As we approach Thanksgiving Weekend and with Christmas on the horizon, I have been taking some time for moments of quiet reflection.
Moments of Quiet Reflection
I am a great fan of mindfulness. Mindfulness is basically bringing one’s attention to the present moment. For example just drinking coffee mindfully can be like a meditation. Really let your senses savor the aroma, the flavor and become aware of each mouthful. Focus totally on what you are doing and try not to let your mind wander. Give it a go! Actually I recently saw an advert for ‘mindful wine tasting’ recently – the mind boggles!
I know my American friends are heading into the Thanksgiving Weekend next week, with all of the events and traditional activities associated with that. I just had a week in the UK, surrounded by the madness of traffic (a shock when you live up a mountain), television adverts and shops pushing Christmas. The ‘noise’ really got to me and I found myself seeking moments of quiet reflection to avoid getting caught up in the stress of it all.
For me moments of quiet reflection are not the same as mindfulness. For example, I have just been adapting some t-shirts for Ringo to wear in the winter. He is quite a delicate little soul and the veterinary surgeon said he should wear a t-shirt to keep out the cold. Well I hate to be a skinflint but the cost of dog t-shirts is phenomenal. So I bought three child-sized t-shirts for peanuts (well €4 for the three is almost peanuts).
For one, I tried to maintain mindfulness as I made the amendments. I focused on each stitch and fold in the material. It took me a while to do. I kept pulling my mind back to focusing on my hands and what I was doing and the love I had for Ringo. The other two gave me time for quiet reflection. I allowed my mind to think through one or two issues I have been grappling with, but very gently. Not in a stressful way. And allowing my mind that space meant I found the solutions very easily. You know, sometimes when you are caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life you can’t ‘see the wood for the trees’!
Remembering Past Sacrifice
While I was in the UK it was Remembrance weekend. On the Saturday, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month we observed a two minute silence. This two minutes of quiet reflection on the sacrifices that had been made was first introduced in London in 1919. The practice lapsed for a while and was reintroduced during the 1990s.
My Mum and I were in a garden centre this year. There was a good deal of noise with all the people looking at Christmas displays but when the two minute silence was announced over the tannoy there was stillness and silence, as it should be. Apart from one small child desperate to see Santa, bless her.
Fond Remembrance in Quiet Reflection
Dealing with any loss encourages quiet reflection. I lost someone very dear to me earlier this year and I remember her best in the moments of stillness. This morning we found that our old outside cat Alfie, 14 years old, had died overnight. It was not unexpected as she had cancer. But still, as I carried her down to the woods I did so quietly, remembering her life. She lives on in Stevie Mouse and many others (she is Stevie’s grandmother). So every time I see the other cats I will still see Alfie.
A life well lived leaves no sadness, just memories. And you find the memories in moments of quiet reflection.
With the exception of Ringo modelling his t-shirt in a rather cavalier fashion, all of the images in my blog today are available to buy as fine art prints, just click on the image to be taken to the purchase page.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!