Cake & being Human…

A little confession, I don’t always practise this Mindfulness stuff. Sometimes I eat while watching TV & mindlessly scrolling my phone. Maybe you’ve done the same? We’re all human, just bumbling along and doing our best. But then we switch back into paying attention to the richness of the present moment, and it can be lovely!

I was in Brighton last week, walking though the Lanes when I took a bite of a raspberry & pistachio cake. It was ridiculously delicious, and I relished that first perfect mouthful. Then a blur of white feathers that felt like a clumsy angel brushing past my face, and it vanished. 

The cake and a seagull both gone in a split second.

I laughed, as the timing was impeccable and what else can you do? After checking that the seagull hadn’t left a Jackson Pollock deposit on my shoulder, I relished the typically ‘Brighton Experience’ of having a seagull steal my cake, with the stealth of an angelic ninja.

I’m so grateful that I’d fully appreciated that first bite, and hadn’t just wolfed the cake down while scrolling my phone & watching TV. It was all quite gentle, I didn’t see a sharp beak or beady eye, and no talon scratches to leave a mark. Just a soft blur of feathers and an empty hand.

In some traditional Zen stories, the master will slap the student in the face or pour cold water over them to hasten their enlightenment. Perhaps the seagull was my teacher, pushing me back into the present moment with a sneaky cake theft…

(I should also confess that in my short Brighton trip, I’d already eaten half my body weight in cake & chocolate, so by this point, perhaps the seagull was doing me a favour!)

When we’re away from home, it can be easier to ease back into a Mindfulness habit. In fresh surroundings we can be more aware of the present moment, and less caught up in the usual worries. 

Or perhaps you find this easier when cooking, gardening, or walking the dog? Hopefully at some point in your daily life you relax into just ‘being’ and not feeling as though you’re like Atlas, holding the world on your shoulders, and trying to care for everything & everyone at once.

Sometimes it’s those moments when we’re slightly delayed & forced to wait that we can choose to take a few deep breaths that ground us back to the present. Finding a way to welcome the slow traffic lights, or the laptop freezing, or our loved ones taking ages to get ready. A tiny minute of peace, if we can relax into the moment & notice the world around us. 

Most of us can’t do this 24 hours a day, but these tiny gaps in our schedule  are worth looking out for and practising just chilling out and being calmer. It’s better for our blood pressure and well being, and helps us find a little space in a crowded world.

Although I lost my cake, I decided that it gives me another reason to return to Brighton. The Open Bakery in Kemptown, in case you’re passing through…. Just wait till you’re indoors to nibble the cakes.

A good way to return to this state of naturally being in the moment is to join a Mindfulness & Writing Zoom. It’s a welcoming & friendly space, whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced writer. We’ll meander through some interesting new creative ideas, enjoy bursts of inspiration for quick scribbles, practise simple mindfulness habits and then relax with a meditation to unwind. Cake is optional…

For May our dates are Sunday 14th May 10.30am – 12pm and Monday 15th May 7pm – 8.30pm. Contact me if you’d like to join one. I promise no seagulls will be in the Zoom!