Cathedral Grove

Monday Mindfulness ~ July 20, 2020

Today, I want to thank you. (Yes, you!)

I often feel a great deal of gratitude for this kind, respectful, and supportive online community, which all of you have helped create alongside me. Whether you’ve kindly followed Cathedral Grove by email, Facebook, or Twitter, left a thoughtful like or comment on a post, or even made a small donation towards cups of tea and biscuits to help fuel my creative urges, I want to tell you how very grateful I am for you and your continued support!

Where has all this come from, you might ask?

Well, recently, I wrote a bit about the importance of checking in with ourselves often, greeting our negative or difficult thoughts with gentle acceptance if we can, and practicing gratitude for the things, places, and people that bring us joy and comfort. (If you missed it, you can check it out here!)

The wave of positivity and kindness that rose up from the ripples made by that relatively short piece of writing was wonderful to witness. Truly, it has been such a pleasure to read all of your wonderful comments over this past weekend, as well as to see that the topic has inspired so many lovely interactions between readers over on other sites (…like Elle’s Unpopular Opinions, for instance – cheers, Elle!).  

I’m of course grateful for you all every day, but every now and then a certain special something will happen which really highlights the loveliness of this community and makes me want to sing your praises!

Just before I leave you with this week’s quote, I’d like to just remind you of a little thing I put together a few weeks back – a dedicated space for anyone and everyone to share and promote their creative work. Whether you have a blog, YouTube channel, podcast, Twitch stream, or maker’s shop, do stop by and leave a link to your work so that I and others can support what you do!

Mahatma Gandhi - Where There is Love, There is LifeToday’s Monday Mindfulness quote is from Mahatma Gandhi, a leader of India’s non-violent independence movement against British rule.   

Monday Mindfulness ~ June 29, 2020

Here in the UK, we are on a knife’s edge.

Come July 4th, many of the restrictions put in place on March 23rd – the start of our nationwide lockdown – will be lifted. Following on from the recent re-opening of shops, the likes of pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, playgrounds, cinemas, museums, libraries, and places of worship will be allowed to welcome visitors once more, albeit in a socially distanced way. Lockdown-weary households will be able to travel elsewhere within the country, with summer ‘staycations’ becoming possible now that holiday accomodations like campsites and hotels can begin operating again. These are but some of the big changes occuring this weekend, but suffice it to say July 4th is our big leap back towards ‘normal.’

As an American ex-pat living in the UK, I must say it feels strangely fitting that our day of release from lockdown restrictions should happen to fall on Independence Day. But I digress.

As we prepare to make our big leap back towards ‘normal,’ I must admit that I feel a bit discouraged. This ‘anthropause’ – as I’ve increasingly heard it dubbed – has afforded us with such a unique, possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-examine the way our governments, societies, and even selves operate. We have a chance to tweak and reshape how we do things, to create a greener, kinder, safer, more inclusive world for all. But when I look ahead to our country’s grand re-opening this summer – well, it looks to me like we’ve generally decided to press on with business as usual.

There’s still hope, however. 

I haven’t shared these doubts with you all to cause any despair. Rather, let us – you and me both – see our dreams of different times ahead reignited and our efforts to help bring about positive change both big and small redoubled. As today’s quote urges us to do, let’s not simply have an opinion of what the post-anthropause world should look like; let’s take steps to make it our reality.

Paulo Coelho - The World is Changed by Your Example

Today’s Monday Mindfulness quote comes from the Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho.

Monday Mindfulness ~ June 1, 2020

Hello, world.

I don’t need to tell you that these are challenging times. As many worldwide continue to perish of COVID-19 and its many complications, we’re also bombarded daily with news stories of political malfeasance, human cruelty, and environmental destruction.

The pain felt and uncertainty faced by many of the most vulnerable right now is undeniable, but what is will not always be. Change is a constant, and – though it is perhaps difficult to imagine at present – there will come a time in the future when current events are but a distant memory.

We shouldn’t just move on, however. I remain hopeful that we as individuals, communities, nations, and as a species can find ways of learning from our present circumstances and that we can work towards a better, kinder, greener world, one that helps look after the mental and physical health, education, financial security, and safety of all – not because there is a major public health crisis occuring, but because it is the right thing to do.

What’s more, I hope that we can find ways of balancing the meeting of our own needs with those of the planet as well. (Remember, climate change hasn’t been put on hold while humanity has been busy with other big issues.) 

I’m not naive, thinking all this will be easy to achieve. It’s a herculean effort – one that will take time, as well as the dedication and persistence of a great many people. But I believe a better, kinder, greener world for all is worth it, don’t you? 

Dalai Lama XIV - Pain to Wisdom

Today’s Monday Mindfulness quote comes from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. 

Monday Mindfulness ~ May 11, 2020

Hello, lovely people. I’m grateful as ever that you have stopped by. You’re just in time for another installment of Monday Mindfulness. This week’s thought for the moment comes from philosopher and psychologist William James.

Now, I have an important question to ask…

How are you doing?

As I’ve said before and will say again, these are strange times indeed. Tucked away in our homes during lockdown, alone or with just our immediate household, it can be all too easy at times to feel we are a distant island in a turbulent sea, cut off from other people.

But we’re not alone.

Sometimes we just need to remember to pick up the phone and call a good friend. Or send a lovely bit of snail mail to a dear relative abroad. Or simply say a polite hello to passerby – from a socially responsible distance, of course!

Anyway, lovely people, I truly hope that you are all doing well. Feel free to drop a hello in the comments below. And, in case you missed it earlier, I’d be thrilled if you’d pop a link to your own site over on this community thread I’m hoping to build up over the coming days and weeks. You may find a few folks well worth connecting with – and they can support you and your creations as well!

William James - We Are Like Islands

Monday Mindfulness ~ May 4, 2020

Good morning, everyone. Monday Mindfulness is back after a brief pause.

You know what? It’s good to pause now and then. It’s good to break routine, do what some might consider ‘nothing’ for a bit, and simply appreciate being.

For many, a world in lockdown may feel like a world paused – and for some, that may seem a scary notion. But, as Eckhart Tolle reminds us in today’s quote, stillness can be a wonderful thing. Within stillness lives opportunity – for everything from self-discovery to a greater appreciation of place. When we become still – as in meditation, for instance – it can be as though a door has been opened for us, through which we might step into realms of deeper connections and greater understanding. There is possibility in pause.

Whatever you might find yourself getting up to this week, please remember to be kind to yourself. Try to extend that kindness to others too if you feel able. And don’t forget as well to make a little time to pause every now and then.

Eckhart Tolle - Stillness is Where

Monday Mindfulness ~ April 20, 2020

Good morning, all – and a very happy Monday Mindfulness to everyone as well. Thanks so much for pausing here with me this morning for a fresh thought of the moment. 

Perhaps you, like me, sometimes look at what is currently happening around the world and wonder the likes of: ‘Am I doing enough?’ ‘Am I contributing meaningfully enough?’ ‘Am I helping others enough?’ Let this quote from Teddy Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, be a gentle reminder to us all then – that whatever we’re doing to look after ourselves and others throughout these strange times is enough.

Took only what you really needed from the store during your weekly shop? Reached out to someone you haven’t spoken to in some time, even if you only chatted for a handful of minutes? Snapped a picture of a beautiful field of flowers spotted during your walk-a-day, then shared it to lift spirits elsewhere? Or perhaps you decided just to do a bit of doodling today, simply because it’s a tool in your mental health first aid kit? Whatever you’re doing to share a bit of loving-kindness with yourself and others, it is valuable and positively impactful, whether you realize it fully or not.  

Theodore Roosevelt - Do What You Can

Monday Mindfulness ~ April 13, 2020

Hello again, everyone – and a happy Monday Mindfulness to you all as well. I hope that you all enjoyed an Easter weekend filled with self-care, good cheer, and – of course – lots of chocolate. 

Let’s have a double – no, a quadruple! – feature this week, shall we? Here are two fresh thoughts for the moment, one from Anne Frank and another from Aesop. I’ve also snuck in a couple ‘oldies but goodies,’ meaning two previously featured quotes – one from Karen Salmansohn and another from Mark Twain. This week’s common thread: KINDNESS

Which quote speaks to you the most right now? Let me know below.

Anne Frank - You Can Always Give

Karen Salmansohn - Be the Reason Read More

Monday Mindfulness ~ April 6, 2020

Here’s wishing you all a very happy start of a new week, no matter where you are around the globe or what you’re doing to keep yourself healthy, safe, and content at home. As always, thanks for pausing here for a bit.

This week’s Monday Mindfulness features a quote from Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, and I hope it will offer some good food for thought.

These are strange times that we are living in, but I remain hopeful that current events may indeed inspire individuals, communities, and maybe even countries to re-examine their current practices, to tinker with them and perhaps even replace them with kinder, greener ways. 

What positive change would you most like to see emerge from current hardships?

Steve Jobs - Life Can Be Much Broader

Monday Mindfulness ~ March 23, 2020

After a bit of a pause, it’s time once again for a fresh dose of Monday Mindfulness. Here’s hoping that this latest installment – featuring a thought for the moment from Richard Carlson, author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff as well as Stop Thinking, Start Living – finds you and yours well.

There’s a lot going on around the world right now. I know, I do – I’m stating the obvious. I only mention it because it would be dreadfully easy to dwell on and perhaps even become overwhelmed by all the negative news circulating at the moment, but please try to resist that urge if you can. There are positive stories right now too. Choose, as best you are able, to focus your attention on the good. Choose joy. Choose kindness. 

Richard Carlson - Experience of Life

Monday Mindfulness ~ February 17, 2020

Hello, everyone. Thank you as always for pausing here on your journey today. After a bit of a hiatus, Monday Mindfulness is back once again – and I am very grateful that you are back once again too.

Those of you who are UK-based will no doubt have been in some way impacted by – or at the very least know of – last week’s Storm Ciara as well as this week’s Storm Dennis, two powerful weather systems which have been wreaking havoc throughout communities across the country. Here in West Yorkshire’s Calderdale region, an area of steep-sided valleys streaked through with rivers and canals, Storm Ciara brought with her a month’s worth of rain in under 24 hours, with wind gusts reaching upwards of 75mph at times. Hail, sleet, and ‘thundersnow’ (a particularly interesting fixture of our region’s winter weather patterns) abounded as well. Waterlogged local communities such as Sowerby Bridge, Mytholmroyd, and Hebden Bridge were still working towards recovery when Storm Dennis hit this Friday now past, although thankfully the rainfall, while still heavy, was much more intermittent this time around, giving local waterways a chance to recede a bit in between deluges.

This is an area which is accustomed to harsh winter weather and catastrophic flooding, but of course that doesn’t mean it gets any easier for affected individuals and families to weather each subsequent natural disaster emotionally or financially. Fortunately, community authorities and organizations have learned to ‘go with the flow’ so to speak, and whenever disaster does strike folks come together and kindnesses big and small are to be seen all around. 

As recent events help highlight, we may not be able to control what does and doesn’t happen to us, but we can always determine how we respond to events. If we go with the flow and bend with the wind, we can remain strong and practice kindness when something less-than-ideal does inevitably happen to us. 

With that thought of the moment in mind, I’ll leave you with this relevant quote from martial artist and actor Bruce Lee – along with a wish for you all to have a satisfying week ahead, filled with things that cause you to smile and for which you can be grateful. 

Bruce Lee - Bending with the Wind

Monday Mindfulness ~ January 6, 2020

Hello – and a very warm welcome to you all, whether you’ve been visiting since the early days of this little seedling of a site or this is your very first time stumbling upon it!

As I’m certain anyone who so much as glances at the news will no doubt already know, 2020 has started off with a few troubling developments around the world, the devastating wildfires wreaking havoc across Australia, for instance, as well as the sharp escalation of tensions between US and Iranian politicians. For many, it may be difficult not to be weighed down by events such as these, becoming overwhelmed by feelings of powerlessness to stop such things from happening or to at the very least improve matters.

I urge you to remember that while we may not have control over what happens in the world, you can still choose everyday to be kind. And remember as well that kindness begins with you; if you look after yourself in both body and mind, you’ll not only be doing yourself a great kindness, but you’ll be better able to help others too.

I’ll leave you this week with a quote from Byron Katie, an American author and speaker. Wishing you all a very happy, healthy week ahead!

Byron Katie - Let Life Live You

Monday Mindfulness ~ November 11, 2019

Good evening all, and a very happy Monday Mindfulness to you.

Today’s thought for the moment comes to us from Arthur Ashe, professional tennis player and the first African-American man to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and Australian Open. 

Wherever you may be right now, whatever might be going on in your life at present, remember that you are enough, just as you are, however you might be feeling. You’re a whole microcosm of awesome, and you’ve got this.

Much love, all.

Arthur Ashe - Start Where You Are