Beginning in silence…
It’s called starting again, it sounds familiar. We start again and again; indeed my whole life seems to be a series of new beginnings, false starts, half heartened attempts to become my better self, to being the perfect me, whole and fully content. However my desire to fit in translates to high energy, achievements, perfectionism, people pleasing and responsibility which in turn sabotages my efforts at embracing life with meaning. Without fully intending to I find myself racing through days, multi-tasking and mentally ticking off the crazy to do list in my head. Naturally then, feelings of exhaustion, weariness and guilt are my bedfellows before I wake up and begin again.
Somehow I have prioritised keeping busy at the expense of my own health and well being. Being busy is not just about work and deadlines; it’s about over scheduling, last minute appointments, saying yes to too many things, being always on the move and in high alert mode. For me it can even mean tidying up living spaces before I allow myself to sit down to relax. In essence being busy has become my default mode and with that comes kudos as nearly everyone we meet in today’s world pays homage to the “business of busyness”.
Being busy can actually become a way of avoiding and escaping the stories of our life and when we do this something sacred is lost. We are all uniquely created with gifts, talents and limitations and yet we spend our time conforming to be more like everyone else, to keep doing what we committed to doing and to keep doing what others expect of us. Dancing to someone else’s tune may be possible but impossible to perfect so we continue to strive, always falling short.
As we embark on a New Year I am seeking the courage to unearth the real me rather than becoming a better version of what’s already there. This involves acceptance of where I’m at right now. To do this I need to take out the lens of honesty, take stock of the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. I will need to make room for stillness, for being and for listening. I will need patience and each day I will have to remind myself to slow down, to make room for the necessary internal work which now needs attention. Hopefully by stepping back I will begin to rely on my inner compass and in turn make healthy decisions for me rather than mindlessly following the latest trend, fad, diet or gimmick of 2017.
The following structure is slowly becoming a habit and requires discipline.
How to incorporate stillness into everyday
- Identify and establish a 10 minute Quiet Time in Your home. For some this may mean setting the alarm earlier or missing a favourite TV programme. Those with their own mindfulness practice may want to spend longer but the main idea is that you make it a daily practice, a day at a time.
- Dedicate a space that is accessible to you. If it’s early in the morning you will most likely have your choice of rooms. If it’s evening time your bedroom may work best.
- Be comfortable – you may like to lie on your bed, couch, yoga mat or sit on a comfy chair. Make sure you are warm enough by having a comfy blanket or throw over.
- Turn off all gadgets to minimise distraction and to be aware that the world keeps on turning even when you are not accessible.
- Set a timer in the beginning as you may worry about time. After a while you will be able to gauge the time yourself as you settle into a rhythm.
- Close your eyes, let your body relax, follow your breath and experience yourself in the silence
- Consciously bring the art of listening from your stillness practice into your daily interactions at home and in work.
- A small note book may be useful – you can tick the day off immediately after your practice to give a sense of achievement and use another part of the book to record any gems, treasures, worries, ideas that resonate.
If you would like to try the above I invite you to join me on aframeofmind.ie where we can offer one another support on living from an authentic place. Each week there will be updates mainly based on feedback and questions.
As a Mindfulness Practitioner I will provide tips and upload some audio meditations which you will have full access to but the real work will come from our practice. It is in listening to our stories that we can acknowledge possibility and fully engage with our one own lives. On the 28th of January there is a Rest & Renew Retreat morning in the The Margaret Aylward Centre, Glasnevin. Early booking is advisable.