The bleak, dark, heavy, grey skies that greeted me when I woke this morning shattered my hopes of a pleasant, constitutional fix of fresh air. But the infamously fickle British weather conformed to stereotype and the sky brightened during the morning. As my client was opening into the 'new dawn' of her transformation so too did the sky. The sun brightened my therapy room and the bright blue blazed through the window. Heaven! Pathetic fallacy at its best. So I promised myself that I would embrace the fresh air soon after my client left.
But you know how it is. I had to check the phone, emails, write some notes and prepare for the new support group I was launching. You can guess what happened next: the skies filled with deathly clouds which promptly erupted into heaving rain. And that was it. What had I been waiting for? Why did I wait? What was more important for my mind and body than to embrace the gift of a little sunshine on a winter's day? Knowing that I am already Vitamin D deficient (like a vast percentage of the British population) and knowing that I function soooo much better once I have cleared my head, and filled my lungs with oxygen, why did I wait?
Putting myself first does not come naturally. I am a natural giver - like so many teachers and therapeutic practitioners I know. However, I am learning the art of self-love, self-care and prioritising myself. After all, one of my most powerful messages in my book, Every Teacher Matters is called 'Take the oxygen first!'. Ironic how we teach best that which we most need to learn!
It's not been an easy road and I am far from reaching my destination (if there is such a thing on this mindful path). But, my awareness is growing about how and when I put myself last to my detriment; when I forget my wellbeing and prioritise work; and when I step into self-sacrificing (victim) mode. As it does, I can make changes, albeit sometimes very subtle ones. There is a shift in my consciousness. My mindful approach to myself softly develops and with it comes a growing sense of wellbeing, self-compassion and non-judgement.
I choose to do my breathing exercises before my boys climb out of bed. I choose to prepare and consume foods that will nourish my body not weaken it. I choose to give myself the basics - fresh air, enough sleep, rest, relaxation and social connection (I mean real people, not cyber). These all feed me - my heart, mind and body are nourished by these simple things. I feel so much clearer, stronger, and brighter when I have been outside, touched the earth with my bare feet, enjoyed deep breaths of fresh, crisp air and moved my body in amongst spacious green fields. Bliss.
I was having a wobble yesterday -the usual stuff: bills to pay, partner away, children unwell, too much to do, not enough time, blah blah blah - when a beautiful friend of mine 'woke me up', brought me to the moment and said 'you don't know if a miracle is about to arrive in the next moment'. It struck me how true it was. It wasn't wishful thinking; it was an awakening to the moment. I'd fallen into the trap of dwelling on the pain of yesterdays and the worries of tomorrows. I was drowning in 'if onlys' and' 'what ifs'. This is not how I want to live. I want to live in joy and gratitude for whatever life brings, whether it is a support or a challenge. For I know in truth I will receive both in equal measure if I stay truly present to the gift in each moment.
The weather metaphor has obvious connotations. Life is as unpredictable as the weather. I've lost friends unexpectedly, suffered setbacks in my health, been challenged by my career and am at the mercy of my children's erratic teenage hormones too! I cannot possible predict which way the wind will blow - literally or metaphorically. All I know is that putting off what I would love (due to feelings of fear, inadequacy or 'shoulds') is not how I want to live my life. I want to embrace life with both hands, with all my heart and delight in every moment. I am alive today. I am alive in this moment. This is really all we have. This moment. Nothing more. Nothing less. Why not make it a magical moment? Why not consume the moment with fervour, with gratitude and in awe. So what are you waiting for? The time is now!