The calm, mindful me

I have been experimenting with various mindfulness techniques over the last 12 months or so.

I work in a city called Brighton in the UK. Lots of people in Brighton seem to love mindfulness and anything to do with their spirituality. I began to hear more and more people speak about mindfulness.

Conversations on the train:

‘Sorry, I didn’t hear you talking to me. I was doing my mindful breathing exercises’

Conversations in coffee shops:

‘I’m only drinking Pu erh tea now and trying to drink mindfully’

There’s even a book for mindful dogs, though as I’ve stated before, Nala doesn’t need it. She’s very advanced for a dog who fell in a pond twice today and was sick because she drank salt water.

My journey took its first real steps when I heard about the Headspace app via the Tim Ferris podcast. I took the 7 day trial and loved it.

The soothing tones of Andy Puddicombe made you immediately feel at ease.

The animations made you believe that in the cartoon world everything was relaxing and you too could live there as a happy lumberjack who slept well (Just me? Ok…).

I then started to read more books about mindfulness and came to the conclusion it was a wonderful thing. I looked into going to the Oxford Mindfulness centre to learn to become a mindfulness teacher later on. I took every opportunity to tell people they should try the app and see if it works for them. I bought books and read everything I could about it.

Cut to me falling into a the trap of reading too much and not applying enough. It fell out of my routine, to be replaced by a variety of other good things (reading, writing etc).

These last few weeks I’ve started up again. I’m trying the Calm app, and trying to catch myself before my mind becomes too busy during the work day and trying to take a few moments to breathe and focus again.

After just a few days of this I notice the difference. I’m calmer, kinder and more focussed. Looking forward to seeing what a difference a few weeks will make.

Venice in the rain, being away

Venice in the rain

My triumphant return to blogging. If you can play the trumpet, insert your own fanfare or watch this one. Triumphant isn’t it.

I took a short break from blogging after my best run EVER posting new content.

I needed to pause, I wasn’t too tired or bored of blogging. My computer was still alive and well. My fingers could still type. Allow me to take a moment to explain why this blog holiday was so required.

I am a man of finite resource and time. I can’t do everything all at once, even if I would like to and in the past would have tried to.

My April was made up of online courses, reading, preparing my house for a baby and also preparing my mind for fatherhood. Something needed to move to allow for the other things to be picked up.

I took myself off social media and limited the amount of TV I watched. The only reason I watched anything was because Silicon Valley came back. I wasn’t going to miss out on that. Obviously.

I am finding more and more that these pauses are good for me. They reaffirm what I need to be working on, and also what I shouldn’t be working on.

The picture above was in Venice on a rainy Saturday in April. My favourite trip ever. I took my phone but ignored it for the 5 days we were there. The TV in our apartment had one English speaking channel. Pippa had my full 100% attention and my mind had a bit more space to think. I think I look back so fondly on that trip in part because I was very present, not lost and distracted in e mail or news.

The wonderful part about the current blogging pause? I really missed writing. I am not sharing this blog anywhere at the moment, just practicing my WordPress building skills and practicing writing.

I wont be attempting to scale the dizzy heights of posting every day at the moment as I am still working hard on those online courses and baby T is due any day now, but I will be posting again.

It’s nice to miss something and to be able to start again.

The final piece of the puzzle

The lead.

Connection between you and your dog.

The guide to let them know where you are going and where they should be.

The rope that lets them walk you. 
The last one is where we are at. The lead remains the final piece of the puzzle. Nala is calm, loving and like a crazy beast when she gets on her lead. 

Usually I think dogs don’t get things because people don’t train hard enough. They don’t stay focussed. I have tried so hard, countless hours, countless techniques. Still Nala leads the walk. 

I shall be trying another thing this week, the figure of 8 lead. 

You can see it here

Next update – the battle for lead walking, a new tool…

A gift for you


Nala’s latest love is finding and retrieving dead dog fish. 

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Not strictly true. 

I think in this picture she is saying ‘I am so good to you, and yet you don’t seem grateful’.

This week I have been struck again by how wonderful it is to have a dog. The latest reason is the sense of community from other dog walkers. I chatted to three different groups of people at the pub on Sunday – we would have had nothing to talk about if Nala hadn’t tried to climb under their tables to try to eat the chips that had fallen down there. 

Love that dog. 

So close to my challenge…

A scheduling failure and a change of routine.

I schedule posts in advance, I write in bulk and schedule for the week – it helps to make writing something down a priority.

Then I didn’t set a theme for my blogging and freestyled a week. Two days working from home and I didn’t check in on my blog.

Nothing went up.

Bother.

Two days shy of my month of blogging.

I am rather disappointed with this, I’d set a win in my head and I missed it.

Don’t waste your time striving for perfection, instead, strive for excellence – doing your best.

Laurence Olivier

I could choose to focus on that I missed out on my month of blogging, or I could focus on the fact that in 30 days I added 300% more content than the site had had in its history. I did my best, and the bar for what is my best had been raised to a new high.

The focus could also be on what went wrong (routine, post planning) or I could celebrate the fact that I now have a pattern of writing that works well for me.

Writing has become a pleasure and not a chore.

So much good has come from this month.

To explain the picture above, I spent my weekend making furniture and finishing the babies nursery. Relaxing weekends, dreaming about the future are good for the soul.

With that we move on to April blogging, what to write about next…