Persian poet, Rumi, asked a question in the 13 century that is as important for us 21st century folks as it was during his life time:
Do you make regular visits to yourself?
Some years back a lovely lady in one of my MBSR courses once spoke about locking herself in the bathroom to get away from the demands of her grandchildren and foster children who all lived with her. It’s where she also did her mindfulness home practice!
Even if you don’t have to dodge what Jon Kabatt Zinn, creator of the MBSR course, calls people stress, there are many other demands on the modern human.
Technology has raised our expectations: we expect prompt responses to our emails, texts, messages, and many of us respond as quickly to inbox arrivals and social media comments and replies.
Our neural circuits are always on alert. And that’s not good for the brain.
So much for technology liberating us and gifting us more time. While we’re on alert, ready to react and expectant for what may be coming next, we miss what’s happening NOW.
I know I’m not here forever. Perhaps, we’re all more aware of that since 2020.
So, the emails can wait. The hand that reaches for the mobile phone to switch between apps faster than my brain can register what my eyes have just looked at, can simply relax it’s grip and put the phone down.
Instead, I can choose to turn my attention somewhere where time stands still – my breath, my body – before choosing to do something more nourishing than allowing precious minutes to be devoured by scrolling, checking or responding to someone or something.
I can visit myself.
We can visit ourselves in small ways during the day whenever we feel caught in the mindless rush and demands of modern life: take a few breaths, notice the body, check in with what we’re thinking and how we’re feeling. We can press the pause button.
Then we can choose what and how to do something that takes us out of autopilot living (sleepwalking through life): sit and breathe, stretch, undertake whatever the next ‘to do’ is with your full attention and sensory awareness, or choose to do something else that’s more enjoyable than a knee jerk reaction to whatever comes through a screen next.
Everything else can wait. Your life cannot.
If you have longer than a few pauses through the day to spare, you can give your brain and body a chance to recover it’s natural rhythm at my retreat on Sunday, 26 June A Yoga Away Day in a leafy oasis hidden away in Southampton where you’ll have a whole day to shift down a few gears and visit yourself.
You can find more details about the retreat at the link below:
I hope you’ll join me and put out the welcome mat for yourself.