Photo credit: Calista Tee on Unsplash
How to Live Life with More Ease
I’m loving the fullness and shape of trees everywhere and the also the fact that I harvested my first ever lettuces! My radish harvest, sadly, was chomped away by wee beasties. Thankfully, they didn’t like the taste of lettuce. This is certainly a year for learning new things, isn’t it?
For fear of sounding like a scratched record (remember those?!), I’d like to encourage you to make the most of this time of year by spending part of everyday (rain or shine) outdoors – while weather proofing yourselves and, of course, observing social distancing measures.
While you enjoy the summer rays or the rain with its distinct fragrance, or the night air perfumed with a lingering scent of a summer day, you are, in a way, preparing yourself for the future while enjoying how your body feels as it warms and expands in this weather. Hopefully.
Preparing to BE for the Future
I feel the need to slow down and do less at this time of year because it’s simply too hot to move quickly or cram all sorts into a day.
I’m using the space in my mind and diary now to look back at the first half of a tumultuous year and based on that, contemplate how I want to feel and what I may need to do now to ride the waves of future uncertainty in winter.
Here are some questions I’ve mulled over recently that help me prioritise what’s important to me to help me plan how I want to BE and show up in my life not what I want to DO.
I’ve considered these questions as an invitation to take back some control in certain areas – we already know there are many things we can’t control – and I invite you to use them or other more appropriate questions to ease yourself into the rest of 2020. Maybe, scribble your thoughts on paper or in a journal.
How do I want to feel?
I want to feel stable, peaceful and present with myself as much as possible.
I set up equipment the night before so that I can slide out of bed and onto the cushion. It could be anything from five to 50 minutes of meditation where I watch my morning mind zooming with planning, projects or worries. In spite of the mental busy-ness, sitting quietly with my mind and body always delivers me into the day with more presence and guarantees a smoother flow.
My old history teacher once told the class how she had to have an hour in the morning pottering about quietly in her own mental space in the kitchen or getting her day together or else…we could always tell when her morning ritual had been rudely interrupted by someone. Starting with meditation may not be for you, but some form of morning ritual that allows you to inhabit your body and mind more fully is a very powerful way to start the day, whatever you choose.
What do I need to be strong and healthy?
Since my spell of Covid, I want to feel my lungs expanding fully. I plan a week ahead around my work or social commitments, to move my body in such a way that my lungs get a good airing. It could be moving in a meditative way with simple yoga and tai chi, power walking or resistance training. I have more moments of awareness now when I realise I’ve slipped into autopilot shallow breathing because I’m busy talking, or focused on doing something on the computer, or driving, or navigating other people while shopping etc.
I can’t stress enough how empowering it is to plan pockets of some kind of activity into the week to maintain your health because it’s YOUR LIFE and you need to feel good in it! Scheduling physical activity is as important as the meetings, appointments or the ferrying of children here and there and you’ll be a better person to be around whether you’re doing energetic housework, gardening, dancing in the kitchen or playing golf on or offline.
What do I need to put in place now to move through my days with ease and authenticity?
I need space in my day. I’ve had a lifetime habit of overcommitting my time, energy, attention and resources until I felt the uncomfortable squeeze of pressure and inevitable bad health. Beneath this way of living was a deep held belief of unworthiness and overcompensating by putting myself out there. I still feel the tug of being torn between wanting to catch up with friends and family yet acknowledging the exhaustion of a busy, busy diary. The quality of my day is priority and though I don’t like disappointing others, I speak as honestly and gently as I can so that I’m showing up as an authentic person for myself and others.
Planning space may mean doing less while lowering expectations of yourself in a kind way, because you’re only human. If you’ve had months of children at home while trying to work remotely or some other type of pressurised lock down situation, now is the time to look to the horizon and consider how much of anything you need and what could you cut back on. It’s an antidote to the sensation of feeling frazzled that many people experience these days.
Whatever your priorities are, I hope these questions help and inspire you to live in a way that suits you and enhance your ability to be present with and kind to yourself so you enjoy your life, even if we go into another round of lock down.
Now would be an excellent time to build the store of calm and ready the body for the coming winter by joining my Online Hatha Yoga classes every Monday for the livestream on Zoom from 6 to 7 pm, or catch the recording soon after – no commute, no parking hassle, no social distancing concerns, just you, me, and a Zoom screen as you move ever so kindly in the comfort and safety of your own home.
Keep it kind,