Just For Today – a Meditation by Tom Evans

Hi Everybody!

This week’s “guest speaker” meditation was given to us by Tom Evans and it is called “Just for Today”. It is designed to be practiced first thing in the morning, as we set intentions for our day. If you would like to practice it again, this is the link:

H – Happiness

How do we define happiness? Is it getting just what we want out of life? Having lots of satisfying and supporting close relationships? Peace of mind? Not having to worry? Or maybe it is a combination of all these things?

According to Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), an English poet, literary critic and philosopher – “The happiness of life … is made up of minute fractions – the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment.” If that sounds too easy to be true then think about it for a moment:

Do you spend your time thinking about all the things you don’t have that you would like; all the people around you who annoy you; all the things you have to do that frustrate you? If you do, then I expect you’re feeling pretty fed up. If, however, you fill your day thinking about all the things you have that you can be grateful for (particularly the little things as suggested by Mr Coleridge); all the people around you who care; and all the choices in life that you have, then chances are, when you look back over your day, it will have been a good one (or at least not bad!).

Happiness and gratitude work hand in hand, so why not try spending an entire day being grateful: For the opportunities you are given – to hug somebody you love; the choices you have – cheese or tuna (at least I know I won’t go hungry); the actions you take – saying thank you, paying a compliment, making a difficult decision and trusting yourself that it will be ok.

Most importantly, be aware of your thoughts. If you notice a negative thought creeping in, then try to replace it with a neutral or positive one. For example: “I bet it’s going to rain again today” could become “It might rain today so I’ll take my brolly just in case” or even “who cares if it rains today, I’ll have my brolly!”


Think about what makes you happy and inject some happiness into your life everyday: 

  • Spend more time building positive, supportive relationships. 
  • Invest time and energy doing something that brings you happiness.
  • Take time out to be alone and be with yourself, just being you. 
  • Look after yourself: eat well, sleep well, exercise well, live well. 
  • Be in the here and now – make the most of every moment and see if you can enjoy it for what it is.

Free your thoughts, live your life

… and be happy!


Guilt – (Part Two)

In Guilt (part one) we looked at the definition of guilt, and the first two types of guilt.  So let’s have a look now at the  other three main types of guilt, and what to do about them.

Guilt for something you think you did:  Our thoughts are so powerful we often talk about our thoughts owning us rather than the reality of us owning our thoughts!  Because we can often believe the power of our thoughts without question, they can sometimes lead to irrational beliefs. For example, you wish ill to somebody through your thoughts: “I really hope their prize-winning roses die so that I may have a chance of winning the gardening competition”.  Then what happens? You get what you wished for and those flowers die.  We irrationally feel guilty, as if our thoughts alone have caused those flowers to die.  In some small, unheard, area of your mind, you know that you didn’t really cause those flowers to die – after all, you are not omnipotent – so why do you feel so guilty?  Remember that actions, not thoughts cause harm, and let the guilt go.

Guilt that you didn’t do enough to help someone:  If you, like many others, are kind hearted, conscientious and caring, then you are more prone to feeling this type of guilt. You may have given hours of your free time to help somebody who was maybe ill, or unhappy, lonely or Guilt 4struggling.  However, you may also find that however much you do, you still feel that it wasn’t enough when that person is still sad, lonely, or unwell. The guilt starts to get to you and you try desperately to carry on helping them, despite the toll it’s taking on you. This type of emotional and/or physical burnout is sometimes called ‘compassion fatigue’ and is usually used to describe a condition found amongst professional helpers. Adding to the overall emotional drain of the situation is the guilt you overlay on top of the fatigue because you think you should be doing more. What is most important in this situation is to separate your feelings around why you want to help.  Is it because you just want to be of help and support, or because you fear that the guilt will overwhelm you if you don’t?   Acting out of guilt can only drain you further and ultimately make you a less effective helper.

Guilt that you’re doing better than someone else: The term ‘survivor guilt’ is applied to those people who survive a traumatic event in which others do not survive, or are perceived to suffer more deeply than the survivor. This condition is recognised by professionals who work with those combat veterans who outlive their fellow troops.

Survivor guilt can also be felt by those who feel they have made a better life for themselves than their family or friends or even (if you are very compassionate) than those who are simply less fortunate.  This irrational form of guilt can deeply affect the quality of a person’s life as Gratitude 9he may well over-compensate financially, emotionally or in other ways. The only way you can effectively cure survivor guilt is to turn that guilt into gratitude. Remind yourself how grateful you are for your life and the opportunities you have had.  Also remember that others would derive no benefit should you fail (or not have survived a disaster), and so you may as well appreciate and enjoy your success.

You can’t live a completely guilt-free life however, by being consciously aware of, monitoring, your thoughts and converting guilt to remorse, you can keep it within manageable bounds. If there is a positive side to guilt, it is that it can help you to understand yourself better and to question your motives, your attitudes and your actions.  By recognising when you have done wrong, you can seek to recompense, let go of the destructive feelings of guilt and behave differently in the future.

Free Your Thoughts – Life Your Life!

G – Gratitude


What do you have to be grateful for?  Do you ever think about it?  Does it ever occur to you to be grateful?

Practising gratitude is inherent in many eastern philosophies. It is difficult to feel negative feelings such as regret, disappointment and sadness if we spend our time feeling grateful for all the good things we have in our life.  However low and desperate we may feel, for most of us, there is always a reason to be grateful.  Did you eat today?  Do you have a roof over your head?  Do you have at least one person in this world who cares about you?  Do you have children who love you?  Do you have hobbies and interests that absorb your attention?

Have you ever heard of a Gratitude Diary?  Every night, before going to sleep, simply write down five things from your day that you are grateful for.  They don’t have to be life-changing events, because, in life, it’s the little everyday things that really count.  Some examples from my diary are:  The book I’m reading; a smile from a passing stranger; hugging my daughters; yoga; the love of my parents; time spent with a close friend; a happy client; plain chocolate; a beautiful summer’s day; a trip to the beach; finding the ‘perfect’ clothes item; when everything just feels ‘right’; and finding a free parking space!

We are all individual and different things will please us and cause us to feel grateful. By keeping a diary, you will focus on all the positive aspects of your day, instead of the negative.  This will automatically improve your mood and encourage you to develop a positive outlook. If you practice gratitude on a regular basis, you are much more likely to look forward to your tomorrows, as you will find there is always something in your day to be thankful for. Try keeping your diary for a month and go to sleep feeling grateful for the day you have just spent, and looking forward to tomorrow.