So I recently finished a book called ‘Stillness is the Key’ by Ryan Holiday. I very much recommend it. A lot of what I write in this blog will have been inspired by that book.
I have, since learning about meditation, done my best to make it a daily habit. The only time I fell out of it was in the midst of 2020. Like most people I know, 2020 was a very trying year. I made the most of it and can honestly say I took the best out of a bad situation. I came back from a holiday in Bali about mid March, went back to teaching classes (briefly) and on the Friday - I got home on the Monday - we went into our first lockdown. Panic hit, how the hell was I going to earn money, pay my bills, what was going to happen to life as we know it, are my loved ones safe, the general unknown basically, same thing I'm sure everyone went through. The week we got back from holiday we knew how bad COVID was. We had been travelling, borders were closing and we knew what was coming. Luckily my partner and I ( he is also self employed), managed to set up an online platform in a matter of a few days so that when the first Monday of lockdown came we were ready. Then we just ran with it.
COVID yes is a stress in our lives. But we also have so many other factors in life that stress us out and the WORST part is, people are so unaware of them.
We have mountains of work, piles of papers, inboxes overflowing with messages, personal and professional problems, social media platforms, keeping up with the times, constantly doing either work or house work or picking up the kids or doing the laundry, or the dishes, or travelling here there and everywhere for work or even just watching the news - which by the way bombards us with one crisis after another. The grind begins to wear us down and seems to never stop. ‘We are overfed and undernourished. We are over stimulated, over scheduled, and for some lonely’.
#Stillness is the key to survive and thrive in any environment. If you can quieten your mind even for a couple of minutes a day you will be doing the best thing for your overall health. When I speak about #Stillness I don’t necessarily mean meditation. There are many forms of #Stillness. Walking, reading, cooking, journalling and many more. #Stillness is about finding the quiet and peace in whatever it is you are doing. How many times can you say when you are washing the dishes for example that your mind wanders else where. Finding #Stillness is about being 100% focused on what you are doing there and then. If you're out a walk, feel your feet on the ground, listen to the sounds that are around you, feel the sun or rain or wind on your face. Be in the moment. Be present. Be still.
When we are drowning in information wether it be from the news or instagram, it is very difficult to think or act clearly. So what do we need to do? Limit our inputs. Set your phone to have fewer alerts and notifications, block your texts with the Do Not Disturb function or funnel your emails to a subfolder. These are all distractions that occur almost immediately so its important to choose those moments of stillness wisely. The most important times FOR ME are first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I meditate in the morning before getting out my bed and I read a few pages of my book before going to sleep.
Every morning we wake with a clear fresh mind untouched by the noise outside. That space is worth protecting. Don't let distraction bounce you out of it. Cultivate it for a little while. It is in this #Stillness that new and exciting ideas are born, we gain a fresh outlook and perspective on life, our next step in life is shown to us, signs and answers to the questions we have been asking come to us. It is in this #Stillness that magic happens.
Im not saying this is easy. It all starts with baby steps. It’s like anything. Take the gym for example. Unless you're a gym addict the majority of us can’t really be bothered going most of the time but we go because we know it will make us feel good. Same thing applies here. Start by carving out 3mins of your day, then up it to 5, then to 10 and so on. You can make these moments of #Stillness as long or as short as you like. I do recommend AT LEAST 10 mins a day. Doing it first thing in the morning sets me up for the day. If I don’t do it I definitely notice the difference. I'm more impatient, I overthink and i’m just generally less productive. If I have time in the day I will then carve out some more time and add it to my schedule. Remember these acts of #Stillness is just about being present. It can be sitting in a chair eyes closed, on a park bench, lying in bed, walking, cooking, breathing, bath, shower etc. Just be in the experience of your surroundings.
If your looking for some guided meditations then I have free access to the ones on my YogiRise Vimeo Channel. Link is on my website.
If you haven't tried #breathpod on instagram then you have to do it. I done a collaboration with them last summer, it was sensational and got awesome feedback. I honestly think this had a massive impact on how I felt through 2020 ( 20mins Mon-Fri 7.30am Instagram Live. The are also recorded and can be accessed at any time.
I also use the app #Breethe every morning and every evening. I listen to a 'start your day' meditation in the morning and some calming music at night.
I use #dailygreatnessjournal to record my intentions for the day ahead and reflect on my day at night. Great way to remind yourself that actually you had a pretty awesome day.
Take this time for some self care. Refuel, recharge and take your day on strong. Rise to the challenge. It’s your time, prove to yourself you can do this. I got your back. Let me know how you get on.
Peace and Love