Let go or be dragged

Zen proverb

Have you ever seen in a film the scene set looking down on a busy highway or city at night…red dots following like ants in one direction, white dots in the other. Everything looks so ordered and controlled. Yet inside each vehicle the people have different reasons for being there – returning home from work, vacation, running an errand, going out for food or entertainment.

As humans we are fantastic at creating routines for ourselves, maintaining friendships…much like a hamster wheel we keep turning, not always happy and not always sad. In many aspects of our collective existence we seem to have order, on the surface at least. Cars pause when pedestrians stand near Zebra crossings, people wait in queues for a variety of things from coffees to theme park rides, slowly shuffling forward until it’s our turn to be served. Systems often keep the collective safe and prevent anarchy, like most things there is also the other side (let’s all recollect the 2020 toilet roll saga when grown ups proved they couldn’t share)

Within our daily routines we often feel so safe in the comfort of ‘what we do’ we can often forget to question why we do it. Even at weekends my body clock wakes me at the same time my alarm goes off in the week. Most weeks pass similar to the ones before and that’s completely ok if you’re happy and content with life. I often think holidays are powerful when they throw you out of your routine; time zones confuse the body clocks sleep pattern, a new diet is offered, a new environment is there to be explored or perhaps a sun lounger calls you to be still, unlike your usual hectic working week.

For my own well-being I have several ‘New year’ opportunities each year. Times of year where I take time to reassess what’s serving me, what do I need to prioritise and what do I want to achieve. They often occur during ‘new beginnings’ such as the start of Spring, a new academic year (always celebrated with a new luxurious paper diary) and the classic NYE. Of course, we can decided that today is a new beginning and don’t need to wait on changing seasons to make adjustments. Time to let go of what no longer serves us (too many take aways, not enough exercise, too much work and not enough play) allows us to each fill our cup up so that we can be the best version of ourselves. Sometimes it can be small adjustments; adding a few more greens to our plate, sometimes it can be larger pivots as we seek new careers, move home to a new area or leave relationships that no longer serve us.

What often holds us back is ‘change’ as it’s never comfortable and letting go of what we know, even when we know it no longer serves us is terrifying. However, as I watch older generations I’ve noticed that it’s much scarier to not reach for the stars and to let the night sky pass you by, that relationships that don’t serve you eat you alive. That outside factors that we can let go of become physical disease and illness that we often recognise when it’s too late.

Take a moment, grab a pen and write down a list of things you’d like to achieve. It could be over the next few weeks, months or by the end of the year. There might be a big birthday coming up and you might have a larger challenge up your sleeve, but whatever you do – do something, otherwise if you don’t let go you might just find the physical body is dragged down as a result. Apart from keeping up with daily yoga, my next challenge is to declutter. I’m going to start a room at a time and as small steps work for me, probably a draw or cabinet at a time. What do you need to let go of?

Sometimes the yoga is just being there

Quote Anon

Back in February of this year I used my blog to make myself accountable, the post was about making time to meditate and how I planned to do so. You can peek back by clicking the blue title below.

The fabulous news is it worked. I have meditated daily without any breaks and even worked around distractions and prioritised when the daily routine got thrown off path. It still makes me feel amazing and starts a bleak cloudy day on a sunbeam vibe. Most days I meditate for forty five minutes.

Therefore it makes sense that my next absolute love is prioritised. Yoga. This bendy and restorative process has been in my life for over twenty years. It began when a wonderful lady in my staff room at school invited me to join the class she went to. The class was in an abandoned church outside Romford and the parking was a nightmare. However, as soon as my body hit the mat and I looked up to the incredible ceiling with the stained glass windows pushing rainbow lights across our torsos…I was hooked and the worlds problems dispersed.

Since then I’ve done a little of everything; classes, on my own, YouTube clips, 30 day yoga challenges, day events and retreats, private instructors…however, in the last couple of years my mat love has died. The motivation to set up and get my flow on just hasn’t been there. I’ve noticed that when I do unsurprisingly my flexibility has reduced and whilst yoga should never be a competitive choice….my soul feels like it dies a little with each ‘I use to be able to do that’.

Yesterday I realise I have two choices, to let it go and accept how it is or to do something about it. Deep down I know I’ll feel better for prioritising it, for making time and for strengthening my body.

So let’s go all in! Daily practise is now a thing…well, starting today. I’m currently sat on my yoga mat in the garden because it’s sunny and in the UK that’s a reason to move the mat outside.

Inspired by this quote I am going to be on my mat daily. Minimally, much like how I began the meditation practise, I’m going to do a five minute sun or moon salutation daily or three stretches, everything else is a plus.

Below are a couple of other things I’m going to try to make my daily commitment to my body’s health and well-being a priority. I’m sharing them in case you too have something similar you would like you make a daily practise

Leave it out: I’m going to leave my equipment out. Over the years I’ve acquired a lot of yoga pieces; yoga chair, blocks, straps and I even had a yoga wheel at one point…however that clutter will drive me mad, so I’m going to just start with my mat. Simple and no excuse. I’m hoping that eventually this will become a more permanent edition to our home and I’ll cultivate a little corner somewhere. I’ve heard that people that reluctantly struggle to get to the gym find it useful to back their gym back the night before or have clothing at hand.

Kind words: I’m going to need to reduce my attitude around what I can do (could do) and attempt to stay in the moment and be kind to myself. The world is hard enough without berating myself. Yoga practise is all about being connected and in the moment, if I can stop the negative chatter, the practice will take care of itself.

Day by day: To achieve my target of daily practise, I’ll work out the night before when I’m going to make time the next day. That way I’ll wake with a clear intention . I would guess in the next couple of weeks I’ll find a natural flow, but my work diary and life commits vary and without this little plan up my sleeve I’ll go to bed without having achieved my goal, exhausted from the day and frustrated with myself.

Ops I did it again: If I do miss a day, I don’t need to ‘make it up’ the next day or give up, or wait until the next week to begin. I haven’t failed. I’m human and being flawed is often part of the process. Should I miss a day I’ll be disappointed but also understand the reason why. The crucial part is getting back on the mat daily after that.

That’s if…that’s the plan. Wish me luck and if you’re also trying to increase daily habits and reduce negative thoughts / actions then join me on my new journey.

The world keeps spinning

Lyrics from a band called Theory

When I think of the universe and the concept of infinity my mind instantly self destructs. It’s inconceivable to my mortal brain. The idea that 7billion people, plants and the animal world, not to mention the seas and the earth are just on one spinning rock? Somehow perfectly balanced with sun and moon as protective parents, keeping us warm and tucking the tides in, only for earth to push the covers off moments later. You can’t help to feel awe and wonder, that is unless you reflect on the toxicity and destruction the 7 billion people and their ancestors created, then suddenly the world can feel claustrophobic and confusing.

Under the blankets of the cosmos, tucked under earths atmosphere and in a little place I like to call ‘my world’ is me. It’s made up of my perceptions, thoughts, feelings and truths – all of which are far from that but they are at least my own. The choice I make daily are to look for sparkles of joy, to reach for awe and to believe that kindness matters. Often, much like the Earth I contaminate my own world with thoughts that exude fear and worries that niggle in the cracks.

When I was around fifteen years old I remember my English teacher introducing our class to the poem ‘stop all the clocks’ , not only did it resonate with me, much like the world spinning it blew my teenage brain that death had a finality to it…a few years later death knocked on my families door and exposed me to the emotional rollercoaster known as grief. I remember thinking, much like the verses of the poem that it was insane that my Grandad wasn’t here anymore, that whilst our family was organising a funeral, wading through this home and boxing things up destined for new adventures…that other people would go on to live in his house? A new family would knock at the door to visit and another family would nurture his garden, I also knew that the house would never have as sweet bowl a superior as my Grandads sweet tooth.

I remember waiting outside his home for the hearse to arrive, as I looked across the road other people were going about there business, off to work, kids off to school…why hasn’t the clocks stopped? Why hadn’t time stood still? Why is my family hurting and how could the universe still expand, the earth still spin?

This is the paragraph I should give a deep and profound answer to those questions. Alas, I don’t have them. What I do know is all the time I have on this spinning sphere, which in the grand scheme of its existence isn’t much…I can’t let the negativity weigh me down. Instead, I’m going to float and twirl, Im going to keep getting up and I’m going to experience moments where I wish the clocks would stop…but after a deep breath, I’ll recalibrate and keep looking for the joy amongst the cracks, I’ll keep the faith that tomorrow will be better and the world will keep on spinning. If I’m honest I’ll also have the hope that tomorrows spin will be better that today.