Sunday, 23 March 2014

A Weekend of MINDFULNESS helps manage a busy life...

As life seems to get busier and busier and there seems to be a endless build-up of expensive and time consuming bureaucratic processes heading my way, I have been thrilled to experience a day (and weekend) of moments that have brought my mind to a halt and made me appreciate solitary moments of time.
Seeing this super yacht equipped with own helicopter was a random enough site in the harbour, not something you see everyday in Wellington.
Super rich yachts
 The first random event of the weekend occurred when one of my football team mates invited me to the opening ceremony of the '24 hr Relay for Life' race at Frank Kitts park. The reason for the invitation was because another mutual friend (Nick) was giving a speech as a 'cancer survivor' before the event began. The event was huge with 87 teams (some with up to 100 members) including several schools from the region, running / walking 24hours in aid of cancer charities. see below.... 

Relay for Life Ceremony
Nick's speech was one that took me by surprise, having not been aware of the scale of his battle against illness and all that he has endured over the past 4 years. There were plenty more people in the crowd that had similar stories. Nick's humorous, yet moving account of his recovery along with plenty more tales of both successful and unsuccessful battles against Cancer could be heard from the audience. Listening to Nick's speech was the first moment of the day where I felt totally mindful of the moment I was in. There was also a moving performance from a group called 'StarJam' who finished with the event theme song - 'Somewhere over the rainbow'. The event included an evening remembrance service for people who have died from Cancer related illnesses. 
StarJam performance
I had my own remembrance service planned (for my gran) that evening, and was soon on a bus up the Kapiti Coast.... 
As the weather forecast suggested a clear day, I had decided it was time to say goodbye to my gran in my own way (having been unable to attend the funeral in the UK). Taking a candle to the beach had seemed a fitting way to remember her... First stop was a bite to eat and a walk along the beach from Paekakariki station.....

Paekakariki, Kapiti Coast
Jumping for Life @ Paekakariki
The beach was pleasantly empty, as it usually is, and so I took full advantage to get another jumping photo in! The log just made it perfect! The sun began to set and I got to snapping away to capture the moment as best I could....
Birdlife at Paekakariki
The local wildlife were quick to join us, mainly because my friend who'd accompanied me, decided to waste some perfectly good Cadbury's Chocolate 'Fingers' on the seagulls. I quickly grabbed the chocolates, and set about eating them myself!
Dusk at Kapiti Coast
 As the sun began to fade we made our way out into the sea with a little candle holder, which was floating nicely, but the wind just wouldn't let me light the candles sufficiently to set them out floating. An OT always has the 'smarts' to improvise right? So finding some rocks that offered some shelter allowed us to light the candles until they burned out, whilst we sat back and watched the ever changing colours in the sky!    
Candles by the beach...

Changing colours @ dusk.... 
Being Mindful
The time spent on the deserted beach really allowed us to become mindful of everything around us in that moment, the sights (color of the sky), sounds (seagulls & waves), smells and feel of the sand underfoot. No other thoughts were invading my mind, and I was able to enjoy the tranquility of living in the moment for a second time that day.  

 Mindfulness: (also translated as awareness) is a spiritual or psychological faculty (indriya) that, according to the teaching of the Buddha, is of great importance in the path of enlightenment.
Mindfulness is a concept I have touched on before, and used to help many people in my line of work, deal with significant distress, to avoid self harm behaviours and deal with suicidal thoughts. It's also something that has existed for years in spiritual concepts like Buddhism. The use of mindfulness techniques in mental health practices seems to be on the increase, and I've also heard many people tell me that going to a particular place of tranquility seems to be something that helps them 'keep well'. 
I think I'm starting to really appreciate why mindfulness can be so effective in this kind of environment. These seagulls seem to have been aware of this for a while I think....

Regards from New Zealand...

1 comment:

  1. Great post Dan - and yes, paekakariki is a magic place for mindful relaxation and contemplation!