savouring the simple things

Recent entries from Saraband
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SarabandMiles in March

This month I managed 29 miles – just one more mile than February. But I also notched up 13 miles in a single week so I know I can do it. On into April…

Miles walked in January: 23

Miles walked in February: 28

Miles walked in March: 29

Total for the year so far: 803 weeks ago


This mindfulness focus flows easily from the experiences of last month and also brings into play some tentative thoughts which have been gathering in a corner of my mind.

From Zen Habits

“When I stopped trying to change a loved one, and accepted him for who he was, I was able to just be with him and enjoy my time with him. This acceptance has the same effect for anything you do — accept a co-worker, a child, a spouse, but also accept a “bad” situation, an unpleasant feeling, an annoying sound. When we stop trying to fight the way things are, when we accept what is, we are much more at peace.”

This month I aim to remain with and accept life as it is – and there is every possibility that it will include some potentially difficult moments. I also want to focus on accepting people as they are – for who they are. Until recently I would have said that this is something I do easily but lately I’ve come to see that there are more judgements in my thinking and behaviour than I’ve been willing to acknowledge. It’s a good time to address that :) 3 weeks ago

Saraband 1 month ago


This has been very worthwhile: just taking things gently, letting it happen. Individual sessions haven’t necessarily felt worthwhile but over the month I’ve sensed a habit forming and I miss these few short minutes when I don’t find the opportunity to sit quietly.

Moving on to another mindfulness focus for this new month with a sense that meditation is integrated into my days :) 3 weeks ago

SarabandMarching on

So March has marched on – and I have little posted here to show for it. Re-reading what entries I was able to make, I can see that March has been a stern master: there have been tough lessons to learn. Time to bring the threads together.

My blueprint for success was: “focussing on the present moment: allowing each day, each week – this month – to unfold as it will; enjoying what unfolds and being as alert as I can be to the experience of the moment.” And a short way into the month I added: “What I am sure about though is that my Blueprint for Success centres around mindfulness and letting go of control and expectations.”

I remain sure of these ideals, but this hasn’t been the month to celebrate them in practice. Instead I’ve learned just how hard it is to achieve and I’ve experienced the consequences.

Fear has reared its head despite all my attempts to dispel it. I have been fearful of how things will turn out with the property sale and fearful of the financial consequences if things don’t follow the necessary path.

Some of this fear however, has stemmed from an alternative source. I was much more fearful when I allowed myself to listen to and be swayed by the agents’ talk and predictions: assurances which went against what my own instincts were telling me. When events evolved as they did – confirming what I’d privately thought – and I set about listening to my own inner voice and acting accordingly, much of the fear left me.

So this month has offered some positive lessons and reminders:
• A timely reminder that my inner voice, my intuition, speaks out for a reason
• An opportunity to accept and acknowledge the presence of fear when it proves impossible to control it. Acceptance and acknowledgement are more constructive than pointless fighting against it. The battle fuels the fear.
• An appreciation that in the midst of stress and worry it’s all the more important to absorb, appreciate and acknowledge the many other things that offer joy, wonder and happiness. They don’t disappear just because life has taken a bumpy road :) 3 weeks ago

SarabandThe 'M' List

Time to round off this boot camp :)

I’m persisting with establishing a short daily practice and plan to continue. I’m accepting there is cumulative value in discipline and regularity even if individual sessions seem frustrating and difficult.

I’m very happy with the elements of Mindfulness I’m introducing into daily life. This will remain an ongoing theme for the year.

I’m not sure that I’ve moved as much as I might have liked but again, it’s ongoing and will continue to build.

Although I’ve not posted a word under this subject, there’s been a lot of movement and shifting under the surface. Memories for me have almost always focused on the negatives. My memories are also very often egocentric and severely filtered. This knowledge has led in the past to discomfort and confusion. This year – and March in particular – has seen a gradual shift. I no longer feel sad or confused if I acknowledge to myself that for many years I’ve clung to a falsely negative impression of the past. I can accept that this is simply something I’ve done and I don’t judge myself. Without conscious effort, other memories – happy memories – have gently bubbled to the surface. I keep intending to jot them down but invariably that hasn’t happened. I’m not worried though: I sense this is something to hold lightly, to step back, to watch and to let it happen in its own time. For now I’m just happy to greet them with a warm smile :)

Marvels and Miracles
This is an easy one. And again something that will remain ongoing :)

Make & Mend
Not a single thing made, not a single thing mended! I’ve taken the goal off my list, not because it’s no longer a focus but because I don’t feel a need to make it that strong a focus. I’ll make and I’ll mend: no need to push for either :)

See a Murmuration
I still intend that this will happen. Just not sure when :) 3 weeks ago

SarabandTuesday 1st April

Tuesday. A muffled start but fog quickly gave way to sunshine. And April already ….. Welcome!

There is much to be thankful for:

  • waking rested and refreshed with little trace of the nagging virus I suspected yesterday
  • a softly shrouded start to this first day of a new month; the cushion of fog hinting at the gift of warm sunshine beyond
  • the rich fruity fragrance of my mango shower gel and body lotion – a real lift in the mornings and a much-appreciated gift
  • a good day at work – I think our new starter, W, is going to fit in fine :)
  • remembering to stop in our local shop – just in time to grab the final two ranunculus. I just love their rotund, multi-petalled cheeriness :)
  • my first passing glimpse of this year’s village lambs: always a joy
  • a great evening walk with the girls – the first for a while and the first in full daylight. Laughs, chat, mud, confessions
  • toasted coconut chips
  • through a random set of circumstances, I have only 1 day to work in the next 10! 3 weeks ago

SarabandThis book...

.. is new to me. Perhaps one I should research :)

and then add to the very long list to be read :D3 weeks ago

SarabandMonday 31st March

Monday. A new week; another month closing; the year is passing

I have much gratitude for:

  • S visiting at work – lovely to see her, just time for a quick catch-up
  • getting a difficult conversation over with this evening
  • a revitalising power nap
  • longer lighter evenings – though it was extremely difficult to get up this morning!
  • the beautiful orchid B bought me at the weekend – now perfectly placed in the bedroom
  • finally tracing the pair of small pictures I’d spotted some weeks ago – and seeing them in situ
  • mindfulness. Time may be traveling swiftly but my awareness and appreciation of each month, each week, each day has multiplied many times :) Farewell March! 3 weeks ago

SarabandAnd YOUR list...

... for this day was equally filled with joy and happiness :)

Here’s to our respective Mother’s Days :)

xx 3 weeks ago

SarabandSunday 30th March

Sunday. Mother’s Day

Sunday’s gratitudes

  • feeling rested and restored after two exceptionally short nights and two very busy days
  • soft spring sunshine
  • calls, cards, texts and flowers
  • buzzy bees on primroses and spotty ladybirds on geraniums
  • nuthatches visiting constantly: they must be nesting somewhere nearby
  • red kite flying low over the garden – magnificent
  • an early evening walk – in warmth
  • delicious roast dinner
  • quiet flow and happiness
  • love 3 weeks ago

SarabandLove this one

A real favourite

But never heard of Joe versus the Volcano. Must investigate :) 3 weeks ago

SarabandThank you, Compassionist

I’m glad it’s all behind me now. It’s so kind of you to take the time to comment :)

SarabandThey do indeed sound lovely!

I’m very tempted to try making something similar. (Taking onboard your caveats :) ) 3 weeks ago

SarabandMoon avatars

It has been so good seeing all the wondrous moon avatars; I’ve really enjoyed it. Thank you for starting this goal, Colleen :) 3 weeks ago

SarabandWhat a wonderful thing to do

Your son will be almost 10 when you have completed your novel: what a wonderful way to mark his first decade.

Did you envisage it being written over this length of time or has it simply evolved that way?

Will you try to find a publisher or keep it as something special for him?

I have been casting around for ideas to use as the basis for stories for my grandson – I used to write for my sisters and my own children. He is almost 4 now: about time i got started!3 weeks ago


I knew one or two people in the group when I was asked to join – none of them well. Now 2 are among my closest friends and have been a tower of strength and support when I’ve needed it. Like you, this was when I’d moved away from friends and family. The book club was the making of my new life here really :)

I hope you find something similar happens for you too :) 3 weeks ago

SarabandSaturday 29th March

Saturday. Expected a particularly busy day at work. It was busy … and then some

Saturday’s gratitudes:

  • awake and up before 5; hearing the first sweet notes of birdsong and witnessing the dawn
  • out walking early – the first time for many months – to herald the start of what promises to be a beautiful spring weekend
  • a call from the estate agents – good to have an update
  • frenetic teamwork – with no mistakes at the end of the day
  • an early Mother’s Day delivery from T just as I’d got home and settled with a glass of wine and some unwinding tv. His gift included the ideal number of chocolates, which I ate with much pleasure and no guilt. Perfect
  • B cooking dinner – lovely!
  • sleep…..zzzz 3 weeks ago

SarabandFriday 28th March

Friday. Extra working day = extra money in the pot.

Friday’s gratitudes:

  • a busy stimulating day at work
  • feeling warm, happy, strong and thankful
  • being able to help
  • getting a picture I love at the price I’d hoped for. I have the perfect place for it
  • an armful of books
  • my sweet puss cat; she gives so much :) 3 weeks ago

SarabandI love our book club

And we have a sort of informal film club too, where 3 of us go to a screening in the next village and chat about it afterwards. Just as you say, it enriches my experiences of both books and films enormously. I’ve also made some truly wonderful friends :)

Enjoy, and who knows – your YA membership may grow! 3 weeks ago


I remember when that insight came to me too. (It really wasn’t that long ago.) I do think all the years of merely listing gratitudes helps but when you start to truly feel those things it’s wonderful :)

I still have periods when I know I’m just listing: taking note and being thankful but not truly experiencing it fully. Now I accept this will happen sometimes – and it makes it all the more special when the real feeling of gratitude returns :) 3 weeks ago

SarabandThursday 27th March

Thursday. Sunshine after rain and then more rain at just the wrong time. But a good, good day. Today I felt gratitude in abundance; here are but a few of things I am thankful for :)

Thursday’s gratitudes

  • another wonderful sleep
  • fizzing energy. strength. happiness
  • unfurling lilac leaves – untouched by frosts
  • tiny loving gestures which mean so much
  • bulging parcels containing bargains – which fit!
  • the bond that exists between women; being able to give as well as receive
  • goldfinches in the blossom tree – a riotous tangle of bold colour amid the petal-pink softness
  • blackbirds nesting across the way
  • the huge golden yolks of fresh-laid eggs

Blessings indeed :) 3 weeks ago

SarabandYour post...

... is so timely: I tossed and turned for hours last night trying to stop my thoughts. I kept telling myself to get up but I never managed it. I’m sure had i done so I would have got more sleep in the end.

It’s my first bad night for a while luckily. Next time I WILL get up! 3 weeks ago

Sarabandisn't it :)

The artist is Francine van Hove; she is French.

If you google her you can see many more of her pieces. Beautiful :) 3 weeks ago

SarabandSo beautiful

and so poignant

Many hugs my friend


xx 3 weeks ago

SarabandOh dear

Walking has been woefully missing from my days since the last entry here. Only 4 miles last week and just 4.5 miles so far this week. Cancelled group walk, extra working days, necessary attention on the property front and general stress are not adequate reasons but there it is. I know that the stress may have mitigated by some walks but I couldn’t make it happen. After doing so well the week before it is a bit frustrating but never mind. I’ve walked yesterday and today and may well have my first group walk in a while this evening if the rain holds off. At least I’ll exceed February’s total mileage so overall things are on the up!

miles walked this month: 273 weeks ago

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