Every Breath You Take

Every Breath You Take

Mental Health Awareness Week is in full swing in the UK. Check MentalHealth.org’s website to find out more about this annual campaign and events in your area.

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Mental health affects us all. This is a time to mind out for ourselves and for others.

We’ve borrowed a short chapter and the simplest exercise from Zen master, peace activist and author Thich Nhat Hanh‘s Peace Is In Every Step (The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life) to share a little mindfulness with you today:

Conscious Breathing

There are a number of breathing techniques you can use to make life vivid and more enjoyable. The first exercise is very simple. As you breathe in, you say to yourself, “Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in.” And as you breathe out, say, “Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.” Just that. You recognise your in-breath as an in-breath and your out-breath as an out-breath. You don’t even need to recite the whole sentence, you can use just two words: “In” and “Out.” This technique can help you to keep your mind on your breath. As you practice your breath will become peaceful and gentle, and your mind and body will also become peaceful and gentle. This is not a difficult exercise. In just a few minutes you can realise the fruit of meditation.

 Breathing in and out is very important, and it is enjoyable. Our breathing is the link between our body and mind. Sometimes our mind is thinking of one thing and our body is doing another, and mind and body are not unified. By concentrating on our breathing, “In” and “Out,” we bring body and mind back together, and become whole again. Conscious breathing is an important bridge.

 To me, breathing is a joy that I cannot miss. Every day, I practice conscious breathing, and in my small meditation room, I have calligraphed this sentence: “Breathe, you are alive!” Just breathing and smiling can make us very happy, because when we breathe consciously we recover ourselves completely and encounter life in the present moment.

© Thich Nhat Hanh, 1991 / Bantam Books / Rider / Ebury Press / Random House

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Let’s keep talking about mental health all year round.

Check back soon for our next fundraising event.

Photography: Green Graphic – © Mental Health Foundation; Zen Garden and Poppies – © Emma Boden / The Fine Line Project

Charlotte Campbell @ The Fine Line Project, Southampton Cellar

Charlotte Campbell delivered a finely tuned and utterly engaging set for our Rethink Mental Illness Benefit last month. Catchy songs, finely played, interspersed with a perfectly pitched dialogue – the entire audience was enchanted.

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Since the gig we’ve been enjoying her album Blue Eyed Soul – thoughtful and thought-provoking lyrics, fresh melodies, crystalline voice with a honeyed warmth.CharlotteCampbellA2272SteveMaynardTFLP613b

Along with her signature tracks Blue Eyes, Green Eyes, Quiet Nights and Feathers and Wax (more of which below), check Jump, Charlotte’s reflections on the music industry, and On the Southbank dedicated to the famous London riverside where you may yet catch her busking, before she becomes too famous.

CharlotteCampbellA2252SteveMaynardTFLP613wmWe also love Feathers & Wax, with thanks to Charlotte for sharing the lyrics – here’s a little snippet:

We look around for something inviting
For unholy ground, safe from the lightening that singed our wings.
Why are we here, raising our voices?
It seems so unclear, but we all made our choices to sing.
And that’s the main thing.

I’ve found that the meaning of life
Is to do what you love and try to survive  
And hope that you don’t fall apart
When you’re finally opening your heart.
And find that the clothes on your back
Are nothing but feathers and wax.CharlotteCampbellA2260SteveMaynardTFLP613wm

Here’s a link to the full track on Charlotte’s site:

Read some more about this bright young artiste and listen to a couple of completely different tracks on St Pauls Lifestyle’s brilliant multi-media site. Most of all catch her next gigs – Charlotte’s singing in Llanbedrog, Aylesbury and Cambridge so far in August.

CharlotteCampbellA2274SteveMaynardTFLP613wmcfBig thanks again to Charlotte, Steve Maynard for some more great photographs, the St Pauls Lifestyle team and The Cellar Southampton for hosting the event.

The Times they are A-changin…

We’re getting calls and texts about the Time To Change ads, asking if we’ve seen them and what we think. Well we think they’re brilliant and they’re definitely getting people talking, which is what it’s all about. Thanks to charities like Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, who are heading up the Time to Change campaign and have been working in the mental health field for decades here in the UK, change really does seem to be afoot… Let’s keep it going!

If you aren’t in the UK or haven’t managed to catch any of the TV adverts yet, take a look and read about the stories behind them here:

Time To Change

We’ve borrowed Bob Dylan’s line so here’s a little picture of the great man together with Joan Baez, another amazing talent. With thanks to Wikimedia Creative Commons images – if you know who the photographer was/is, let us know!

Joan Baez Bob Dylan Creative Commons