It's so ridiculously easy to become lost in somebody else's dream; to go from the dreamer, to the dreamt and to go from a creator, to the created. It's way too easy to forget that we are our own authorities and that none of our thoughts, feelings or actions need to be co-signed by anyone else. It's so damn easy to forget, but so f*cking important to remember.
As we sat in the middle of our mats, eyes closed, James asked us to picture our 7 year old selves sitting in front of us. And as we breathed our ujjayi breath (ocean breathing) with mouths open, each of us looked into the quizzical face of our 7 year old selves as they looked back and asked, 'How are we doing? How are we doing as an adult?'
From the moment we wake up till we go to bed, we make hundreds of decisions. Life is a continuous stream of decision making. Despite it being a common activity, most of us struggle with decision-making.
There is a survival system in your brain that is designed to see the world through the lens of problems and limitations. It assumes that past behavior has led to survival, so it creates thoughts and sensations to get you to behave as you always have, and it rewards you for doing so.
So if you've read all about the benefits of mindfulness and thought you'd give it a go, maybe you got yourself an app and duly set to work.
For me, breaking old mind patterns has led me to cut my office days, giving me the time to witness the seasons as they pass, to cook from scratch, to practice my Spanish, begin writing, and meet my boyfriend with whom I'm now buying a home.
On a late sunny afternoon October 2nd 2014, I skipped out of my new Doctor's surgery feeling like a teenager. Having just received the news about my present state of health, I had every reason to radiate joyfulness and exhibit my delight and gratitude.
At some time or another we've all experienced our share of emotional hurt. And often when we're hurt, we dump our feelings on others or speak harshly. But this doesn't always work. Getting stuck with the hurt and moping around feeling sorry for ourselves also doesn't work. Suppressing hurt also doesn't work. Why?
Sleep is the most effective way of renewing, refreshing and healing our bodies and minds. It is an essential part of functioning as a human being and we spend almost one third of our lives in a sleep state. Sleep is without doubt, the best way to improve your health, reduce your stress and make you more effective and alert during the day.
One observation that I found really valuable was the idea that you shouldn't blame tech for your own stress. Instead, we need to find ways to manage how we use it in an always-on culture.
'I want, I want, I want!' We all have greed for one thing or another. Are you aware of your 'wants'? When you get what you want, do you find yourself wanting more? And when you get it all, are you satisfied? For how long?
My Google Chrome has a permanent conga line of dormant tabs open for potential reads, until some of them disappear past the arrow of no return and I eventually 'x' them out of existence. This barrage of information, lying next to me, puts the mind in overdrive.
Do you ever get lost in daydreams? Do you ever close your eyes and get so swept away by some delicious fantasy or other that it's as though you're really living it? Then something snaps you back to the here and now, and if you're a really good daydreamer, and you were very much 'gone', it's quite a shock to land back here in your present circumstances?
Try the power of slowing down by focusing on all your senses while eating, by focusing on the food, the environment you're in and on chewing. Once you've experienced what going slow can do for you, you'll want to try it all the time.
This idea of where I feel most at home is often on my mind when I return to Sydney. I always have this need to reconnect, not only with my family, but also with myself. It's a chance to reflect on where I came from and where I am now in my life.
If you have ever spent 48 consecutive hours doing nothing but nourishing your body and soul, you know the value of stepping away from routine and taking a deep breath without the distraction of responsibility. A getaway built around an ambitious itinerary may be a great escape when you are looking to shatter monotony, but it can also leave you longing for a vacation from your vacation once you return home.