Balance? Well who has time for that?

Ironically, this post is about finding balance and this particular essay has been sat on my desktop for nearly a month. Not sure I’m best qualified to comment on this area, or am I? Maybe this is the perfect area to be exploring. So here we are, my, finally, thoughts on finding balance…

Finding balance is something we all aspire to achieve in our lives. Yet I do feel very few of us are truly able to acquire it (clearly me as I haven’t posted this essay or written in nearly a month). We may for fleeting moments find that even playing field but are then all too quickly thrown back into the ups and downs of day-day living.

It can be hard to find out what kind of balance we want or need in life. Is it the classic work / life balance? Or is it about more finding a balance with our digital selves? Taking time away and switching off from the sometimes-toxic world of social media. Is it about finding a balance with our bodies? Being more mindful of our eating habits, the way we treat our bodies from either over or under exercising.

Balance they say is key to staying grounded and focused.

To being content and happy.

Buddhist philosophy talks about the ‘Middle way’. A path that is neither too strict or too relaxed. A life that encompasses the things you want to put out into the world.

Love.

Compassion.

A commitment to improving your self from the inside out. Supporting your fellow man.

Speaking and acting out your Truth…whatever that may be.

Finding balance in life allows you the opportunity to focus on things that are important to you.

If we don’t have balance in our lives then we are not truly opening up to our full capabilities. How do we know when things are too one side? Too top heavy? We know the age old saying ‘feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders’. How do we go about readjusting our values and priorities so we can fall back into line?

I think we first have to figure out what our priorities are in life? Is it striving for a full-filling, busy, packed to the brim work life? A live to work mantra (if that’s what is important to you)? Or is it about making time for yourself? Giving into a bit of self-love. Tuning out from work and delving into more creative and inspiring outlets. Is it about prioritising time for others? Making a commitment to spending time with loved ones. For me meditating and journaling is great way to figure out these things. Writing stuff down no matter how trivial helps me sift through the messiness of my thoughts.

I know how easy it is to get caught up in the overwhelming demands and stresses of work (which for me is something I love and am passionate about). However, it is not the only thing that drives me. Sometimes I let it take over and begin to loose grip on things that I care about. Yoga, meditation, writing, photography and just being generally in my own little world.

When my balance is blurred and unsteady, I find myself feeling disjointed and disconnected from my environment. I get an itchy feeling to change and do something different to spark some inspiration in my life. I know I am working towards something greater. And I know, for me it’s about prioritizing my passions. Making that time to do things I enjoy rather than pushing them aside and not really doing much else instead.

I don’t want to suddenly get the feeling I’ve wasted moments of my life pushing things aside. I want to be more present and more in tune with the Now. Maybe that’s how I can find my balance. Accepting things as they are and making real commitments to doing things I enjoy as the feeling arises.

Truth

hdrcofmde

Truth.

What does this mean?

What is my truth?

What does it mean to live truthfully? To act in a truthful way?

Is it about speaking honestly and simply not lying? Or is it more about realizing what matters most in life? Whether that’s actions and words directed to others, or even more importantly to yourself.

One of my last practices in this yoga revolution I talked about in my last post, was about finding your truth. Tapping into your breath, looking inside and finding out what you’re all about. What is my truth? And I struggled. Really struggled to figure out what my truth is. And the things I thought about, I really had to think about. Am I kind? I am good natured? Am I honest with myself, or do I hide things away? I couldn’t work out what it was.

This made me sad. I know I don’t always act in a way that is true to myself. Mostly because I find it hard to let people down. I hate not being able to make other people happy. I hate the feeling I’ve hurt someone. Usually it’s by trying to say yes to everything. I know I touched upon these ideas and feelings in a previous post. Check it out here.

However, I know there’s something going on inside right now that’s left me a little disjointed. A little unsettled. Not sure what is unsettled yet. But I’m struggling with myself. I feel I’ve lost my way a little.

I know deep inside I’m not speaking my truth. Through this regular practice and returning to my mat, to my breath, to my soul, I have realized some things need changing. Some things need to be reevaluated.

Through this ‘truth’ practice I found a lump in my throat. A tightening of the muscles. Now, anyone who knows me, knows chakras are a new interest of mine. And the throat chakra is probably one of the ones I am focusing on the most. I develop a tightening in my throat when I have conversations. I find it hard to get my words out clearly and concisely. And struggle to be understood in a way that I want people to understand me. I either offend someone unintentionally or just ramble through my words without saying much.

Over the past few weeks I have felt at odds with myself. I don’t know if it’s a natural thing to feel uneasy at this time of the year. It’s dreary, cold, damp. Lack of funds from the festive period always puts a downer on your social life. But those are all material things that can be fixed fairly easily. Wrap up warm, hot baths, comfort food, staying in with friends and watching films. Finding a little hygge in your life. How I’ve been feeling underneath that superficial stuff is what is causing my angst. My muddled thoughts. The tightening of my throat. I feel practising, or doing something regularly ultimately makes you think and feel differently. Whether it’s physical exercise or not. A constant regular ‘doing’ causes a change of events that trigger new ideas, lights a little fire and spark in your soul. Or if it doesn’t then that’s telling in itself.

I recently went to see La La Land. Twice may I just say and was lost in the film. It inspired me to figure out what matters to me. What my dreams are. The things that drive me. Having the courage to speak out even if it doesn’t sit well with others. Is this speaking our truth?

I know I have some more digging to do. I know something has shifted since beginning this regular, daily yoga practise. The language and ideas presented to me in each sequence has encouraged me to readdress key themes if our lives. I can tell this because the way I’m writing and connecting my thoughts together has changed.

Setting goals, or resolutions has never been my thing, but maybe this idea of speaking my ‘truth’ can be my inspiration. My inspired action for the year. To speak and act in a truthful and honest way. It may not be easy but life is too short to hide away who we are.

x

Thoughtful and fearless

 

266d6dd28d631f724bbbcb616ea8084a

source

This may be a more rambled essay than usual. Still trying to make sense of it all. And by all, I mean ‘all’ of it. Whoa big concept there Emma, good job!

So, lets begin…What does it mean when one moves fearlessly through life? When one moves with thoughtfulness and care?

Through my 31 days of yoga (check it out over here on Youtube), each practice taps into a different idea or way of thinking. A different way of engaging with the world around us.

A different way of engaging with ourselves.

Two practices that stuck with me were firstly moving with care and with thought. Being aware of what is happening around us, and how we choose to interact with daily life.

Moving in a thoughtful way. The way we treat ourselves. Do we really stop and notice those small details? Do we tune into our own immediate environment and space? Are we careful in how we treat others? When moving through different physical asanas in 31 days of yoga, we are invited to slow down the process and move with this idea of ‘being connected’.

We are invited to move with thought about where we place our bodies in relation to the space that surrounds us. In conjunction with that we are invited to then notice our thoughts: are we being tough on ourselves?

Are we to eager to move quickly? Are we actually not aware of what s going at all? These can then be applied to your actions of the mat.

When you slow down, you have the space to connect to yourself and begin to be more considered in daily actions. Whether it’s going to make dinner, taking a bath, doing the washing up. Whatever it may be, it’s about becoming mindful of the way we interact with all that is in our lives.

Just being truly present.

Becoming mindful allows you to notice what’s really going on. Are you truly happy? Are you truly connected to others in your life? Are you committed to bringing about joy?

This brings me to the second practise that stuck with me. As we become thoughtful, we can soon become fearless. We can move in a way that does not hold us back. We can take those steps forward that we may not have felt able to before.

I don’t think being fearless is about jumping straight into something without thinking, and seeing what happens. I think it’s about knowing you can do something because you have faith in your capabilities that you have cultivated through careful, thoughtful actions.

You trust your path because you created it. You built your own foundations that hold you up. Foundations that keep you strong, if things don’t always work.

But how do we know we are being fearless? What does that feel like? For me it’s about knowing it’s okay to fall. If you take yoga for example, there’s always the possibility of falling, but that’s okay.

It’s taking the chance to challenge yourself. To meet your edge and push a little further. Not so far you will hurt yourself, but enough to see where this path may take you. Opening your mind a little more to what’s available.

To me that’s acting in a fearless way.

I have found over this past month, through cultivating a regular practice that I am tuning in more to myself. Through daily journaling and challenging myself to really look deep inside, I am becoming aware of what matters to me.

I am figuring out how to be truly mindful in the present moment.

Taking time to reflect for a brief second. Check in with my thoughts, feelings and mental faculties.What needs redirecting? What needs a bit of love and attention?

This is how we create a foundation that is solid, strong and capable. This is where we can become thoughtful and fearless in life.

I invite you to do the same.

x

 

 

Ring out the old. Ring in the new…

This time of year brings up a lot of feelings and questions for me. Always has done. And I find myself with a mixed bag of thoughts.

I suppose the key theme of this little essay is moving forward with the new and letting go of the old. How does one go about this? What is my dharma, my higher purpose, as I move into a new chapter of my life? I have a feeling this easy will contain a lot of “but how does one..?” questions.

As we move into a new cycle of living, how do we know we are moving towards the things we want? How do we know what it is we truly want in the first place? Or rather is the path we are currently on a path others have said we are good at, so merely continued on it without questioning its deeper meaning and connection to our truest desires. In fact how do we get to the root of our truest desires? Especially considering the responsibilities of day to day living. I want to be able to question more deeply the things that are important to me, without being bogged down by the general niggly  bits that keep us distracted.

One of my dearest, and oldest friends, recently said to me that our natural state is one of joy. If we find ourselves being deterred from that natural state then we need to find a means of bringing ourselves back to what we are naturally meant to be – in a state of joy. Such a simple concept. Such a wonderful concept, yet probably one of the hardest things to strive towards. Firstly, we’ve got to discover what brings us joy, true joy. And then we’ve got to figure out a way of incorporating those things into our lives.

I read somewhere that when it comes to making time to do the things we enjoy and love, it’s more about changing our mindsets. Most of the time we say “I don’t have time to do this/that”. However, what we should be saying is “I don’t view this as a priority right now”. Now, when you direct that towards wanting more time to read, practise yoga, see friends/loved ones etc and not feeling like you have enough time in the day/week/month, really what we are saying is “I don’t view seeing friends as a priority” “I don’t view working out a priority for my health”. We will always have enough time. Time is constant and unchanging. It’s about making things a priority and committing to that. We can’t blame ‘time’, we can only blame ourselves for choosing not top go to the gym that day, or not picking up your book to spend an hour reading. I feel it’s about being truly honest with yourself and taking responsibility for wanting something better.

Therefore as I “ring out the old” I’m going to “ring in the new” by ensuring things that are important to me are a priority. As the new year unfolds lets strive to enhance our lives for the better by doing things that bring about joy. No matter how small or how big those things may be. I’ve started journaling daily and thinking about where I am in that moment. More specifically developing my yoga practise, and unpicking how this will support me in cultivating a life that brings me joy. Tuning into the inner self and manifesting dreams hidden deep inside. Yes I went there! Get down with your inner self (if you follow Yoga with Adrienne you’ll get where I’m coming from). You may yet surprise yourself with what you will find hidden and buried away. I do believe strongly that it is about closing your eyes and ears, tuning out the white noise and looking at yourself in the present moment. Being honest enough to admit if where you are right now is not what you want your life to be. Respecting yourself enough to start making changes that have a positive impact on your overall well-being. And coincidently the coming about of a new year seems to fit in with this idea of a fresh start. A new beginning; a moment in time where you decide to do something positive for yourself. As a result the people around you will benefit from this. By focusing on supporting yourself, you are in a much better position to support and help another person.

For me, continuing with this little space is one such action I have committed to. This my way of grappling with difficult ideas that I need to explore and process in order to find a way forward. To question and discover new ways to improve and grow as a person. And I invite you all to the same as we progress through the new year.

x

Life’s simplicities…

Little moments where you can enjoy the calm and peacefulness of life.
This may be through enjoying and savouring a cup of tea. Not a hard earned end of day cuppa, but a lazy weekend morning of self love. Where all you do is take your time boiling the water, brewing the bag, and then quietly sipping and savouring each mouthful.

Maybe it’s sitting in your favourite part of the house. Soaking in the quiet. Whilst reading your favourite book, magazine, blogs etc. Or that perfect bath where you sit in quiet solotude, resting your mind and body from daily life.

It could be anything that brings you joy. This term is being bandied around a lot on social media at the moment. Maybe you’ve started taking an active interest in this concept of ‘hygge’. I know I have. I recently bought a book on the concept. I’m sucker for new ways of living. I’m a lifestyle advertisers dream. Ha!

I have yet to tuck into this small but intriguing little book, but from all that’s being said on social media it sounds like something I can get on board with. Little joys, and finding pleasure in what we have is not as hard as we make it out to be. We feel a constant need to seek joy outside of ourselves. When really we need to look internally and reassess what we have already.

My intention this weekend was to just enjoy small moments with my mum. Spend time just being in an environment that is familiar and comforting. As I head home today, I leave feeling more settled. It is easy to get swept up and stuck in the rut of day to day stuff.

So I leave you with a few quotes that I have found recently…

Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement; a sanded floor and whitewashed walls and the green trees, and flowery meads, and living waters outside.

William Morris

The key to finding a happy balance in modern life is simplicity

Sogyal Rinpoche

Having time off and spending time doing the things I enjoy, such as reading health mags or savouring that sweet cup of coffee (simple pleasures, I know) is all I need.  I think we forget about the small stuff and feel to be happy we have to make big sweeping gestures and make big choices in life.

I don’t think that’s always the case. Let’s find time to master those little moments in life. Let’s find time to invest in ourselves.

X

Personal gains…

How do we move forward in life without getting lost, or loosing sight or what’s important to us?

I have have been thinking a lot recently as I come to a full year in my new job, about where things are going. What do I want to be doing next? What’s new and interesting for me to get stuck into? I’ve always been the type of person who likes to move forward regardless of what it is I’m doing. I like to make progress no matter how small or big that progress is. I recently had a meeting about where my next steps are heading and it is all very exciting and promising. I spoke about where my interests and skills lie, and the areas I wanted to develop further. So, in a professional sense I am happily moving forward in a positive direction. I have felt that over the past year I have found a profession that gives me joy and  a sense of reward on a daily basis. And that is a rarity.

However, as I progress forward professionally where does this leave my personal journey? Where do I turn next? What do I want to improve, no correction, nourish and nurture in my life? Have I through focusing on making positives steps in my professional life lost sight of my personal development? I recently purchased a journal, which maybe familiar to some, called the Daily Greatness Journal (found on Amazon). Whilst flicking briefly through its pages, it looks like a delightful and creative tool to help me see areas in my life I want to focus on and dedicate my time to. To me ‘personal gains’ is all about creating a life of balance and meaning. Not for others but a life that has meaning and value to you. Ultimately it is ourselves that have the final say on whether we have succeeded in life. I am slowly becoming more secure in myself and my skills, my passions and interests, that needing approval from others is not as important to me anymore.

It seems to be round this time of the year I begin to question things and reflect on life decisions. Big concept there. However, I’ve always been starting something new this time of year. Autumn has always been a new beginning whether it’s a job or returning to school for further education. I recently attended a conference for qualified teachers, and attended a workshop on early career research. It struck me how much I enjoy discussing and taking apart key themes and ideas, not always with an end result, purely for the joy and interest I have in a subject. One piece of advice the professor gave us, was to go away and really think about something that excited us. Something that does not necessarily relate to our profession, but something that ignites a passion of interest. It may just be me but I’ve always had this niggling feeling I can always be doing more, not in an ambitious driven way but that I’m capable of developing myself further. Whether it’s through new skills, or undertaking a research project. It could be anything as long it benefits us personally. As long as it’s a decision that sparks joy and energy.

I think there comes a point in time where if we do something because we feel we have too, then the sole purpose of moving forward is for someone else. Moving forward should be for ourselves, for our own personal growth. This post has been thought about a lot over the past month. With trying to figure out the idea of personal gains and how it can measured. For me, I suppose, it’s about doing something that will better my life. Will enrich my life and give it more meaning. And it could be as simple as taking up a more advance yoga class, or finding the time once a week to read a piece of research in a field of interest (as the lead professor of the workshop I attended suggested).

So here’s my list of commitments:

  • read one article a week on a subject of interest – whether its early years education, philosophical ideals, or eastern practices
  • continue to develop my physical asana practice

Two very simple commitments that I hope will bring a bit of clarity. That will hopefully open up some deep rooted passions. Following different accounts that spark inspiration I find is big help. One account, such as the Elephant Journal on instagram is where I find most of my inspiration. The stuff they post and link are little moments of joy. If I need a little nudge in the right direction then this is the place I go to spark ideas. Go take a look and see what you find. For me I find that immersing myself in creative environments encourages me to question things that are important to me and opens up different avenues of interest.

That’s what it comes down to. Finding something that interests you and using that interest to enrich and deepen your life. Personal gains is about finding a way of life that is whole and rich and full of joy. Now let’s go out there and commit ourselves to discovering the things that matter to us most with an open mind and a nurturing heart.

 

True to ourselves

IMG_7421

Well hello there old friend! Hasn’t it been a while? Indeed it has. I feel like this little space of mine has lost its way, or maybe it’s going in the direction it’s meant to. A space to reflect when reflection is needed.

I suppose that’s why I’m here now. Reflecting again on things that are important to me and things I want to cultivate further.

The question I’ve been asking myself lately is knowing your being true to yourself without inflicting pain on someone else. Not physical pain but emotionally letting someone else be hurt by your decisions and actions. How do we stop that from arising without putting ourselves to the sideline, and jeopardising our own happiness.

I hate letting people down. I have a huge problem with saying no. And then I result in backtracking and ultimately making a situation worse for all parties involved. It’s an issue I am always working on to rectify. But lately I’ve made the decision to stop worrying so much about how people will think of my saying yes or no to things. But am beginning to concern myself more with how that decision will make me feel. Is this decision or action beneficial to my life and will it cause me pain and hurt? I firmly believe in selfless acts and being there for people when they need it most. Putting others first when they need support and assistance. I have no problem saying yes to those situations even it means missing out on something else, or having to cancel a last minute event. However, I do feel we all have a problem with putting ourselves last and sometimes this can cause bigger problems not just for us, but for others too. A little self love and respect can go a long way.

However, what causes me anxiety is saying yes to things or agreeing to do something when in my heart and, probably more importantly, my gut is saying no. These are situations where I need to build courage and strength in saying no. I find it hard and feel that if I do, somehow that person’s opinion of me lowers. I need to stop thinking like this and feel confident in that what I choose to do will benefit me. Making sure I’m saying ‘Yes’ to things that will further my career, relationships and general life ‘well’ness’, and saying ‘No’ when it is the right time to. Whether it is making sure your to do list is not overloaded at work or at home. Or if it’s something you know you won’t like and there’s no reason to do it. And finally knowing when you cannot actually do something. When you say yes so you don’t feel left out, or because you’ve got carried away with an idea and haven’t thought the whole thing through (i.e. financial aspects, time frames or double booking). The latter is my most common failing. Okay, not failing but definitely something that needs constant monitoring. This is where for me yoga and mindfulness is helpful. Practising yoga and meditation allows me the space and time to reflect.

So my mantra at the present moment is knowing it’s okay to say, No! That people won’t think badly of me. Won’t judge me. And if they do then they aren’t true friends, or people who respect me. And finally that their reactions are their concern, not mine. I can’t control that, and if people do think differently then it’s them and not me. Unless, of course I act like a dick, which people then have a reason to think badly of me.

In the end we are all in control of our own lives and ultimately it’s up to us in how we want to live them.