I was sat with a steaming cup of blackcurrant tea, looking out of my window at the sun rolling westwards and a flock of gulls winging their way across a powder blue sky - for a minute I wasn't in Yorkshire but at the coast. I watched their silhouettes, their slow and steady wing beat and I was savouring the flavour of the tea, it's fruity tang taking me back to when I was small and off school with a cold. Mum would make me hot Ribena to drink, to take away the sting of a sore throat.
My mind is wandering...I bring it back, back to the moment, to the gulls I am watching who are now silently winging their way over the woods and high up over the crags.
Being in the moment is something I have been practising since last year - it involves being present in the moment and not drifting into the past or planning ahead into the future. This one simple action helps to bring me back home to myself, when I find myself caught up in the highs or lows of everyday life - it helps me to regain my balance and my perspective.
That said, I'm still a work in progress. I sometimes forget.
When I forget to tend to myself, I lose myself. I become swamped by life, I dwell on things and ruminate until I realise my teeth are clamped hard together, my jaw hurts, I'm frowning, and I'm crabby.
And yet when I remind myself to just Be, the world seems to tilt on its axis to a quiet point, all is well...calm settles in my belly, I breathe...
There is so much peace and reassurance in any one moment.
It's so simple, I wonder why don't they teach this stuff to our kids in school?
Along with my meditation and yoga practice, my journals where I pour out my heart and write down my daily gratitude lists, I practise my mindfulness, moment by moment, day by day. I forget, I remind myself, I do it again. A work in progress this messy, beautiful life of ours.
And it is changing my life, as does being grateful, looking for gratitude in all things, being still in the moment, it changes who we are - it heals the dark corners and wakes us up to what an amazing thing this life of ours is.
It sounds blissful, and yes it's easier to do it when I feel good, not so much when life is harder. But that is the best time to practice, when life hurts or feels tough, to come back into that one precious moment and remind yourself in the thick of the chaos, you're home.
How do you find peace in the midst of the struggle? You stop, you breathe and you remember that this one moment is all there ever is, the past has gone and the future is still yet to be. And in that one moment, you are whole and complete, and there is the peace.
Sometimes life unexpectedly makes us stop and practice mindfulness without us even realising - with something fleeting like seeing a stunning sunset or hearing a beautiful birdsong, and when we start to stock pile those moments in our hearts, our lives are enriched.
I practice mindfulness when I am working, if I find myself struggling with a piece I pause...I breathe...and I allow myself to soak up the colour of the paint, the texture of the paint as I sweep my brush through it, it's so soft and buttery...the feeling of the brush as it meets with the paper...and in those small moments, so I come home to myself again, over and over.
And then I can see what needs to be done, there is ease where there was struggle.
There is space for mindfulness in all areas of our lives, no matter who we are and what we do. We are all, perfectly imperfect works in progress.