Mindful writing is a meditation with focus and can normally be experienced through factual observation e.g. taste, touch, sound, smell and sight.

I wrote this journal extract in a local cafe, first in the past tense and then in the present tense:

The café is practically empty of people apart from one customer. Plenty of space for my head and body.   My Americano with hot milk arrives first.  Steaming, aromatic black coffee with bits of coffee floating on top in a white pottery cup.  I pour in the steaming, frothy milk from the tiny white mug and watch the white and black merge into beige and brown with small circles of white froth on top before stirring all the separate colours into one.  I take a scalding sip with my awareness of heat and taste. 

Aware of the two women behind the counter working, talking and laughing.  Aware of the older woman customer looking at her mobile.  The door is open.  Fresh air coming in along with the occasional sound of traffic.  It’s a dull, damp day.  But I feel great to be in here.  Grateful that I have the time and money to give myself this breakfast treat.  Here is my peanut butter and banana on brown toast.  Two slices sides by side on a white plate with a brown paper serviette.  Thin slices of dark brown toast layered with peanut butter and a chopped banana on top.  No knife I think.  Saliva starting.  Yum!  I pick up the first slice with both hands, feeling the hard toast, smelling the banana and getting a whiff of nuttiness.  Shiny, dark peanut butter, peaking through chunked white banana with a tiny dark core on top of well toasted grainy brown bread.   First bite through the soft, slightly slimy banana into the sticky spread and through to the crunchy toast.  The mixture in my mouth is gooey, soft and chewy.  Nut, grain and fruit mix together  in mouthful after mouthful.  Swallowing.  Running my tongue over teeth to ungoo.  An occasional sip of coffee in-between bites.  Satisfaction. 

An elderly man comes in, orders and sits.  I watch a woman get out of a car, come in and order before finding a corner seat for herself.  The second piece of indulgence yet to go.  Pleasure.  Slowing down my eating as I become fuller.  Clean plate pushed to the side.  I notice a tantilizing crumb left but I am sated.  The women behind the counter move into a conversation about the local football team who have just got promoted and the older woman with the mobile joins in with knowledge and enthusiasm.  I look out of the window, not keen on the extra noise of conversation, drawing my coffee to me. Holding the cup with both hands to feel the heat of the liquid, I sip while watching and listening, content to be there, but not to join in.


 This next extract was completed over a 30 minute period one Sunday summer’s morning in the garden:

Sounds: Cat’s bell – Scrape of furniture – Creaking of chair – Birds chattering – Young gulls screeching – Car purring – Plane droning – Female talking – Male coughing – Adult gulls squawking – Sound of water as someone washes up – Bee buzzing – Water splashing from hose – Church bells ringing – Door shutting – Train chuffing – Dog barking – Cupboard door closing – Child’s voice babbling – Male voice talking – Sweeping- Cutlery on plate – Musical instrument – Hoover humming – Laughter

Touch: Cold knees – Itchy sole of foot – Heat on face – Insect crawling on my arm – Itching skin –            Sticky skin – Coolness under bare feet dangling just over grass blades – Stiff neck – Coolness up nose as I inhale – Elbows jammed against arm rests of my seat – Cool breeze over bare skin and hair

Sight: Sun and shade on tree trunk – Cat stalking through undergrowth – Female on balcony – Butterflies – Cat watching me – Cat sitting in undergrowth – Blue sky in between leaves of the tree – Insects hovering in the air – Patches of sunlight – Stillness – Slight movement of the occasional leaf – Cat walking across the lawn – Pink flowers – Copper leaves – Red rose – Wood – Yellow and brown leaves – Different leaf shapes – Glimpses of buildings – Birds in flight – Different greens of leaf and grass – Cat sitting on lawn – Bee on flower

Smell:  Fox scent – Smell of bacon


These next two examples were taken in a park while waiting for my husband and in A & E surgical unit

Slowly moving clouds drifted from south to north.  White and grey formations with patches of blue sky.  By tilting my head upwards and sharp left, I could squint up into the sun.  A body scan.  Tense feet in trainers on crunchy ground.  Lower back padded by my folded jacket.  Sitting on a park bench dedicated to a policeman killed on duty in 1977.  The wooden bench hard under my sitting bones.  Fresh, scented breeze.  Cooler breeze when the sun went behind the clouds.  When there was no breeze, the air was sultry.  My mind was hopeful and anxious. A bearded and semi-bald Indian gentleman sat cross-legged on the grass with head lowered and hands clasped between his knees.  He wore sandals on his bare feet, loose black trousers and a white t-shirt.  He pulls his legs in tighter and tugs out a blade of grass before staring into space. Nearby is a willow tree.  There are tall trees and young trees.  Slender trees and yellow and green variegated hedging.

Blue lino.  Anxious faces.  Sleeping man.  Wheelchair.  Beige walls.  Light blue cupboards.  Computers. Nurses.   Posters on walls.  Small flying insects.  White sky.  Rooftops.  Gulls.  Woman walking.  White sink.  Chrome taps.  ‘Hand Sanitizing Zone’ red wall plaque and sanitizer.  Woman talking on mobile in another language.  Man completing a crossword book.  Woman reading. The sound of a female nurse.  Page turning.  Hum.  Footsteps.  My sigh.  Door opening and closing.  Treatment couch roll being pulled.  Wiping.  Cough.  Burp.  My hair rubbing on back of the chair.  Squeaking door shutting.  Click of door shutting.  Shuffling feet on lino.  Dragging sounds.  Canulas.  Beeps.