On my last post we explored whether ‘Meditation’ is a taboo word and the results were surprising.  An alternative expression –   ‘Mindfulness’ kept coming up though, suggesting different connotations – not so spooky, or suggestive of chanting and behaviour we might find strange in this country.  Not that meditation is really like that – but it is a common misconception.

We are more used to the term ‘Praying,’  but, again, it can be off-putting for some.

Yet the need for quiet contemplation is universally acknowledged.  Our culture doesn’t readily accept  ‘Meditation’ as mainstream yet, so sticking with what other people have to say, in a genuine discussion of experiences, thoughts, feelings and practices, here’s what came up.  Please feel free to add yours.  This is an open ended subject  and I have no set direction with this blog.  I’m happy to see where it is led.

AISHA ISABEL ASHRAF – EXPATLOGUE .  Aside from a burst of trying to teach myself to meditate as a 15-y-o, my experience with meditation has been in the form of Mindfulness.  I’m diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I battled depression, eating disorders, self-harm and suicide for over ten years before I got the help I needed. I received Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and learnt how to manage my condition, but last year I had the good fortune to discover something I wish I’d known about years before.  I volunteered to participate in a research study into the effects of Mindful meditation on depression relapse prevention and mindfulness is now part of my daily life. It’s helped me to manage and deal with my emotions and brought focus and calm to my life. I documented the 8-session research program on my blog. If you think mindfulness is relevant to what you’re writing about, you may want to read through the posts. Here’s the first, I still have two left to write up, but you’ll get the picture!

LISA PEARSON – MUMMY WHISPERER.   I’m a big fan of anything that gives me a break from my ‘brain noise’so ‘moving’ meditations work better for me like yoga or even going for a walk. I think that lots of people make it over complicated, and much too time consuming.  I can’t ‘ohm’ in a corner; my brain will be immediately writing a new blog post. I also hate ‘guided’ meditations. I’m normally swimming in the sea by the time the ‘guider’ gets to the beach. In my book I recommend starting with a little zen type meditation every day when making a cup of tea or taking a shower – it just means that you notice the sounds, sensations, smells, and what you see as you make the tea and become aware of your breathing. It’s easy to do and fit into life whenever we need a break.  Zen sounds like Mummy Barrow’s ‘Mindfulness.’

TANYA – MUMMY BARROW.   I LOVE meditation. I follow Headspace and their app and they refer to it as “Mindfulness” rather than mediation per se. I went to a workshop that Andy ran and we did a chocolate meditation. Holding the bar, feeling it through the wrapper, imagining the cocoa on the tree, who picked it, breaking a chunk off and hearing that noise and then putting in our mouths and letting it melt. The meditation that I do is a ten minute one. Every day. It grounds me. It brings me back to the here and now and it is what keeps me sane.  It is fab.  And Andy, who is Mr Headspace is an incredible man. Spent many years as a monk. I could listen to him talk for hours.

LOUISE R TURNER – ALL THE CAMPING GEAR. More than happy to add my weight to Headspace. The free app is great (I just keep doing the same days again and again!) It is the only thing that cures my insomnia. 10 mins & I’m off, thoroughly recommend it.  We have this CD which we’ve used a couple of times with both kids (they are 6 & 3, the youngest is less sold) and we’ve been using a kids meditation book with Mimi (oldest) to get her off to sleep too and she loves it!  I wouldn’t say it’s the most professionally done book in the world – and it’s more a booklet in length – but it’s done the trick!


Having never previously heard of this company called HEADSPACE, I dutifully trundled off to check it out.  It is these people who offer ‘Meditation for Modern Living’ and ‘The World’s First Gym Membership for the Mind.’

This is what they say:   Although most meditation approaches were developed as part of various spiritual disciplines, in recent years, many non-religious techniques have been created to bring the tangible benefits of meditation to people’s lives, outside of a religious or spiritual context.  

They keep it simple and succinct.  Their FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Page is FANTASTIC.  They also mention the  SCIENCE  and offer a free TAKE 10 programme – ten minutes guided mindfulness for ten days, which is definitely worth checking out.  I’m impressed and like what they seem to be about.  The New York Times says – ‘Andy Puddicombe is doing for meditation what Jamie Oliver has done for food.’


In my opinion Meditation is multi-layered and Mindfulness can be just the beginning.  Anything that brings you back to yourself  is healthy, will automatically bring about a more relaxed, calm state of mind and body and the method is neither here nor there.  I’ve compared what we see on the surface of ourselves with what we first see of the sea – and what can be seen by looking a little deeper (and it’s not difficult!) – on this post here.

I was going to nominate three bloggers who openly admit to struggling with this sort of thing or being unfamiliar with it, to see if they could give themselves just ten minutes a day to practise ‘Mindfulness’  or ‘Meditation’ in whatever way they’re most comfortable with and then share their findings with us in a fortnight or so, but perhaps volunteers might be better?  I shall put myself forward in my capacity as Older Single Mum  and, for the record, I was thinking of Helen Neale – Stickers, Stars and Smiles,  Ellen Arnison – In a Bun Dance,  and Helen Wills – Actually Mummy – there’s no obligation – none of us needs any more pressure!

What do you think?

Thank you again everybody.

NEXT – Healing our Children.


mindfulness, meditation,


  1. says

    For me, the label is less important than the result! My New Year’s resolution was to give myself 30 minutes every day after the school run of “quiet time”. Generally, I meditate … either guided, to music (I love a particular singing meditation CD I have) or in complete quiet. Some days are easier than others. The days that are hardest to do it, are the ones that I need it most! I always find that the space offers me clarity on tricky issues or a renewed connection to my intuition.

    The most surprising thing for me is how I’ve taken the experiences into other parts of my life. I even did an ‘accidental meditation’ with one my sons when he was poorly a few weeks ago! http://thelovingparent.com/child-first-meditation/ It was so effective that I bought all the kids ‘meditation’ CDs to listen to at bedtime. They love them. If they wake up in the night, they always press play again, so they can feel the benefits.

    I’ve also stated doing yoga twice a week, and with the peace I’m finding from the daily 30 minutes, for the first time in my life, I feel I’m really connecting with the yoga. (I’ve dabbled with it often over the years, but it’s never really ‘done it’ for me until now.)

    Great discussion here. Thank you! x

    • Anya says

      It’s great comments like yours that make this a great discussion – thank you so much. I completely agree with you about the clarity and being more in touch with your intuition and to encourage the children must be the best gift you could ever give them – they can truly fulfil their potential! I’ve just checked out that post – and see your entire blog is given over to following inner guidance as a parent whilst encouraging children to do the same. A fantastic post and brilliant outlook. I have become a new follower!

      • Anya says

        Yes, I get that – you go deeper than you had any idea existed! I used to get quite angry that this knowledge was there but I hadn’t been brought up with it at school or home! I guess that’s why it’s become a bit of a mission. Anger is a great driver. :)

  2. says

    I don’t really relate to the word Mindfulness. I guess because I’m not much of a meditator but to me it reminds me of things like “be mindful of” and “make sure you mind..”, so basically reminders rather than a state of peacefulness and calm. I agree with what you said above…meditation, if you don’t associate it to new age spiritualism or an old religion, is simply trying to achieve a state of relaxation or being at peace and I think you can do that at many levels. To me, praying will always be a type of meditating.

  3. says

    Well isn’t that a thing? I’m 1/4 of a way through a course with Everyday Mindfulness Scotland and the lovely Jeannie.

    I haven’t written about it yet because I’m still getting my head round it. Currently I’m internally standing by aghast while I watch myself failing to get round to any of the practices!

    So, your ‘nomination’ couldn’t be more timely as, indeed, is the introduction to Headspace. I would be delighted to report back once I’ve made a little progress along this road.

    Thank you x

    • Anya says

      Isn’t that a thing, indeed? I am not as disciplined as you might imagine, to be honest. Writing this blog has been awfully good for reminding me! I think headspace might be a good intro for many. Looking forward to how you get on. Failing to get around to it is just as valid news!

  4. Mummy whisperer says

    Thank you for adding that quote from me lovely!

    It’s great that you are getting people to think about meditation & wether there might be a type out there that works for them!

  5. says

    Thanks Anya, I’d be up for it if it was any other time of year. Probably I need it more than ever, but just finding time to eat right and exercise is a challenge at the moment. I’ll follow your progress though and maybe try in the summer :)

    • says

      Hope you don’t mind me butting in, but if you can just try 30 secs a day @actuallymummy then that can be great. It’s like pressing a pause button in the middle of the day to make sure when we are mega busy that we aren’t ‘headless chickening’ it, but tackling the most important stuff.

  6. says

    Thanks for including me Anya – mindfulness really has made big things happen for me and I recommend it to anyone. It’s something I needed for a long time but never knew – it’s great to be part of the effort to help it reach a wider audience.

  7. says

    I almost kicked myself when I saw this post being circulated around twitter, because I’ve been considering writing a few posts about mindfulness myself.

    I came to learn of Mindfulness through a CBT Therapy Group, aimed at improving self-esteem and managing depression. I didn’t get to finish the group, but the one lasting thing that I’ve taken from it, is the idea and practice of Mindfulness.

    We used to begin each session, by going through one of the practices recorded on an Audio Disc (I forget which one it was now) and although it was always a bit hit and miss, I gradually got the idea. Now, about three months on from my last session, I’ve found that I unconsciously utilise mindful techniques without really noticing and my mental health has improves as a result.

    Thank you for sharing this post – it’s spurred me on to get my own accounts of it written down!

    • Anya says

      I would still love to read about your experiences. Do link it up with my Page called Your Stories! Glad it has spurred you on and I really will look forward to it. :)

  8. says

    I’m a recent convert to mindfulness and yoga. I find it very relaxing and whereas when I’ve tried to meditate in the past and my mind has wandered, now I just acknowledge the wandering and continue. It’s different to thinking ‘oh I can’t do it’ and stopping, with mindfulness you don’t beat yourself up about not doing it correctly.

    I’m also currently having CBT and I find that a great help. I love how the different areas are interconnected and I find I learn something new about myself when I least expect to.

    Both CBT and mindfulness I find calming and restorative, and now I’ve started them I can’t see myself stopping, rather they will remain part of my life going forward.

    • Anya says

      That is all great to see Lisa – helping yourself is always he way forward. I’m glad you have found something that works so well for you X

    • Anya says

      Thank you Sarah – there’s no time pressure you daft thing. Glad you make it over here at all! I appreciate you support xx

  9. says

    Anya, I was just coming on here to tell you how you’d prompted me to seek out some more info about Meditation and I’d stumbled upon Headspace. Then I see you’ve mentioned it here. I’ve only just started the book – I must say his introduction detailing his journey from Uni to Budhist Monk to clown is worth a read in itself. Interestingly my husband and I have never spoken about meditation but it transpires that he’d actually like to do it too so we’re sharing the book and that in itself is a bonus too!
    Thanks xx

    • Anya says

      Fantastic news Michelle – so brilliant that you can do that together. You must be deeply in tune and that will all serve you well on your huge adventure! I haven’t got the book – will get on it, thank you and thank you for coming over to give me the feedback. xx

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