Plane Tree in the Park

Living in the Now is simple but not easy! Yet there is all around us beauty that brings us naturally into the now, silencing the mind even for a couple of minutes. Treasure these times and go into the silence and the peace. Experience consciousness, which is your true Self.

It is spring in South Africa and in Johannesburg trees and shrubs are bursting into leaf – such abundant life. Walking under Plane trees in the park, I was reminded of who I truly am.


Roots sunk deep in fertile earth

Summer tree stands strong.

Branches divide and multiply,

Invisible under leaf-cloud.

Leaf after leaf after leaf

Droops down open-palmed,

A gathering of such profusion

As to silence speech.

Breathing out, air dances through,

Spangling leaves with sunlight;

While I, sheltering in ink-blot shade,

All inner chatter stilled,

Rest in the eternal moment.

                             Jill Jacques

Remember to be kind and gentle with yourself.

(Living in the Now, less stress, more happiness by Jill Jacques, available as a download on Amazon)

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The sound of Silence

Love the simplicity of this

Karen Wilson_ Awaken


Let`s sit in a very quiet place.

What do you hear?

Is there any sound outside?

What about inside?

Is it quiet inside?

Are there any voices?

Is  there a voice?

Is anyone having a monologue inside my head?

It is actually very noisy inside.

It is very loud.

So loud that I can`t hear the silence from outside.

Let`s try to be silent inside.

Let`s try to have peace.

Let`s try to stop that inner chattering

Let`s meditate

Let`s breathe

Just for a moment

Just be

Be still

Be silent

Be Silence

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Wherever you go, there you are

‘ “I live in the third cloudiest city in the world,” the young man said to his travel companions, sparking a lengthy discussion. …It would have been an innocuous conversation in, say, a New York apartment on a gloomy day. But we were all in the middle of a glorious African sunset and nobody seemed to be looking.

The conversation lingered while the new moon and the Milky Way, the scents of potato bush and woodsmoke and earth went unremarked. A hyena may have laughed at the absurdity of it all!

I wanted to take them by the shoulders and shake them all into the moment and shout, “Look at what you’re missing!”

Travel Weekly

How often do we stand before what should be mind-stopping beauty,  and instead of being silenced by the awesomeness of the present moment, continue with trivial conversation to our companions. Our minds have become incessant chatterers governed by the ego’s need to be noticed, to be taken seriously or simply to fill the unaccustomed silence.

Watch how the ego strives to stand out through personality, opinions and countless other devices; the true self is content simply to be. (Chapt 6 : The Ego)

‘The ego knows nothing of Being but believes you will eventually be saved by doing’


We rush around busily doing this and that, filling every moment with frantic activity. Why? At the end of so many years we will die; all of us. So why get caught up on the hamster wheel of constant activity when simply coming to our senses, literally, in this moment, brings a period of peace; of non-doing. An opportunity to truly experience all the beauty that is laid out before us.

Why this desperate need to travel to other countries? There’s nothing wrong with travel or wanderlust, but if I spend my time in a foreign country nattering away to other travellers, or in my head, when I can just stand in silent awe and take it all in, will I arrive home with an indefinable sense of being cheated? I missed it all. Then I must quickly start planning the next trip….

Be kind and gentle with yourself always.

The full book can be downloaded as an e-book from Amazon on  or, Search by typing in: Living in the Now by Jill Jacques 

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Feel Calm in the Mornings

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist and mindfulness expert, has this to say:

“As soon as I wake up, I spend around three to five minutes on mindful awareness, which keeps me calm and gives me clarity for the day ahead. I breathe slowly and evenly, in through my nose and out through my mouth, while I go about my morning routine – but I remain silent. Set your alarm five minutes earlier, before the rest of the family can get to you. Breathing calmly and evenly fills our brains with optimal levels of oxygen and makes our neurological system fire at its best. It also levels out our stress hormone cortisol, and boosts endorphins and happy chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine. It’s time well spent.” 

I agree with the techniques offered above, but I think they may be somewhat idealistic! In my experience, very small children are almost always awake before their parents, and impatient to start the day. I once mentioned to my daughter how the Dalai Lama suggests that we sit down calmly and quietly to enjoy our breakfast. Her retort: “He obviously doesn’t have children to dress and feed and get ready for nursery or school, feed the dog, prepare children’s lunchboxes, physically get them into the car and out again, before heading for work!”

Teenagers, on the other hand, are almost impossible to wake up and this requires huge amounts of energy on the part of the mother/father!

Having said all that, spending 3 – 5 minutes consciously acknowledging our surroundings on waking and while still in bed, whenever possible, is an excellent practice, and so is silence, where possible. But don’t accept or reject anything I write – try it out for yourself.

Remember to be kind and gentle with yourself.

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Unlocking the Mind’s Power to Change your Life

” Ellen Langer, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, spoke at a conference this week about how a mindful state of awareness can enhance wellbeing, help people to live longer and allow them to transcend what they thought were their limits.

She suggested that people typically operated on auto-pilot, letting the past determine the present.

‘Most of us are not there most of the time,’ she said.

‘We don’t taste what we are tasting, we don’t hear what we are hearing. Mindfulness is the simple process of noticing – noticing what’s new about people and things we know. When you notice, neurons are firing.'”                                                                      Sunday Times

We all want enhanced wellbeing, a long life and to transcend our perceived limits. Exercise, a healthy diet, happy relationships and hard work can all contribute , of course. But being here now, present moment awareness, is key. Exercise consciously; if you’re walking, look around, enjoy the fresh air and the birdsong, rather than planning the rest of your day in your head; taste the healthy food you eat, rather than worrying about what it cost; meet everyone as if for the first time, rather than seeing them through old ideas you hold about them.

See your world afresh. Delight in it . It is your birth right as a human being.

Be kind and gentle with yourself. 

The full book can be downloaded as an e-book from Amazon on  or, Search by typing in: Living in the Now by Jill Jacques 

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Mindfulness as a Solution

From 2 research papers:

” MBT (mindfulness based therapy) is an effective treatment for a variety of psychological problems, and is especially effective for reducing anxiety, depression and stress.”

“Mindfulness= based stress reduction improved mental health and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy prevented depressive relapse.”

‘It’s well known that mindfulness has been rigorously prodded and probed by neuro-scientists, and has received a certain stamp of approval. In fact, another incarnation of Kabat-Zinn’s work has come to be known as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, which is leading an incredibly successful, drug-free charge against the modern epidemics of anxiety and depression.’

                                                                                                                   The Times

This makes so much sense if we remember Dr Derek Roger’s definition of stress as ‘ a preoccupation with emotional upset’. This refers to the dangers of constant rumination: “She shouldn’t have said that – it was hurtful.”     “No-one has the right to shout at me like that! Next time I’ll……”    “I don’t need someone like that as a friend She knows I didn’t so it on purpose…..”      “He should have remembered….”

When we entertain thoughts of past and future that have an emotional thrust, our fight-or-flight response thinks we are under threat. Adrenaline and cortisol flood the system unnecessarily – our blood pressure goes up, we tense up and our immune system is compromised. That is stressful.

In our minds we futilely try to change the past or worry about what might happen in the future. Remembering to live in the present eliminates the stress caused by fantasising about past and future. Living in the Now invariably evokes a deep peace and contentment, a joy in just being alive. Whenever you remember use your 5 senses to bring you into the present – so simple, yet so effective. (Chapt 5: The Stress Connection )

Remember to be kind and gentle with yourself.

The full book can be downloaded as an e-book from Amazon on  or, Search by typing in: Living in the Now by Jill Jacques

















The full book can be downloaded as an e-book from Amazon on  or, Search by typing in: Living in the Now by Jill Jacques

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Now is all we have


 “It seems that if I want to be psychologically healthy, I need to ape the faithful. And it turns out I am already on the right track. I have recently, like many others, become interested in subjects such as yoga and mindfulness – a secular type of meditation.

Such fields were once considered flaky, but now that their health benefits are proven, not least in the way they strengthen prefrontal lobes in the brain, it would be foolish to dismiss them.

We’ve granted quasi-religious status to wellbeing pursuits  such as mindfulness. It’s like soft Buddhism and it’s no bad thing, We are so busy, so wound up, so the recognition that we are not machines and need to find therapeutic ways to deal with our stress is very welcome, however it comes about.”                                                                                 Sunday Times 

What strikes me about this quote is how generally confused it sounds – a jumble of thoughts and comments with only the first part of the last sentence something we can all relate to.

And yet mindfulness is really very simple, though it may not always be easy. What happens in our brain, relating mindfulness to religious beliefs or secular methods, and needing to copy others, are all unnecessary for living in the now. All you have to do is be here now. And even that has little to do with doing and everything to do with being. Use your senses to bring you into this moment. Or use conscious breathing. Allow the chatter in your mind to be replaced by stillness. Rest there. You are the awareness. No research or definition is necessary. Resting in that stillness you experience mindfulness and you are living in the now. (Chapt 1: Awareness)

Be kind and gentle to yourself.  


The full book can be downloaded as an e-book from Amazon on  or, Search by typing in: Living in the Now by Jill Jacques

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