Quarry Street, Guildford, GU1 3XG
tel: 01483 790335
We all have to do it but probably pay it little attention.
Once a month for the last six months Suzette Jones, The Diocesan Health and Well Being Adviser, has been leading us in Mindfulness sessions at St Mark’s Centre. Using Suzette’s simple technique it is possible to find moments to be mindful wherever we are – in queue, a traffic jam, even at the dentist’s.
Mindfulness is simply focussing on the breath and being present in the moment. Just by breathing attentively for a few minutes I have been able to step away from my busyness and whirling thoughts to find a little calm and perspective. I have found it liberating to realise that I don’t have to be doing all the time, it is ok to stop and be.
Many of us who have attended the sessions have managed to incorporate some mindful breathing into our lives and found it really beneficial in different ways.
It is so easy and impossible to get wrong. Come and sit with us and breathe.
Next Mindfulness Sessions at St Mark’s Church, Alma Lane, GU9 0LT are on Monday Mornings 9:30-10:20am on 30th March, 27th April, 1st June