Do you ever get lost in daydreams? Do you ever close your eyes and get so swept away by some delicious fantasy or other that it's as though you're really living it? Then something snaps you back to the here and now, and if you're a really good daydreamer, and you were very much 'gone', it's quite a shock to land back here in your present circumstances?
Try the power of slowing down by focusing on all your senses while eating, by focusing on the food, the environment you're in and on chewing. Once you've experienced what going slow can do for you, you'll want to try it all the time.
This idea of where I feel most at home is often on my mind when I return to Sydney. I always have this need to reconnect, not only with my family, but also with myself. It's a chance to reflect on where I came from and where I am now in my life.
If you have ever spent 48 consecutive hours doing nothing but nourishing your body and soul, you know the value of stepping away from routine and taking a deep breath without the distraction of responsibility. A getaway built around an ambitious itinerary may be a great escape when you are looking to shatter monotony, but it can also leave you longing for a vacation from your vacation once you return home.
I'd been toying with the idea of meditation for years. As a health and beauty journalist, I knew all the benefits - from better concentration and sleep to stress reduction - but I just couldn't get my head round actually doing it. I'm a working mum so my spare time is limited. Yet though I could find time for exercise, I could never quite shape up to just sitting still and doing what seemed like nothing.
There is a lot of laughter at Sunset Mountain. Llena is a tiny, wiry Brazilian, with incredible energy and a real gift for communication. 'It is as if her words go inside you,' someone from our group of 20 people says.
Two years ago, Louisa was living in a studio flat off Brick Lane, having "gone off the rails." On one of her all-day benders, a guy walked up to her in a bar and asked if she, "Wanted to learn about the female orgasm?" Although she'd been sexually active since the age of 14, she didn't have an orgasm until she was 18
Fear! We all have fears, whether it's speaking in front of a crowd, the spider in the bedroom, heights, commitment, failure, success, rejection and the most famous one of all - fear of the unknown. When fear shows up, do you Forget Everything And Run (F.E.A.R)? Or do you Find Excuses And Reasons (F.E.A.R) to hide under the covers of life and stay right where you are?
It's difficult to explain an illness that can't be physically seen and one that initially swooped down on me and then held me prisoner without any notice period or early warning call.
Knowing the benefits of exercise is not the same as going for a run, and thinking about mindfulness is not the same as practicing mindfulness. Several years ago, while getting ready to brush my teeth, I was thinking about presenting mindfulness to a group I was going to see later in the day.
Ego enables us to see shortcomings and weaknesses in others, but not in ourselves. And when we do see our weaknesses, ego hides them and claims to the world that we have none. How do you know when your ego is at work? If you feel insulted, if a criticism hurts, if you get defensive, lose confidence.... it's your ego reacting!
It seems we are no longer assessing our self-development by self-inquiry but by the amount of blue thumbs up we get on our status update. When our sense of worth is hinging on social media, it's time we think about quitting. I mean, what the hell is going on here?
The bikes are normally blue but this summer there's a limited number of yellow bikes to celebrate the Tour de France coming through London and as I arrived at the bicycle stand there was a special yellow bike among the blue bikes. I felt like Charlie finding the golden ticket in a chocolate bar and took it as a good sign.
What do you think of when you read the word 'Now'? Perhaps you can hear the distant warbling of Elvis Presley passionately proclaiming 'It's Now or Never'? The constant advertiser's dream slogan that piles on the pressure to 'Buy it Now'? Better still, you engage with your experience and senses right now to focus your attention on the present moment?
Like most of you reading, this I am on the professional treadmill of getting around four hours real sleep a night whilst juggling your iphone, kids and personal lives with any of the proverbial plates crashing at any possible moment.
Wow, I thought. Life is great! GREAT! And for a moment I was flooded with happiness and joy about how well everything was going. And then, as it always does, sheer dread kicked in. This can't last, I thought. Oh my God, I'm too happy. Things are too perfect. It's just a matter of time before the other shoe drops. Horrible, awful things happen to people all the time. I should know.