I wonder how often we stop and take notice – to clear our heads and a space in our days to reignite the forgotten spark of something that once burned brightly within us? Having tried both meditation and mindfulness, taking time to stop and focus it is still a concept I struggle with. In addition, I rarely take time to think about lost passions, they are indeed lost somewhere in the back of the mind.

However, I recently joined an Action for Happiness session with our Circles Connected team where I became a group member in the hope of learning something new. After a warm welcome from our happiness hosts Cath and Becky we were invited to share how we were feeling followed by something we were grateful for. Having just completed a speed walk, my contribution was that I felt relaxed and also grateful that I had made it to the group on time!. Some people shared that they felt nervous and unsure about how the experience of the group would be for them.

So, after a short mindfulness moment, the larger group were divided into smaller groups in individual break out rooms. Here we could discuss the topic set by our hosts – What are you feeling hopeful about and what goal can you set yourself to help make it happen?

Sharon’s Bohemian Rhapsody inspired cake

Some of the people in my smaller group talked about switching off from electronics and turning to reading books as an alternative. Others, like myself, talked about long lost hobbies and interests. My goal was to rediscover my passion for art, I had loved to spend time in a graphic world when I was at school and (I realised) it is still something close to my heart. When we delved into how we would make our goals happen we all agreed that sharing our work would be a positive step, both in terms of keeping our promises and as motivation to keep going.

When we re-joined the larger group there was a feeling of excitement and determination in the air. We talked of how we had inspired one another to reach our own goals and of how, collectively, we had really enjoyed the experience. People who felt initial apprehension and had taken the plunge into the unknown had emerged energised and motivated.

So, following the group session I took on my first art-based challenge, to create something from 100 leaves, I shared my creation on our ‘Circles Connected’ Facebook group and was given positive encouragement and lovely feedback from other group members. This spurred me on to continue to create, and this week I shared my second challenge, to create a movie poster of one of my favourite movies. I chose to make a ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ movie poster from cake. My confidence is growing and that focus that I lacked at the start of this journey is now apparent. It is helping clear the way for me to truly sit up and take notice of all the wonderful opportunities around us to reconnect to something we love.