Acceptance, Essential Self, Gratitude, Grounding, Healing, Self-love

Practicing Self Love at a time of giving

Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love. Rumi (13th Century Persian Mystic)

As we hit the time of the holidays, we start to think about all the people around us who we love and care about. We want to reach out to them, show them we love them and buy them special presents to reflect our appreciation. In what is already a busy life, we are also building up to the biggest celebrations of the year. This can be exhausting, and so many of us collapse at the table either on Thanksgiving or Christmas day unable to fully be present and enjoy the very thing we are thankful for; life.Love quote in tree

By practicing a little self-love, we can avoid being fully spent on the day of celebration, by being mindful of who we are and what is important to us amid all the noise and activity. Self-love can sound like a very indulgent concept. Aren’t I being selfish if I only think of myself? Shouldn’t I be thinking of others at this time of year? Isn’t love about giving not receiving?

I can understand these concerns, but let’s demystify the nature of love. Love is energy; it is as simple and as complex as that. It is the life force of energy that is all around us and resides in its most concentrated form in our heart. If we remember this, we can then start to think of the analogy of a mobile phone – bear with me on this!

We all have one of these devices these days and they are great. We can talk to people, we can shop, we can pay our bills, we can play games on them, the list is endless. Yet the phone’s energy is not. So, what do you do to ensure that your phone continues to provide the same fantastic activities each day? You plug it in and renew its battery. If you don’t it dies and then there is no more fun to be had.

We are like our mobile phones, in as much as we need our energy boosting every day so that we can continue to be the loving, generous and compassionate person we want to be in the world. Recharging our batteries is the supreme act of self-love. It allows us to have a loving flow of energy constantly coming to us which we can share with everyone in our lives. In the book ‘A Course in Miracles’, it says that I give what I receive. In truth, we can only give what is present within us. I am not talking here of physical items (although the principle holds here too), but energetically. We can only give, what we have in ourselves to give.

Here are some of the ways you can practice self-love so that you can be your most vibrant, thankful and loving self during the holidays.

  • Get a good night’s sleep. This is something that we so often compromise in our busy modern lives. The body needs time to renew itself, given the highly complex biological processes it runs for us each day. Aim for at least 7 hours sleep at night.
  • Centre yourself before you start the day. Start a morning ritual that allows you to start the day in a positive way. After you have dealt with all the essential morning things, sit quiet for a few minutes (5 minutes is enough if you are always short of time). Read an inspirational quote for the day (there are lots of books out there or online resources. Look up Rumi Quotes for an example or have develop a personal affirmation (I’ll be launching an affirmation deck soon, so you can pick a fresh card every day). Use the words in your quote or affirmation to guide you into a brief meditation. Focus on your breath and repeat the words to yourself silently, until you feel calm and centred.
  • Be Grateful. We hear about the power of gratitude increasingly and that is because it is the most powerful tool in our manifestation toolkit. It’s easy to be grateful when everything is flowing our way, but far harder when we are having difficulties. Yet it is precisely at this point that it is as it is most powerful. Next time you are finding yourself angry, annoyed or upset with someone in your life, take a moment to connect with your breath and ask yourself ‘what from this situation can I learn about myself? How can this situation teach me the value of happiness?’ If you stay focused on your questions, you will see the dynamic start to shift and allow you to come up with a better response.

 

I send you the very best of wishes over the holiday season. Remember that to love yourself is to love all others. Self-love is the supreme act of bringing love into the world. There is no better gift than that.

On December 7th, I’ll be jointly running an evening of Yoga and Mindfulness with Emma Heald, near Hull. We will explore the theme of self-love. If you are local and want to join us the details are HERE.

 

Acceptance, Autumn, Grounding

Turning Leaves – the time for inner work

Autumn is quite a dramatic time of year for nature. As the sun moves further away from the earth, we head for cooler months and see a shift in the energy all around us.

For plants and animals, this is a time to conserve energy, to go inwards, and to trust mother earth to support them through the harsh months to come. Our deciduous trees are vibrant at this time, as they turn to shades of red, gold and orange and lose their foliage. Their sap drops deep into their core and their energy returns to the roots through the decaying leaves all around them. Many other animals start to slow down or hibernate during this time, finding warm and safe spots deep within the earth.

In our modern times, when we seem to have conquered so much of nature and feel protected from the worst extremes of its seasons, you might ask; what has any of this got to do with us?

The illusion of our separation from nature is only that; an illusion. Our bodies and to a certain extent our minds go through the same changes that many creatures and plants go through during this time. Our energy seeks to go inward. Our circadian rhythm starts to change in response to the shorter days, the colder climates and the differing moon cycles. That might seem hard to believe, but when we remember that we are mammals supported on a planet that is orbited by a moon and circles a sun in a vast universe, we start to realise that we have very little control over anything, least of all our bodies deeply instinctive responses to the changes ahead.  We can however start to think about habits and routines that will help us to be more in sync with the changes around and within us.

We don’t have the luxury of being able to hibernate or reduce our working hours, just because Autumn has arrived, but we can find other ways to honour the inner changes that are happening.

  • Our diet is important. It is no surprise that the root vegetables harvest at this time of year, given that they bring rich nutrients from the soil, as well as important vitamins and trace minerals.  Think about having root vegetables roasted, in stews or in hearty soups once or twice a week.
  • Morning routines can be difficult to maintain when we wake up to darkness. We can feel slower and stiffer, as the fluid in our joints thicken, and we need to be more aware of warming up thoroughly ahead of any sporting activities. Consider starting some morning stretching exercises to help you to awaken your body slowly and gently. The five Tibetan rituals is a routine I find useful, but there are many others.
  • During the summer months we are used to drinking cold water regularly, but as we move towards winter, think about switching your water bottle for a thermal mug and having more regular warm drinks. Non caffeinated drinks such as herbal teas have a great nourishing and balancing effect on the body and will help to maintain good energy levels.
  • Lastly, think about going to bed an hour or so earlier. We tend to need more sleep in the winter, as our body struggles both with the light deprivation and the increased energy we are using to keep warm. The best way to replenish this is to get a good night’s sleep.  It also makes it much easier to face a dark morning when we feel well rested.
Acceptance, Change, Emotions, Grounding, Habits

How to choose and anchor your emotional state

Emotional resilience is not something we are all born with, but it is something we can develop with some simple habits and techniques.

Have you ever had a day when you have woken up feeling happy and vibrant only to find that it disappears after a few moments in the office? Or perhaps after a few moments talking to your mother on the phone?  Our emotions can feel like changeable things that are at the behest of others and our situation. But that is only a story we tell ourselves.  We often believe that our emotions are something that we have very little control over, yet when we consciously choose to be calm, happy and peaceful, we find that this will remain the case for as long as we make that our choice.

 

In this short video, I demonstrate a simple technique to enable you to anchor your emotional state.  It’s very quick and easy and allows you to have an immediate and quick way of reconnecting to your chosen emotional state, rather having one imposed on you by circumstances.

Give it a go and see what you think.

 

Grounding, Happiness, Nature, Self-love

Three immediate benefits when you spend time in nature

How good are you at getting out to nature and noticing the wonderful affect it can have on you?

In this v-log I share the three immediate benefits being out in nature  and being aware of the majestic beauty all around you.

 

Being in nature helps you to:

 

  • Release your stress
  • Become grounded
  • Appreciate how time is always on our side.

 

See more below

Grounding, Uncategorized

The importance of grounding

The practice of grounding ourselves is about ensuring that our energy is connected to the earth, that it is anchored and providing us with a steady base. This may be something that we feel is done naturally as part of our daily routines, but unfortunately this is not the case.

When we carry on with our busy lives, rushing here and there, with our mind full of thoughts of what we must do and what is the next thing that we will rush into, we are at the behest of our ego mind.  The ego is where our everyday thoughts reside, as well as where our self-protection tendencies are also stored. The ego is an essential part of our nature, but it is the one thing that can also create disassociation with our true selves- the physical and spiritual being that we are. When we become disassociated, we become ungrounded.

We know what it feels like to be ungrounded.  It is the short breaths that we take, that do not go further than our chest area. It is the low-level sense of panic that is our constant companion. It is the feelings of being overwhelmed. It is the restlessness and poor sleeping patterns that develop. And it is the constant tiredness that we feel, even after a good nights rest. This is because stress and anxiety naturally increase when we are ungrounded. So you can see the benefits of practicing this regularly to help you.

Tree.jpg

The best image that you can think of to help you, is a tree.  A tree grows forever upward and outward.  Always reaching for the sky to express its best and most beautiful self. Yet a tree knows that is can only continue growing and reaching from a strong firm base. Its roots grow at a similar rate to its upper branches, reaching further and further down and across to support itself.

We can learn to be like the tree and ground ourselves through some simple practices.  If you are a regular meditator, you will already be doing many of these. Here’s one technique ( out of many) that might help you.

A simple practice to anchor your energy

  • Before leaving the house in the morning, stand up in bare feet in a quiet space you will not be disturbed.  Make sure your spine is straight, your shoulders are relaxed and your head feels like it is floating above your shoulder.
  • Take a few centering breaths and when you feel calm, bring your attention to the soles of your feet.
  • Imagine a warm energy moving down from your heart to the soles of your feet.
  • Feel the strong connection that the soles of your feet are making with the gound.
  • Now start to imagine that warm energy travelling though your feet, down into the floor.
  • Imagine it going deeper and deeper into the ground, travelling all the way down to the centre of the earth.
  • When you are fully rooted in the moment, set an intention to be grounded for the rest of the day.  Say to yourself ‘I am anchored in the present moment and will remain so throughout the day.’

At the end of the day, make a note of any changes you felt as a result of the grounding exercise.  Repeat daily. Enjoy.