If I Had My Life To Live Over

I think living in the moment requires a little reflecting on but not dwelling in the past and feel this lovely poem by Nadine Stair (age 85) from Condensed Chicken Soup For The Soul captures the wisdom of that: learning from where we have been in order to better be where we are, to cherish, relish and appreciate the moment, every moment. Take the time to walk barefoot and really feel the ground beneath you.

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.

I’d relax. I would limber up.

I would be sillier than I have been this trip.

I would take fewer things seriously.

I would take more chances.

I would take more trips.I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.

I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

You see,I’m one of those people who live sensibly

and sanely hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments and if I had to do it over again;

I’d have more of them. In fact

I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments.

One after another, instead of living so many

years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those people who never go anywhere

without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat

and a parachute.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot

earlier in the Spring and stay that way until the Fall.

If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter next time.

I would go to more dances.

I would ride more merry-go-rounds.

I would pick more daisies.

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This also reminds me of one of my favourite quotations:

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig. Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me. When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic. No rhetoric, no tremolos, no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell. And of course, no theology, no metaphysics. Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling, on tiptoes and no luggage, not even a sponge bag, completely unencumbered.”
— Aldous Huxley, Island

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The Blacksmith- A Traditional Story

There was a Sage called Dattatreya who in the course of his travels at one time was standing near a blacksmith’s shop. A marriage procession with lots of people in their glorious dresses passed by, making plenty of noise. The blacksmith was engaged in making an arrow and did not look up at this procession. Dattatreya was surprised and asked him about the marriage procession. The arrow maker said he was not aware of any such procession and said he was pointing and sharpening an arrow. He was absorbed and united in his work so that the outer world ceased to exist for him at that time. His whole attention was directed to the sharp point of the arrow he was making.

Attention

An excerpt from The Blind In Society by Jacques  Lusseyran

“Because of my blindness, I had developed a new faculty. Strictly speaking, all men have it, but almost all forget to use it. That faculty is attention. In order to live without eyes it is necessary to be very attentive, to remain hour after hour in a state of wakefulness, of receptiveness and activity. Indeed, attention is not simply a virtue of intelligence or the result of education, and something one can easily do without. It is a state of being. It is a state without which we shall never be able to perfect ourselves. In its truest sense, it is the listening post of the universe.

Attending to the Present Moment

Life is in the Present Moment

There are two dimensions to our awareness of life, one is in recalling times past and dreaming about times to come; the other is to be connected to what is. Here. Now. Those we consider wise are somehow more observant and in-tune with the situations of life, awake to the present needs. What do we attend to most of the time?

Typically we spend much of our time re-enacting the past or rehearsing for the future that we miss the opportunity to connect with the present and thereby diminish the depth of our lives. If we can train our attention to be present, we can return to past experiences and plan for the future as the needs of the moment require. As we attend to the present moment we deepen and enrich our connection with the vibrancy of life around us.

Awareness and Attention

Being awake, living in the present is very much to do with attention. This is a remarkable power, which is available to everyone and anyone. Where there is a strong power of attention, it is of great benefit not only in dealing with every day worldly matters, but also in connecting with the higher levels of awareness.

The following states of attention can be useful categories to consider:

Scattered: The attention is open wide to stimulus, but is acting habitually with little awareness, scattered by interruptions. A day of unfinished tasks, distracted, pushed around. We find life is hectic and unproductive. We end the day with a stack of half finished jobs left over to carry on tomorrow. In extreme cases this can cause stress and anxiety.

Captured: The attention is focused obsessively on an idea or task, oblivious of the world around us. In this little world we cannot respond to emerging needs.  We may even act hurtfully to those in our path by being unaware or dismissive.

Centred: Similar to the captured state, the attention is focused on a single task, but in terms of awareness it is worlds apart. The attention is not locked into obsession, but neither is it distracted- it is unifying, bringing related knowledge to bear intelligently. It is incredibly efficient and is often described by sports people as a state of flow.

Open: The attention is wide and receptive to the wholeness of the present moment. practising the exercise or the pause can bring the attention into this state, allowing us to rest in the moment and watch the world go by. This state is full of potential.

Do not dwell in the past, nor dream of the future; concentrate the mind on the present moment.                                                                                                                                                                                            

Buddha

To me, the very essence of education is the concentration of the mind, not collection of facts. If I had to do my education once again, I would not study facts at all. I would develop the power of concentration and detachment, and then, with the perfect instrument, collect facts at will.                                                                                                                                                                                        

Vivekananda, from Education

*tbc

Help yourself to health & happiness

After battling a debilitating brain tumour, healer Anna Parkinson, explains her approach to life…

In the autumn of 2002 doctors discovered a brain tumour pressing on my carotid artery. That tumour and the symptoms it caused turned my life upside down and the struggle to overcome it was to be the greatest battle I had known. Yet, although it caused me pain and fear, and for a while cost me both my eyesight and my income, that tumour was the best thing that ever happened to me.

In December 2010 I had what I expect to be my last MRI scan in a hospital for many years. It showed that what had once been a threatening tumour had shrunk to a negligible mass only 5mm across. I no longer have any of the painful and debilitating symptoms I once endured and I am strong and healthy enough to do anything I choose. This change happened for me without any medical or surgical intervention because, I believe, I had changed my mind about how to live my life. Knowing how to live my life has saved my life.

If your life is perfect you can stop reading now. If not, read on because I believe that we all have far more power to change our lives and bodies for the better than we know. In the process of healing myself I discovered how to heal others and learned much more about the power of our minds. so here are some very simple things you can do to help yourself to health and happiness.

SPACE… You need to start by giving yourself space. It can be space to have a deep conversation with yourself or with someone else in your imagination, or it can be just empty space where you don’t know what will happen but your feelings and thoughts will bubble to the surface. Take ten minutes a day to sit comfortably somewhere and watch yourself breathing. As you follow the deep rhythm of your breath you will relax and become aware of the jumble of thoughts that have been dominating your mind. Take time to sift the important ones from the unimportant ones. Let all the unimportant thoughts drift away on your outward breath. Ten or fifteen minutes daily is all it takes to focus on what is really important to you and reinforce your inner strength.

TALK TO YOURSELF…If you have physical pain, ask yourself what emotional pain you also have. If you had to imagine your emotional pain as physical, where would you feel it in your body? Can you detect a correspondence between the physical and the emotional pain you feel? When you have pain, either physical or emotional, use your imagination to release it. See yourself bundling it up like old wrapping paper and pushing it down your right leg into the earth (left leg if you’re left-handed). Imagine how this bundle is crushed between the rocks and fissures of the earth’s crust and destroyed in our planet’s internal fire. Feel the white energy from the center of the earth come back up through the earth’s crust and into your body through the soles of your feet to take the place of the pain you have released. I call this simple five-minute technique Earth Healing Meditation and it’s very powerful. Give it a try.

TAKE CHARGE… Contrary to the language we hear around us every day, it’s not other people who create and shape our lives but ourselves. It’s the choices we make that create what we ‘have’ to do, but often the event comes so far after our choice we can’t remember ever having chosen. See your life in this perspective. If other people treat you in a way you don’t like, ask yourself what it is that you are doing which creates this behaviour in them. Are you creating a situation in which they feel disempowered so that they feel angry or frustrated? Are you allowing them to treat you with disrespect by not standing up for what you really want? You cannot control their behaviour, but if you change your behaviour then you change the game entirely. You will be surprised at the power you have to create what you really want.

Anna Parkinson is a writer and healer and her book Healing is Feeling will be published soon. She offers healing, Hawaiian massage and counselling at Bloomburys in Biddenden. For more information see Anna’s website: www.hunahealing.co.uk