Mindfulness – not always easy

If we could all find a quiet secluded spot like this and find time to just sit quietly every day, our lives would be enriched.


Finding time to sit, to just ‘be’ isn’t always easy. It isn’t always easy to be ‘mindful’ either.

Mindfulness has become a buzz word over the last few years. Becoming trendy and the ‘in thing’ for businesses and groups to develop.

A while back I wrote a flash fiction piece with this in mind –

Friday Afternoon

How much should we accept our ‘fate’? He wondered. It’s all very well hearing that we should learn to accept and that includes any suffering, any bad times and any adverse situations at all. But that’s not so easy is it? Surely we’ve got to fight against the bad times not just give into them?

Mindfulness – that’s another thing we’re supposed to be working towards. Think of where you are ‘be’ in the present. When you are reading a memo, know you are reading a memo – think of the words, think of the person who sent it. When you are writing the reply, think with compassion; think carefully about your words. Listen to your breath, be aware.

What else did they tell us, he thought. Ah yes – breathe deeply and slowly before you get angry. I can feel myself getting angry now or at least indignant. How is all this supposed to help the workplace be more productive – I reckon it’s all American gobbledegook.

The new manager was going through the department with not just a new broom; he was clearing stuff out like a house clearance company run by an eastern guru.

Jim took a Satsuma out of his bag. The voice came back to him. ‘When you are eating savour each mouthful, feel the juice of an orange slide down your throat, chew one section slowly before you reach for the next. Think of what you are eating, savour each mouthful, don’t just gulp your food quickly before rushing off to the next meeting. Bring mindfulness to every part of your day.’

Hell! Jim thought, I can’t even eat without those guys getting into my head.

Jim buried his head in his hands. What is this?

When he went home that night, Jim’s wife noticed he seemed even more stressed out than usual.

She didn’t think it was a good idea to make the usual ‘Had a good day?’ remark. She looked at him quietly as he sat staring at the plate in front of him. ‘Take your time eating that’, she said, ‘you’ll get an ulcer if you eat too quickly.’ Jim picked it up and threw it on the floor.



Not Dante’s Inferno!

At present a group of us are reading the first part of Dante’s epic – the Commedia. So we are in the midst of the Inferno.

Although this is a remarkable piece of work written in the 1300s, it is quite striking how relevant it is to today’s political situation. We read of political parties being divided – so much in-fighting, back biting and general discord … I need say no more.

On a much lighter note, I was reminded of a piece of flash fiction that I wrote …

Late Night

Vera settled down with her night-time cup of hot chocolate and ginger biscuits. She pulled the tartan rug over her knees and cradled the mug in her hands. The plate of biscuits was balanced on the arm of the settee.

The clock had just struck ten. She was really ready for going to bed; ten was her usual bedtime but tonight she’d decided to stay up to watch the film on TV. She could have recorded it, but hadn’t quite mastered the intricacies of the remote and she didn’t want to miss that film by not finding the right channel and pressing the right buttons.

She sighed. Some things need a young head not an old one, she thought. Anyway, she could have a lie in in the morning to make up for her late night.

She reached out for a biscuit and dunked it in the hot chocolate. Mm, heaven! It took her back to childhood. But then it had been ginger biscuits and milk – cold milk not hot chocolate. But the bliss of dunking a biscuit… always frowned upon by her mother. Not ladylike!

Vera smiled at the memory and dunked the second one. With these new false teeth, she had to dunk anyway – hard biscuits were too much of a challenge.

The hot chocolate had left Vera with a warm glow. She put the empty plate and mug down on the wee table beside her and snuggled under her travelling rug. She didn’t want to put much more coal or logs on the fire.

The television flickered in the corner of the room. Vera picked up the remote to turn up the volume. Her hearing wasn’t so good these days. A shot and background  music blared out. Suddenly Vera felt she was falling, gazing into a fiery landscape. ‘Hell! I’ve gone to hell. I shouldn’t have left the church’, she moaned. ‘Is this divine retribution?’

A distant voice called, ‘Vera! Vera?’ Vera moaned softly. ‘Hell –I’ve gone to hell’ she whispered again.

The tartan rug lay tangled round her feet, the voice echoed again from her personal alarm pendant while the embers flickered in the hearth.