It seems we are no longer assessing our self-development by self-inquiry but by the amount of blue thumbs up we get on our status update. When our sense of worth is hinging on social media, it's time we think about quitting. I mean, what the hell is going on here?
The bikes are normally blue but this summer there's a limited number of yellow bikes to celebrate the Tour de France coming through London and as I arrived at the bicycle stand there was a special yellow bike among the blue bikes. I felt like Charlie finding the golden ticket in a chocolate bar and took it as a good sign.
What do you think of when you read the word 'Now'? Perhaps you can hear the distant warbling of Elvis Presley passionately proclaiming 'It's Now or Never'? The constant advertiser's dream slogan that piles on the pressure to 'Buy it Now'? Better still, you engage with your experience and senses right now to focus your attention on the present moment?
Like most of you reading, this I am on the professional treadmill of getting around four hours real sleep a night whilst juggling your iphone, kids and personal lives with any of the proverbial plates crashing at any possible moment.
Wow, I thought. Life is great! GREAT! And for a moment I was flooded with happiness and joy about how well everything was going. And then, as it always does, sheer dread kicked in. This can't last, I thought. Oh my God, I'm too happy. Things are too perfect. It's just a matter of time before the other shoe drops. Horrible, awful things happen to people all the time. I should know.
Travel is such a rich area for mindfulness. It's driven partly by curiosity, an interest in what's out there, and partly the essential need to take time out from routine. In a sense it's a bit like the practice of meditation... Here are a few tips we've put together to help you be a more mindful traveller.
Originally, I wanted to name this post "Aimlessly Attempting to Crawl My Way Back to Center," but I thought it was too defeatist sounding. It is how I'm feeling as of late though. I feel like the balance and grounding I had found has become hazy, muted, diluted.
Meditation is not a religion. Nor is it a tradition involving levitation while sitting cross-legged on the floor pretending to be an all-knowing master of the universe. Meditation, sometimes disguised as boredom, slows our breath, lowers our heart rate, relaxes our mind and provides space for self-exploration while restoring our natural energy.
I, like many other agnostic young people living in the spiritual void of modern Britain, flirt with the idea of spirituality. As a spiritual dilettante, I reluctantly stretch through the odd yoga class or attempt to silence the endless flow of internal chatter using occasional meditation.
I stand here silently for about 5 minutes paying attention to the sensations of my breathing and heartbeat, as well as the sound of birdsong all around me. I find this silence and solitude deeply enjoyable, but this has not always been the case -- in fact, I used to hate it.
When it's too hot, we complain, too wet, we complain, too cold, we complain, too windy, we complain. Complain, Complain, Complain... We complain about the weather, life, health, people... We all do it. Complaining comes quite naturally to us, doesn't it? Sometimes we don't even realise we're doing it.
Have you ever sworn at your yoga teacher whilst she/he counts S L O W L Y to eight in Boat Pose (Navasana)? Felt ecstatic in a deep backbend? Or shed a tear in Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)? Most of us have some kind of mental and emotional reaction to the shapes we put our bodies into during yoga class. Usually we just go with the flow. But once in a while certain poses trigger us.
This is a true story and I am thrilled to share it with you, as not only is it significant in the telling of unconditional love, compassion and gratitude, but also in the synchronicities of life too.
I liken 'Mindfulness' similar to any other new activity or skill we wish to master and bring into our life. In other words just as an instrument will not learn itself, needs practise and dedication, so does a change in our thought process. In whatever way we wish to enhance our life and well being, we have to put in the effort.
We all loose our temper from time to time; from mild frustration, irritation or annoyance, to moments of rage. Now the problem isn't getting angry but how we handle anger. What do you do when you get angry? Do you lash out and have an all out eruption? Or do you hold it in and turn the anger inwards onto yourself?
This week I'm not housesitting. Here at home in South Devon I'm writing, creating, running creative writing workshops and musing on one of my favourite topics: creativity. In particular I'm thinking about inspiration for writers. Looking for some suggestions to free up your writing/creativity? Read on.