With Christmas and the New Year looming, it’s incredible to feel the rise of raciness and nervous tension in the air – and it’s not just coming from the shoppers manically preparing for the festivities but many of us racing to the finish line of 2014 so we can finally get a break. Ahh… a big sigh of relief…you’ve made it!
What I find interesting about the whole emphasis on new year’s eve marking the beginning of a new cycle, with all the promises that we’ll do better next time round, is the reality that we actually do this every day. Isn’t each day, each 24hrs, the start of a new cycle and the opportunity to apply your awareness of what has and hasn’t worked?
Rather than focus on the big resolutions for the new year to come – it being, numerologically (2+ 0 + 1 + 5), an eight year which is the number of the soul – I’d love to explore how to work on growing your connection to stillness so that you can hold your energy and presence in all that you do and live each day as a new beginning with vitality and joyfulness.
I’ve outlined some simple practices, tools and tips to help you grow a healthy rhythm for your day: –
1. Feel your gentle breath
This is a great practice to help you connect back with your body and the stillness within. By breathing your true breath just 5 – 15 mins, twice a day you’ll discover how much easier it is to hold yourself through the day and not be thrown around by what’s happening outside you. This technique is great to do first thing in the morning to set the rhythm for your day and any other time you may be feeling anxious or overwhelmed. This beautiful practice is available for free download athttps://www.universalmedicine.com.au/services/free-audio-library
2. Make self-nurturing a priority
In truth we can’t love others without loving ourselves first. There’s a common misconception this makes you selfish when in actual fact it’s quite the contrary. What you do doesn’t make something loving or not, it’s about the quality in which it’s expressed – and that quality starts with you. Contemplate how you relate to yourself – are you gentle, loving and compassionate as you wish others to be with you? What might be getting in the way of this and how can you start showing that love for you in all the little details of how you live?
3. Develop conscious presence
This is about connecting to your stillness in movement, which may seem like a contradiction in terms but something that can actually be lived in everything that you do regardless of how busy or quiet you are. Try experimenting with doing the same action – say for example making dinner and see how different it feels to prepare it in the energy of rushing and then from conscious presence in your body. Did you actually make it faster or did you make mistakes, drop or break things along the way? And how did the food actually feel and taste when you ate it? This will give you a great marker for how it’s possible to bring more stillness into your doing.
4. Find a healthy sleep rhythm
This is highly individual depending on what work you do etc but it’s important to keep in mind that from 9pm – 1am the spleen cleans the body of the mental and emotional disharmony you’ve been living in through your day. For this reason the earlier you get to bed the better, as your body can focus all of its energies on this task. If you work night shifts or for practical reasons can’t get to bed early, be conscious of staying connected to your body and being gentle in everything you do during this time of replenishment.
5. Exercise with true flow
Rather than imposing an expectation on your body to perform, try working with the natural flow available to you. This will be different every day and requires you to really tune into where your body is at. Perhaps you’re feeling tired and would benefit from a slow gentle walk or have the energy for something more aerobic? It’s important to be aware of the energy you’re exercising in, particularly in drive mode, which comes from a need to prove yourself (even if it’s just to you). Remember this is mind driven not body driven and often leads to injuries!
6. Avoid stimulants
Foods containing caffeine, sugar and carbohydrates (which convert to sugar) like coffee, tea, chocolate, bread, pasta and rice might give you a quick energy burst but this is all borrowed energy that accumulates adrenal drag. Your kidneys carry your life force and precious reserves of adrenalin required for life threatening situations. This is not the energy you want to be running off day-to-day as it puts all the systems of your body in hyper-alert and takes you out of stillness. Rather than reaching for a coffee, which is a band-aid solution for your exhaustion, start being really honest about how you’ve been living. Have you been pushing yourself too hard or putting yourself in disregard to meet the needs of others?
7. Reduce your screen time
There’s been many studies recently that have proved the negative effects that screen time has on the brain, essentially through overstimulation. Make sure you take regular breaks from your screen and keep being mindful of your breathing and posture as you work. Feel into any areas where you may be holding tension – particularly the neck, shoulders and tummy and consciously let them relax and drop. Try to avoid working on your computer (or watching TV) at least one hour before going to be so that you have a chance to connect with your body. This is a great time to do the gentle breath meditation.
8. Engage with your surroundings
As useful as technology is, ipods and iphones have led to a way of living that has you constantly plugged-in and out of what’s happening around you. With all that noise blaring in your ears it’s impossible to connect to the stillness within. Try exercising without your ipod and allow yourself to listen to life existing – the birds, dogs, children and people going about their day. Don’t numb out to the magic that’s always around you.