Mind Full or Mindful?

The rhythmic patterns of undulating water are calming.

"It has been shown that being near, in on or under water 
can make you happier, healthier, more connected and better at what you do."
Taken from the book "Blue Mind", by Wallace J. Nichols

Watching soft waves lapping over sand in shallow waters
with the gentle ripples just catching the sun and drawing my attention 
to a beautiful white pebble beneath the surface.

Being mindful seems to be talked about a lot, but do we really know what it is?
Our busy lives are very full, so are our minds as we rush from one occupation
to another, sometimes doing several things at once.
Even our leisure time can become stressful when we try and cram in
too many things.

"It is only through the senses that we experience what it means to be fully human"
extract from "Sight and Sensibility" by Laura Sewall.

The ocean brings in a new energy.
When we are near the sea, all our senses are awakened;
sight, sound, smell touch and hearing.
The ocean awakens us so that we may understand life and live it more deeply.

Tender embrace

Noticing things as if for the very first time in a contemplative manner,
without labelling or judging.
This little catkin full of yellow pollen entwined in last year's leaf.
I loved how the soft natural background brought my attention to this lovely scene.

A play of shadows on a white wall and door 
brings me into a whole different dimension that feels surreal.
Shadows can transport us into a whole new world.

I recently came across these sweet snowdrops nodding their little heads
in the breeze.
They brought me totally into the moment, despite the town environment.
As I contemplated their welcome presence
all other sounds and distractions disappeared.
My breathing slowed and I felt my body relax.

I brought some pussy-willow into my home and notice how the little fluffy balls
change a little each day.
Nature is a perfect way to absorb life mindfully.

Walking along the lake, besides the lovely view on the water and mountains,
I am taken by the shadows of the decorative iron railing.
Walking mindfully, conscious of each steps I take, and how that feels,
is another way of calming the mind and letting go of any overflowing thoughts.

Have you noticed that when in shock, saddened or grieving, our breathing
becomes more rapid and shallow?
This immediately increases our feelings of anxiety.

The best way for me to calm down is to slow my pace, 
become aware of my breathing and consciously slowing its rhythm.

Here is a link to slow, calm breathing:
The cardiac coherence is a rhythmic or a coherent heart rate variability (HRV)
that balances the nervous system associated with stress and emotional state.
This can be attained through this 5-minute breathing technique.

Perhaps you use your own methods of practicing mindfulness,
it is possible that you're even doing it without even giving it a name!
It is useful to know that bringing ourselves into this state can
lower our blood pressure, reduce our stress levels, enhances sleep and improve our concentration.

Being aware of the beauty before us, and immersing ourselves
quite totally, allows us to take a step back from our over-active lives
and minds and bring us into a field of inner peace and contentment.

Breathe in the sky!

Many people manage to make space in each day to do mindful meditation,
but even without this, sitting quietly and breathing calmly for five minutes
will certainly be very beneficial.
I'd love to hear if you give that a try and how you feel about your experience.
Walking meditation is something which anyone can do.
Try it!

Slow breathing is something that can be practiced anywhere.
I sometimes do it when waiting in a queue. 
It calms any feeling of impatience I might have.
It can even be done when stuck in traffic jams or when travelling on public transport.

As a last thought,
Jon Kabat-Zinn, in his book "Wherever You Go, There You Are"
"Mindfulness provides a simple but powerful route for getting ourselves unstuck,
back in touch with our own wisdom and vitality.
It is a way to take charge of the direction and quality of our own lives,
including our relationships with the family, our relationship to work
and to the larger world and planet, and most fundamentally, our relationship
with ourself as a person."

I have enclosed a photo of some of the books that I have found useful. 


  1. such lovely images and helpful inspiring thoughts.
    i think that all my hobbies, art forms bring me present to the moment and to mindfulness.

    your calm breathing link does not seem to be active.

    I learned a new word today from someone who knits and stitches: mendfulness.
    Lovely day and beyond to you ~

  2. Thank you for your visit, Tammie. I fixed the slow breathing link. It is working now! Knowing you through your blog, I had understood that you already practiced the art of mindfulness!

  3. You always surprise me with your extraordinary ability to find beauty and meaning in every little detail. You're really touched by Grace, my dear. Thanks so much for these marvelous pictures and helpful inspiring thoughts. Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

    1. Thank you, Anabelia, for your very kind comment and for your visit!

  4. Very calming Sandra.
    I do practice mindfulness and positivity. I also started Yoga classes in January and that includes meditation at the end. All very relaxing and good for body and soul.

    Hugs, Sarn xxx

    1. Excellent, Sarn! It sounds like you're on the good track and one that works for you!

  5. There are a few places that I like to go when I'm feeling stressed. A walk in the woods behind my home, a park, or by the river always relaxes me. When I'm unable to get to any of these places, I just step outside and breath deeply. Nature is a gift we should take full advantage of. It can bring peace and contentment. Lovely images once again. I can feel your calmness.

    1. It sounds as if you have the art of de-stressing nicely organized, Cathy! If we live in the town, like me, nature isn't always at hand, so I do the breathing exercises! Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere at all.

  6. Love your collection of books. Have read a few of those. Have you read Buddha in Blue Jeans? It is an excellent guide to mindfulness. Your photographs are transporting. How gorgeous and serene.

    1. Hello Marcie! No I haven't read Buddha in Blue Jeans. It sounds rather intriguing! Thank you for your visit and your kind words!

  7. Great post, Sandra, and so wonderfully calming.

  8. Seems like we are all on similar journeys.

    1. Well, I don't know if everyone is on a similar journey, but many of us are waking up and realizing what life is really about. It's wonderful, isn't it?

  9. Your photos are like beautiful Zen masterpieces.

  10. Hello Sandra,
    every day more and more people come to realize (some only find out the hard way) that today's society/life isn't about living anymore. It's become a superficial rush ignoring our basic human needs. At least that's how I see things now. Trying to meet the expectations and the requirements (which weren't mine or even accountable) made me crack (twice - to be honest). I'm still not fully recovered and capable of facing this world again. So, I refrain to crochet and to those things that do me good. To get earthed again, to get in touch with my inner self again, to learn living again.
    Sometimes it feels like I'm all alone, but reading your post, I remember I'm not. There are more people out there in need of a life worth the living, people taking one step at the time and being mindful and fully aware of each of these steps...
    Thank you!

    1. Marjan, sometimes we get a wake-up call in the form of a difficult life experience. These experiences help us see the difference between what is essential and what is superficial.
      You do well to do things that make you feel good. I know how therapeutic crochet can be - just using all the wonderful colours we have on hand is a therapy in itself!
      We are never alone. There are always others on similar life journeys to ours. Thus we are encouraged and in return, we encourage others along the way!
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

  11. It is clear to me how mindful you are through your amazing photographs. I can sense the contemplative nature of your mind. I've always been struck by Ellen Langer's phrase that 'mindlessness is pervasive.' That having a full mind can make one mindless.

    1. Interesting, Kim, what Ellen Langer says about mindlessness. Thank you for sharing that and so nice to have you visit!
      I very much like Jon Kabat-Zinn's definition of mindfulness: "It's paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non judgmentally."

  12. Sandra, your photos are exquisite and your words so calming. Just reading this post makes me feel more peaceful and grounded. Thank you. I'm bookmarking it so I can return as needed.

    1. Thank you for visiting here, Lee. I am so glad you have found peacefulness and feel more grounded through your visit!

  13. Beautiful serenity and mesmerizing images. I think my camera has taught me to be more mindful, to stop and notice, to be present in each moment.

    1. That's so true, Susan. Cameras teach us a great deal about mindfulness because they bring us totally into the moment, as it is.