Category: Mindfulness

Future Self

future_self1Your future self

Do something today that your future self would thank you for.

These words came from my idol Elizabeth Gilbert this past week.

Words I found myself repeating all week especially when I was about to put something off or do something I might regret.

The simple task of deciding to make my bed before I leave for the day became a test to see if this really works. Hence I asked; “What would my future self feel that evening if the bed was made or unmade.”

Needless to say I made the bed.

Or if I wanted to grab for that extra piece of cake, “What would my future self feel like if I ate it”; I knew it would be happier and less annoyed.

I did not eat the extra piece.

This goes for exercise or taking time out to stretch.

It also works to stop you before you say something hurtful.

How would your future self feel after you said that thing.

This question also works really well with longer term goals. How would your future self thank you if you took the time each day to craft your CV… take a class… write… read for 30 minutes… ride that bike … meditate for 10 minutes… sign up for on-line dating… move house or country.

When you look ahead into the eyes of you in the future, there becomes no division between the now you and the future you.

That brief pause, may be just enough time for you to be able to reach your hand out to your future self and give her/him a high five.

This pause is an act of mindfulness.

It gives you a moment to reflect on what it is you truly want and what is best for you.

Your future self will thank you.

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Behind the faces

behindBehind the faces

As I peruse the postings on Facebook especially the photos of people’s Christmas dinners.

They all look happy; it appears all is good in the world.

There are no signs of animosity, hurt, sadness, irritability, weariness, it all looks good.

Yet these one-dimensional images shed little light on what is happening behind the faces.

When you scan the ‘Facebook world’ all you see is one side, which often leaves you feeling left out… your world is not as perfect as they project… your smiles are not always as sincere… disguising the veneer of reality.

For you, for me for everyone, Facebook photos reflect the smokescreen of real life.

You are not alone… you are not the only one who forced a smile when they were hurting or tired…

Next time you examine a photograph remember, everyone who is posting is you

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What is it about Christmas?

xmasWhat is it about Christmas?

There’s an urgency to get things done, a ticking clock creating all sorts of emotions from excitement, panic to guilt – a whole spectrum of feelings.

What is it about Christmas that evokes such intense emotions?

For most of the year your emotions are a little softer and reasonable.

What is it about Christmas?

When exorbitant amounts is spent on gifts.

What is it about Christmas?

We dress our homes in gaudy decorations, probably obnoxious at any other time of the year.

What is it about Christmas?

We spend time with family and friends, who we may not have much contact during the rest of the year, and may not even like.

What is it about Christmas?

The essence of Christmas is not about the garish decorations, or gifts, or the gathering of people, it is about magic.

Christmas takes you out of a humdrum existence and for one day your world becomes an enchanted fairly land, full of wonder and infectious excitement.

Christmas is the magic we felt when we were little and believed in Santa Claus who flew over our homes in a sled lead by reindeers baring gifts made by elves.

To create your own Christmas magic it not necessarily to stick with old traditions which can become stale and lose their mystic.

It is about creating newness, sparkle, and spontaneity, stepping out of the known into the enchanted world of the mysterious to create a magic Christmas.

Give yourself permission to step into the delight of Christmas with eyes wide open.

Do you feel you need to do the same thing as you have been doing every year to appease everyone or avoid change?

Maybe this year step out of your normal and see your Christmas magic unfold

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What is Mindfulness?

bemindfulMindfulness seems to be appearing everywhere – on my way to the gym, a sign reminded me to be mindful as I walk across a potentially slippery bridge.

Mind the Gap is another one with out the “ful” at the end.

There is mindfulness meditation… not sure what is the difference between other forms of meditation, and…

Then there is mindfulness eating… giving a raisin your full attention without any distractions… like reading, watching the TV, pursuing the internet or talking.

There is Mindfulness walking… taking one step at a time… with a deliberate focus on the feet.

This mindful thing is confusing… is the mind ‘full’ or does it mean your ‘full’ attention is on your mind.

It has become a popular thing to say, especially when we are stressed.

So what is this mindfulness thing?

As I chatted with my exuberant boxing partner today, she describes her multiple injuries and physical limitations. She works hard exercising… running… pushing herself to the limit… Yet her body is screaming…

“STOP”…. “SLOW DOWN”… “GIVE ME A BREAK”… “PAY ATTENTION TO ME”… “LISTEN TO ME”!!!!!!!

These phrases are mindfulness!

They are not difficult to grasp, but what is difficult is that few of us can slow down for long.

What does slowing down mean in a fast pace culture, like the New York or London?

When I suggested to my lovely boxing friend to stretch and hold stretches for 3 minutes or longer… her eyes expressed panic… “I can’t possibly slow down for that long” … ” I get bored easily” …

“My mind keeps racing”

This is precisely why my dear friend needs to practice mindfulness. Her eyes said it all.

When you feel such a strong emotion, when asked to do something that is potentially helpful… then you need to do it!!! Your body is shouting… “I NEED IT”.

In answering the question, “what is this mindfulness thing anyway?”

It means… “STOP”…. “SLOW DOWN”… “GIVE ME A BREAK”… “PAY ATTENTION TO ME”… “LISTEN TO ME”!!!!!!!

Want to know more about being mindful: Sign up to round 2 of the pilot for my online Mindfulness Course

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Frustration

frustrationCoping with frustration

Frustration with the traffic

Frustration with people

Frustration with family

Frustration with technology

Frustration with the weather

Frustration with ourselves

Do you ever feel frustrated?

You can probably guess, I am feeling a little frustrated today.

I am aware of a situation in which nobody steps up to address the problem. Can you recognise this in your own life?

It involves the fear of confrontation, where everyone is afraid of facing up to that individual. By not being honest with them, especially those we are close to, it eats away at the relationship and ourselves. We are not being true to ourselves.

This impacts everyone, perpetuates the problem and accentuates the frustration.

Frustration lets us know that something is irking us, whether it is in our head or not.

Pay attention to it… find where in your body it is being felt… and breathe… and breathe…. oh, yes, did I say breathe?

My frustration is just above my belly and is creeping up toward my head… as I breathe the feeling is slowly diminishing in intensity.

With this simple mindfulness technique of Checking In, I have created distance from what was upsetting me and can more objectively understand what triggered this frustration.

I have returned to calmness, now I can rationally address the upset without overreacting and making impulsive decisions.

Here’s my tip on how to deal with disturbing emotions, including our frustrations.

Stop… listen in to your body… and breathe… keep repeating the cycle until the feeling softens.

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Do you sit on the fence?

DecisionsDifficulty making decisions?

We are constantly making decisions, often not consciously; what to eat… what to wear… which TV show to watch… whether to get out of bed now or lay in for one more minute… they are relentless.

Most decisions are simple, with limited implications.

Then we have ‘middle-of-the-road’ decisions and more ‘complex ones’ that have serious consequences.

My Mom, is the first to admit, that she has difficulty making decisions. frequently sacrificing her own needs to please others.

She is highly sensitive, a people pleaser, fearful she may upset or disappoint someone. As a result, she defers decisions. Her friends and family are forever frustrated by her indecisiveness. I sense that I have also developed some of these traits.

When sitting on the fence there is no peace… the mind chatters away identifying the pros and cons of the decision, heightening the confusion and frustration.

You cannot make a decision when your mind is full… just as you would need to create space in a cluttered room to add another piece of furniture, so we need to create space in our minds.

How then can you become more decisive?

Here are my 4 steps to help:

  1. Check in with yourself (take a moment for self examination) what is important here? Are you being influenced by others, or are you in charge of your own decisions?
  1. Take three deep breaths… pause and sit in silence. This may help provide some space to make a better decision.
  1. Decide! It maybe deciding not to decide at this moment… It may not be the right time… Set it aside and revisit at another time.
  1. Accept your decision and move on.

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My surprise!

SurpriseLast night I held a small surprise party for my son, Ryan.

To my surprise, many things went wrong…

Firstly, the guests had no idea it was a surprise party, I just happen to leave that very important detail out… my fault.

Secondly, I did not start planning the menu until that morning… my fault.

Thirdly, when my son was 10 minutes away, only one guest had arrived, as I had not emphasised they come on time for the surprise… my fault.

Fourthly, when he showed up and (thankfully a few more guests had appeared) we yelled surprised, he looked confused.

His 23rd  birthday had been and gone, as had his graduation without celebrations… I suppose that was my fault too.

By the way, it was one of the most unusual, but lovely parties I have ever thrown.

The picture of Ryan’s face, as he was trying to come to grips with ‘who’ was being surprised, and if it was him, why?

It taught me many lessons; particularly about organisation and procrastination.

Firstly, the importance of people who make the experience…

It is the people… not the food (though the food was scrumptious)… or the decorations… or the music… it is the people!

Secondly, because I was so nonchalant, sidestepping perfectionism erring towards living in the moment.

I let the worries slip away, allowing myself to be present in the moment and embrace the whole event.

Because of this…

the party will be forever lodged in the rich archives of my stories to share with friends and family.

What have I learned?

It’s the people that count, none of us are perfect, and…

By living mindfully, you can savour the moments.

So, who can you surprise?

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RJMindbody

RJMindbody