Nourishment is not just for holidays! Hands up if you’ve ever said – It’s ok once I finish this project then I can have a good rest and when I have a holiday then I can focus on me and nourishing myself? Todays challenge (& ideally make it an everyday challenge) is to contemplate :
What is something small I can do to nourish myself today? In the next few hours?
This is where Mindfulness made simple that we often include in our Yoga Classes can put you back in the drivers seat when it comes to creating more ongoing joy (not just holding out until you are almost blowing a fuse for holiday time)
Ive put a list of some suggested go to’s below to begin to build this useful mindful nourishing practice in this weeks blog (link below)
Personally I love creativity and “projects” and seeing people achieve theirs, especially if it has a ripple effect of helping people through Yoga and Mindfulness (or Dancing;) Whether you’re a teacher, mother/father, find yourself always jumping in to offer help and be of service in some way shape or form (which by the way is something we need more of in the world) there may come a time where this auto-pilot mode is to the expense of your own health and wellbeing though.
Working as a nurse for over twenty six years my experience of being at the bedside witnessing the outcome of what happens when you put self nourishment on hold became a big reason (along side of using Yoga to help look after my ‘nurses back’) of why I studied and began teaching Mindfulness and Yoga. I realised this was one of the best forms of health promotion but also prevention of the consequences of constant auto-pilot living. Focusing on what’s going on out there more than in you creates dis-ease and science is proving this. Lets look a little at how and why automatic pilot of being in service or constantly designing or being involved in projects can be problematic. Lets also look at a Mindful solution so that we don’t look back toward the end of our life feeling we had missed out opportunity of enjoying what we had more often (not only when you’ve finished what ever it is you need to “get done”)
Mindfulness can be our best friend and guide to bring back ongoing daily quality.
If our self care starts to dwindle (daily self care) then the very things we do enjoy may become yet another “going through the motions” and we start to miss out on the pleasure that can be found in the simple things in life, like sipping and savouring a cup of tea! eating, seeing family…etc
Below are some contemplations that maybe useful to get your priorities in check to help realign to your own personal intentions / of what’s most meaningful to you in life. Knowing your why is key I find in being able to as best as you can practice what you preach:
Some key things I find useful (from my Project Management Days in Clinical Nursing) and have to keep being reminded of – (as a practice) which is map out what I have to do and put it into certain sections. Tracy Calder recently shared some insights on this which was similar ways to categorise/prioritise:
Urgent/Important (Like repsonding to a crisis, an actual crisis)
Not Urgent / Important (Generally your meaningful items / big priority items go here)
Urgent / Not Important (What maybe urgent for others / others to do items)
Not Urgent / Not meaningful (try not to have too many things listed in this one!)
(Personally I have over time used siimilar key categories and interwoven into self inquiry meditations and specific objectives in our training programs to help mentoring students with clarity and discernment which in turn helps with time / energy management. (not to mention having more joy!)
When we are in the red zone our perspective of what’s REALLY urgent can be a bit skewed or out of whack. The more under the pump we are or more overloaded we get, everything can feel urgent which is when the “important/meaningful” parts of life can get pushed to the curb. (Or you may find yourself saying “once I just get through this intense busy period I will take some time to get my eating , sleeping , fitness, spending time with loved ones back on track)
A way to consider or discern the not important /urgent is generally is to see how many of the tasks you do daily are connected to your bigger “why” – that is what’s most important and meaningful to you. The tasks that others need from you (although may also add value or be meaningful , consider – is “all” of your time spent there and your own items of inspiration do not get a weekly look in that alone a daily look in?) It’s good if you are starting to become low on energy to consider :
Is it what you are doing or just the amount you are doing that is turning it into something draining ?
If I am spending all of my time on requests from others or trying to please others to the detriment of not spending time on things that ‘float my boat’ then uncovering that “why” maybe useful to re-instal your commitment to your intentions, the yogis call this a Sankalpa practice and it can be done in many ways. But the important thing is to make sure all the little things you focus on are going to help nourish your big Why.
For example is spending time scrolling for lengthy periods through facebook or social media or cleaning up your emails connected in some way to your overall longing to (you insert your own goal here) eg : one day become a nurse, or compete in a marathon, or keep things simple – what ever your goal is. And is what you are doing , being done consciously or through habit ?
In Mindfulness Mentoring and Training we take time to reset the hearts compass and look at the difference between healthy desire and at what point does it become unhealthy desire . Looking at the motivating factors behind what drives behaviour can be a really useful self inquiry or an “authenticity check” to see if your daily actions are connecting to your own “Why” and personal intentions or are they the result of the auto pilot (doing things without being conscious of why) Sometimes our auto-pilot by nature is there to jump in and save us so it is often driven by fear or the need to survive. An example of this maybe pleasing people or spending time telling people what you think they want to hear because that might help you fit in / or get your needs met (but does it really give you energy that’s long lasting!)
If our habits go unchecked – i.e. we don’t give ourselves daily check in time where we can actually register what we are doing, how we are feeling about it things we are more likely to be operating on auto-pilot. Science is showing us that this mode is not bad, however if it is our default for everything we are doing we will not have as much pleasure / pleasant moments – hence the bigger likelihood for anxiety and depression.
Although life does not always feel like a holiday , there are certain practices that can minimise suffering and increase the pleasure in day to day living. Our 3 minute breathing space, or cup of tea meditation with the intent to enjoy can provide the space we need to make sure we choose what we do and say yes and no to with a little more care and honesty. It can also be used to bring the mind into concentration (a pre-requisite) so then you know what you are doing and how you are feeling.
I find like any medicine the dose is important , which goes with the saying one mans medicine is another mans poison. Some people may get completely energised continually being in service of others , where as some people may find solitary time important . The bigger point is :
How do you know your why if you do not stop to consider it ?
How do you know if your priorities are in order if you’ve left no space to review them and reflect on them on a daily basis (rather than wait until you have a health scare or the shit to hit the fan so to speak)
One practice I love to integrate as a way of living is to what I have personally called “Mind the Gap”
It’s consciously choosing the so called ‘in between’ times (in transit or waiting) to “take in the good” Rick Hansen talks alot about taking in the good and I highly recommend his work.
CLICK HERE for a blog on just one way to practice this
Another practice that is very powerful yet simple is a reflective practice of reviewing what’s worked well / been great and what has been challenging at the end of each day.
My little friend Vivian who is in early primary school calls it Best Thing / Worst Thing practice and she encourages us all to do it at the dinner table when ever we visit (her family does it every night)
So although this has just been a few tips and tasters we cover more involved practices in the trainings . I will leave you with my own reflection
Best thing about taking a holiday was spending time with my Undercover Yogi and remembering how lucky we are , the other best thing was we are always both happy to return home regardless of where we go. This has alot to do with not only where we live but the priveledge to be able to share yoga. To be part of an amazing group / team of humans that love yoga and sharing it too.
Worst thing : Before holidays there may have been a bigger list , so I guess the worst thing is sometimes we cannot always keep a healthy perspective unless we take a break to remember the importance to “Mind The Gap” on a daily basis not just on holidays.
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