Right here, right now.

This really caught me today:

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It reminds me if this quote from CS Lewis:
For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which [God] has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. 

It’s so very easy to rush through the day, thinking about what you have to do next or ruminating on the past… And totally miss your life.

Every effort for being present to our own and others lives it has to be worth the prize of freedom.

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#100dayshappy

My first week doing 100 happy days has proved fruitful.
I have found so much more happiness in my life than I thought was there.
It is an important lesson.
Becoming mindful of the things which cause me happiness has allowed me to see the ongoing contentment in my life. I have learnt that happiness is not just about the big highs but also about that warm glow which lights up every day life.
This last week has been a real blessing and i would encourage you to join in by signing up to http://100happydays.com… and let me know how you do!

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Out the back door and into childhood

The dog and I walked through the woods at the back of our house, down onto the river and back up through the estate this morning.
As soon as we were in the woods I was transported. I am reminded of how as a child, the alternative route, the adventure of wild places and imagination combined, made for a blissful life.

It still does.

I saw deer in the woods today, too quick to photograph as they disappeared amongst the trees. Later we picked our way though a hidden path to get down to the river, and then along past sparkling water and a neat garden on the opposite bank. It was all a bit Alice in wonderland and I half expected to see pink flamingoes and croquet.

I am so greatful for the wild places on my doorstep which allow me to rest in mind and body, to take in wonder and find freedom in imagination. The lightness of childhood has a lot to teach us about being balanced and whole as adults.
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mindfulness grows your brain

I just saw this on Facebook:

Where we focus our attention channels our cognitive resources, directly activating neural firing in associated areas of the brain. For example, research has shown that in animals rewarded for noticing sounds, the brain’s auditory centers expanded greatly, while in those rewarded for attending to sights, the visual areas grew. Brain scans of violinists show dramatic growth and expansion in regions of the cortex that represent the left hand, which must finger the strings precisely, often at very high speed. Other studies have shown that the hippocampus, which is vital for spatial memory, is enlarged in taxi drivers.The implication is that neuroplasticity is activated by attention itself. And where neurons fire, they wire!Take a few minutes to notice what your mind keeps focusing attention on today.
It reminds me of what God teaches us in the Bible about intention:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble,  whatever is right,  whatever is pure,  whatever is lovely,  whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
It just goes to show how important daily intentional focus is. Worrying is the place where our brain grows in fear, where as when we focus on God, we give ourselves the chance to grow in hope.
Also all this helps make sense of why positive activities such as creative hobbies and physical exercise have such an huge impact on mental well being.
Food for thought.