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How to live well: 5th meeting - positivity, savouring & gratitude

 

"Ten thousand flowers in the spring; the moon in autumn; a cool breeze in summer; snow in winter.  If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life."                                Wu-wen

"Thus weave for us a garment of brightness; that we may walk fittingly where birds sing; that we may walk fittingly where grass is green; O' our Mother the Earth, O' our Father the Sky."       Tewa Indian 'Song of the Sky Loom'

Deepening our enjoyment & appreciation of life

A sense of meaning, connection to our values and real engagement in what we do are crucial to nourish high wellbeing in our lives … and then high wellbeing feeds back to help us be more vital & effective in what we do.  But it’s important too to ‘smell the flowers’ on our journey.  Excessive focus on being happy is likely to be counter-productive but being too ‘puritanical’ tends to shoot ourselves in the foot as well.  The fascinating work of Barbara Fredrickson on the 'broaden & build’ function of positive/pleasurable emotions illustrates the way that deepening our enjoyment & appreciation of life doesn’t just balance energy & effectiveness, it actually boosts these qualities.  A high emotional

  • A day spent "idle & blessed": revisiting an experiment - savouring & "positive state mindfulness"

    Last September I went back to Cambridge for a reunion ... the first time I'd ever been back to school or university for such a thing.  It was an experiment in "emotional archaeology" and I wrote a series of blog posts about it.  At one stage I experimented with a dialogue between the 22 year old and the current 62 year old versions of me.  In the post "Going back for a university reunion: self-esteem, hallucinogens, wonder & the transpersonal", I wrote "I changed subject too from philosophy to medicine (in 1970).

    Mindfulness during daily activities: is it helpful to vary the proportions of the five facets?

    "If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life."    Wu-men

    This is one of a series of blog posts triggered by attending a MBSR training - see for example the recent "Learning mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR): second evening of the course".  A key aspect of the training is the development of "mindfulness" in everyday life.  To me, mindfulness during daily activities seems to have different flavours at different times.  I wonder if this is useful, if varying the flavour depending on the situation can be helpful?  Here are three examples from the last three days:

    E: Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, session 5

    Life is an endless unfolding, and if we wish it to be, an endless process of self-discovery, an endless and unpredictable dialogue between our own potentialities and the life situations in which we find ourselves. By potentialities I mean not just intellectual gifts but the full range of one’s capacities for learning, sensing, wondering, understanding, loving and aspiring.

    - John Gardner

    Yesterday evening was the fifth session of this 12 evening training course.  I wrote about the fourth session last week.  As usual, this evening, the material we were due to cover was described in a dozen Powerpoint slides which the participants received as a handout.  See slides 1-6, Powerpoint or slides 1-6, PDF and slides 7-12, Powerpoint or slides 7-12, PDF.

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