Being mindful of ourselves and others

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As you may or may not be aware I have a long standing battle with depression and for me meditation, yoga and exercise keeps the dark clouds at bay. With the link between body and mind, I think it is important to be aware and look after both body and mind in order to stay healthy.

This doesn’t mean having to “go hard” all the time, in fact mindful rest is as if note more important than beasting it in the gym.

Today’s Mindful Monday post is about being more mindful. In recent weeks I’ve spoken about being grateful, spending quality time with loved ones without being connected to social media and self belief. Now it’s time to take some time to just breathe. I touched on this a while back, but it is important at times to just be still.

You don’t need to travel anywhere fancy, find a place where you feel comfortable and can have some time, turn off your phone/tablet/communication devices and sit down. Now just listen. The wind blowing through the trees, the bird communicating with another bird across the way, the cars outside. Now focus on steady breathing in …. And out. Nice even breathing. If you can manage ten minutes, fifteen or even three see if you can do it.

If you’re able to, every day this week take some time. I try to do this every morning and my day is usually then a good one.

Second task for this week is to thank someone and where possible explain why you’re thanking them. It could be as simple as a quick thank you to the man/woman who stopped at the zebra crossing to let you cross the road. Or your friend who called you when you had a bad day and made you laugh. We can be very quick to point out mistakes or moments where we aren’t happy with someone, but we don’t say thank you enough, especially where it could mean someone else is having a bad day and your words of gratitude take that person to a better mind space.

Have a wonderful week.

Love and light.

Time out

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I’ve just come from what can only be described as the meeting of minds. Being so socially connected, it was so good to spend a few hours with someone and not have them check their phone every few seconds. I’m pleased to say that the hours sped by as we talked and laughed and I can’t wait to see her again, hopefully with our friend who introduced us to each other.

I know I am on a lot of social media, but I make it a point of putting my phone on silent/turning it off when I’m out with friends so they have my full attention, so it’s nice when friends do the same. We spend so much time “interacting” online, but how much time do we actually connect when we’re out? Who peeks at their phone at the first opportunity, send that “important “email or check messages?

There’s also the game where phones are placed on the table and whoever picks up their phone first pays the bill, to me it’s bad if you have to resort to bribery in order to take time away from social media in order to spend quality time with loved ones.

Today’s mindful Monday post is really a reminder to be mindful to try to take quality time out when with friends/loved ones.

Make that call

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How many times have you put off making an awkward phone call? I can tell you, I’ve done it too many times to count. I don’t call many people, and when I do it is with purpose. There are a very small number of people that I feel I can call regularly, with the increase in messenger apps, this has made things easier for everyone to not have to make many calls too.

So when I was pulled up on this last week, I was put of the defensive. The conversation that unfolded where I was told to call that person more. Then I thought, “but hold on, while I don’t call you … You don’t call me either”. I haven’t felt for a long time that I could pick up the home to call them based on how our relationship as friends has been, and their job means they’re very busy. I am the type of person that would hate to think I was bothering someone when they are so busy, so sending a message to let them know I’m thinking of them. Trying to keep communication channels open for me was a better option than nothing at all, especially as I felt/feel like it was a little more one sided.

It got me on a chain of thought that has me thinking that I should make more of an effort to make more meaningful contact with my friends. The art of conversation has been lost to social media, which is not a good thing at all. While I don’t like spending hours talking on my mobile, I do appreciate conversation.

So this week, I will endeavour to make a few meaningful phone calls to a small handful of people and just connect properly. It may even include the catalyst for this post.

Be Happy!

Monday

Today’s post is very straight forward: Do something today that makes you happy.

Today is the first day since leaving my job and I am doing the following:

1. Meeting a lovely friend of mine I haven’t seen in such a long time.
2. Having a massage.
3. Spending time in my secret place where I go to meditate/read/do nothing.

Even if you are working or are busy today, take ten minutes to do something that makes you happy today, you deserve it.

Before I go, here’s something I was told recently by someone I adore which I don’t hear often/ever and I am passing this onto you reading this post.

“You are worthy”.

Love and light xx

Moving on

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Last week I spoke to you about ‘Cleaning House’, today’s post is all about moving on.

“There’s no need for us to be held back by the past or how things have been so far. The important thing is what seeds we are sowing now for the future”.

– Daisaku Ikeda

It can be difficult at times to move on from bad/traumatic experiences, but it is necessary to do so in order to grow as a person. It isn’t always as simple as ‘letting’ go or to forget those experiences, but that is where taking some time to mourn the bad moment and dealing with it first in order to use it as a learning point and move on from it comes into play. This can take the form of therapy, talking to friends/family etc., meditation etc. As long as it’s a healthy way to deal with the problem, then do it!

Take some time out of the day today to reflect on how far you have come in situations where at the time you thought that you were never going to see an end to your suffering. Now remind yourself how grateful you are for that situation making you stronger and use that as a focal point whenever you’re having a tough time.

Enjoy your Monday, Love and light x

Cleaning House

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Whilst you could also transfer this into actually cleaning your house full of clutter, today I’m referring to mindfully cleaning house where your thoughts are concerned.

Emotional baggage can be very harmful and take up space where positive should reside. If doing this is difficult, then turn to physically cleaning and use the sight of watching the suds disappearing down the drain as a metaphor for leaving the negative emotions behind and the clean plate as the beginnings of positive thoughts and in turn actions. Do you really three hundred magazines, shoes you’re never going to wear again or that ticket stub when Jonny Whitehead took you out on your first date aged 15? I’m guessing no. The same applies to those negative thoughts you’ve been harbouring for the past 10 years about something that probably doesn’t matter now.

Get cleaning!!

Start your week off right!

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Monday seems to be the hardest day of the week for a lot of people as it means that the fun of the weekend is officially over. Why is that? Surely it should be taken as the start of a new week to do great things and be great, no?

For today’s Mindful Monday post, take today as your day to catch up on those things that you know will make the rest of the week amazing and make this a weekly plan. Use this day to remember to move forward with purpose; if you believe that the week is going to be a rubbish one, based on your beliefs and in turn your reaction to those negative thoughts/actions, chances are the week will become a bad one.

Use the following quote from Daisaku Ikeda as your motivation this week. Print it out and place it somewhere prominent if you need to:

“Everything depends on what is in our hearts. If we decide to ourselves that something is impossible, then, consistent with our minds in thinking so, even something that is possible for us will become impossible. On the other hand, if we have the confidence that we can definitely do something, then we are already one step closer to achieving it in reality.”

Start the week as you mean to go on!!

20 things I’m grateful for

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Flicking through my Twitter timeline on Friday I saw a tweet posted by the awesome David McQueen which challenged his followers to list 20 things you’re grateful for which I promptly retweeted.

I was then sat on the tube en route to meet my sister to attend Wireless Festival a few hours later feeling really great, so I then began thinking of reasons why I’m grateful, here they are:

1. My Mother
2. The ability to hear. Music is everything.
3. My child telling me he loves me.
4. Spending precious time with my grandmother.
5. Being reunited with my two brothers.
6. Chocolate.
7. Meditation.
8. Having my heart broken. Nothing is forever.
9. Being told no.
10. The ability to say no. I can’t be everything to everyone.
11. Waking up before the alarm. Mini personal victory.
12. Access to clean water.
13. Facing my own mortality 18 February 2013.
14. Charlie Dark.
15. Education. In and outside academia.
16. Travel. Life is very interesting outside the M25.
17. Soya hot chocolate on a cold morning.
18. Exercise. Sanity inducer.
19. Chocolate. Yes. Two entries.
20. Freedom of self/expression. Much of the World are persecuted for something which we take for granted.

This was an interesting exercise and I thank David for challenging me, take a moment to reflect on gratitude and see how you do. I can safely say it won’t hurt.

Hold on, I’ll be five minutes …

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This is technically not a fitness post, but I’ve been known to throw in a couple of curve balls here and there so bear with me. Whilst I’m an advocate of exercise and being healthy, I extend this to the mind. I suffer with depression and have made efforts to ensure that the bouts I have are few and far between, staying active is a HUGE part of that. There is also another way that I work on staying in a good place and that’s through rest and relaxation, particularly meditation.

I know you probably now have images of me sitting in a room full of floaty curtains, pillows and such like, but unfortunately I don’t have a pretty room like that in the ghetto lol.
Jokes aside taking five minutes out during work hours, before bed, on the way to a meeting to put away your phone, closing the laptop and concentrating on just breathing does wonders.

Research conducted by a university in California which was part of a Telegraph article showed that meditating for five minutes before class saw a significant increase in the concentration and grades of the students. In a busy world where there “isn’t any time” to do anything, taking five minutes out a day could impact you in a positive way. You don’t have to rush out and buy whale sounds, incense and pillows with little mirrors on. Yourself, a chair and five minutes is all you require. Shoot, you don’t even need the chair!

So try this: during your break at work; turn your phone off, find a space if you will have someone trying to talk to you and break your focus, get relaxed and just sit for five minutes clearing your mind of the stresses of the day and see whether or not you feel better afterward, you may just be surprised.