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HAVE A VERY MERRY & MINDFUL CHRISTMAS

Amidst the annual pressures to purchase piles of presents, decorate every orifice of your office or home, manage a social schedule that keeps everyone happy, and still leave enough time for the pursuit of the perfect mince pie… It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger-picture point of what this time of year is all about and end up super stressed.  

Thankfully you don’t have to wait for the Three Wise Men to come knocking at your door to get the advice you need to enjoy a fabulous festive period free from stress.  You just need to be more mindful with the help of these three top tips.

 

1. REDUCE THE RUSH BY BEING MINDFUL OF THE MOMENT

Time tends to feel limited and stress-levels rise when we stop focusing on what we are doing now and get caught up over thinking about all the things that need done later. The reality is you can only ever do one thing at a time. Through being present by giving all of your attention to whatever you are doing, right now, you will naturally end up even more effective and efficient.

Focus on the task in hand by being mindful of your senses. Notice what you can currently see, tune into the sounds you are hearing and fully feel whatever you are touching.  Wrap each present without giving much thought to the pile waiting in the sidelines.  Properly feel the spoon in your hand as you stir the gravy.  Notice the colours of the pretty Christmas lights that are passing by as you drive to the shops or your next social engagement. 

In essence, fully engage the present moment reality of whatever is occurring in the immediate here and now. You’ll be amazed by how time appears to stretch, you get so much more done, with very little stress and much more enjoyment.

 

2. AIM FOR AGREEMENT IF ARGUMENTS ARISE

Whether it is the best way to baste the Turkey, the precise timing for the opening of presents or what to watch on the box. Things can quickly become heated and we all want to avoid the family fighting out their differences by brandishing the nearest luxury cracker.

Arguments usually happen because we are disagreeing on the finer details and forgetting to find the collective consensus.  If you sense an argument arising, you want to be a calming influence by remaining mindful of the common ground.  This can be done by rising above the details and recognizing the bigger picture preference of everyone enjoying what they eat, getting along and having fun.

Yes, there are multiple ways to cook the bird. But what matters most is it’s cooked properly and the family doesn’t spend the following week frequenting the toilet with food poisoning.  Yes, you may want to watch a particular programme. But isn’t it more pleasant to use some of your festive spirit to relinquish control of the remote?  I promise the positive paybacks are far more rewarding than getting your own way. (Besides, there’s always iPlayer later.)

 

3. TAKE A TIME-OUT FROM ALL THE TINSEL

Just because you love them, it doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking moment in their company.  Silence is golden after all and giving yourself the gift of a few minutes time-out can work wonders not only for your serenity, but your sanity too. Find a quiet place in the house, sit down, close your eyes and have a few moments of meditation. 

Begin by taking a few mindful breaths by noticing the feel of the air as it flows in and out of your nose. Continue meditating by being gently alert with your attention wide and open. Get a sense of the space in the room where you are residing.  Be attentive to the silence that any sounds are occurring within. 

Even 5-10 minutes of sitting still, breathing in a balanced way and gently exploring the stillness of the space surrounding you, can help you to hit the re-set button and return to proceedings with more calm and Christmas cheer.  

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Loving Life = Successful Living

My publisher Hay House posted the above quote on their Facebook page the other day and it's quickly clocked up over 9000 likes and 3500 shares! It's so great to see this quote resonate with so many people because I truly believe a successful life is one that is loved by the person living it.

Let's say there are two people - one has lots of money, lives in a big house, drives fancy cars and lives a five star lifestyle, BUT they are anxious, unhappy and unsatisfied with their life. Compare this to someone who may not have as much, but is calm, contented and loves their life. Who would you say is more 'successful'. In my opinion, the person loving their life. The great news is that it costs nothing to love your life. The key is to judge less and let 'what is' be enough, exactly as it is.

To play with what I call 'Courageous Contentment', play the following game (taken from the upcoming Body Calm book). If you ever find yourself out of love with your life or feeling discontentment because you haven't got something you think you need to be happy, then take a moment to think to yourself or say aloud: 'I can want this without needing it'.

Pause for a few moments taking on board the sentiments of the statement before considering what your inner experience of life is like when you let this moment be enough, exactly as it is. If you do, you may notice there will be more calm, contentment and completeness within you, along with a greater sense of love and appreciation for the many gifts the present moment is always giving.

Please let me know how you get on using this Courageous Contentment game by commenting below. Thanks and enjoy! S:-) 

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Posts from Patmos

Day 2 of my meditation retreat on the Greek island of Patmos. Took this picture on the way to town today. Nice place, hey! I promised to give some updates... Since arriving we've been playing with watching life without thinking about it. To completely fill our attention up with the fullness of now and observe without commenting, interfering, judging or labelling. By doing so I'm noticing that there's no time or space for anything other than what's presenting itself, right now and that now is full and complete and doesn't need any improvements done to it by 'me'. That the right person to speak to, perfect things to say or do comes naturally and life flows more magically without me standing in its way.

Although this is not a new concept, actively playing with it more fully is leading to a brand new excitement and gratitude for the abundant universe in which we play. I've found the more I engage now without thinking about it, the less I engage with the mind-made version of who I think I am or should be. As a result, any stress, self-induced pressure and separateness is fading away to reveal an amazing sense of oneness. 

Day 5 on my meditation retreat on the Greek island of Patmos so it feels like time for a new update. The 80 meditation teachers here have been meeting twice every day and it's been amazing to hear the rich experiences everyone has been having by simply observing the present moment without thinking about it. Many have commented it's like coming home to the heart of Love. That the here and now is full of perfection, stillness, peace, awe and infinite potential. That there is so much joy and excitement in letting go and letting whatever wants to present itself to be presented in the present moment! And that any time the appearance of tension, stress and discomfort occurs, it's simply a wake up call to return to fully engaging the now once again.

Personally, my over-riding feeling is one of feeling blessed and lucky to be alive. By fully embracing what the moment has to give, there are countless reasons to be grateful and I hope reading this is a nice little reminder to let go of forcing life to be how you believe it should be. To rest back and tune into the moment without caring as much about what your mind happens to think about it. Beyond beliefs there is truth and beyond judgement there is Love. 

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