I’ve just finished my post about focusing on the stillness and want to revisit all the things that help me to be still, quiet and reflective.
I hope this can help you, dear friends, if you want to find a bit more stillness and balance in life, and I also hope this post will help me to return to stillness when I get caught up in the ‘doing’. If you have any other thoughts about what helps you to be still, please share them with me as I could use all the help I can get!
Taking a moment
I’m purposely putting this idea first as I think it is the most important thing I can do to increase my wellbeing but it is something I struggle with so much… You see, I’m not very good at just pausing and connecting with my emotions. In fact, I felt ill at ease reading a line from the Oprah magazine I bought for my flight as I feel it often sums me up – “when your heart is shut down, it becomes about doing and not about being”. My go-to way of processing is to rationalise my feelings, thoughts and experiences and I know I can be too ‘head’ driven and shut down my heart – after all, I’m British! But I feel there is true freedom and power in acknowledging my emotions and giving them space and time to be felt. I experienced this when getting to the airport in Vancouver and finding my flight had been moved 2 hours forward without them notifying me, which resulted in me missing my flight! Instead of pushing down or freezing out my emotions, I let myself feel. I called my husband and had a little cry down the phone, I recognised I was upset/scared/frustrated, and then I was able to let the emotions go. Just taking a moment to feel has such a profound and deep impact and I want to do this more.
I’ve been listening to Claire Obeid’s meditations for a while now and I’ve found them really helpful for finding a bit of calm and peace in my hectic life. They’re only 10 minutes long, so do-able in my lunch breaks or to bring a pre/post-work moment of peace. I’ve bought them and have them on my phone to listen to at any moment, but there are so many free meditations on YouTube (just google ‘YouTube meditations’ to open the floodgate of amazing resources). Even just pausing for a few breaths has greatly helped me to find stillness and peace in my busy life.
Frequent reminders to pause and reflect
I’ve signed up to some really great mailing lists that provide me with little prompts of clarity and stillness in my life. My current favourite is Brené Brown’s weekly courage works e-mail that include a single thought from Brené’s amazing work. This picture shows to the left helped me to just stop and reflect on how I push away my difficult experiences in life – my years battling an eating disorder, the borderline emotional abuse I experienced with my first love, failures – but how I cannot be whole without embracing and integrating all of these experiences into my life. Indeed, the time I felt the most real, true, authentic during my holiday to Canada was when sharing my continued struggles with comfort eating and negative body image with my friend, Nadine – it allowed me to shine light into a dark place, which brought such beauty and grace into my life. I’ve saved all the courage works e-mails in my inbox and I love re-reading them and revisiting what they mean to me.
There’s something really comforting in taking my chakra oracle cards and reading the wisdom that one or a few of them hold for me. If you want to read more about how I use my oracle cards, here’s a post I’ve written about them. I’m not sure what I think about how the cards get chosen – why I often pick a small number of these cards repeatedly when other friends do not – but I do know they allow me to tap into my intuition. They may subconsciously give me permission to think the thoughts I don’t dare to vocalise by myself or perhaps I’m guided to choose particular ones by a ‘higher power’. Whatever the experience, they bring me moments of stillness and contemplation and I would really recommend them.
Dancing my ass off
During my time in Vancouver, Nadine and I went to an ecstatic dance party – we spent a good few hours just getting in tune with some primal beats and danced like warrior princesses surrounded by a bunch of hippies. In this environment, my mind went quiet as I concentrated on just moving my body to the beat. I didn’t care what I looked like, paying no heed to the conventions of what dancing should look like. It was liberating, breathtaking and during the hours we were there I felt connected to all those around me and to the greater universe.
During part of my holiday in Canada, I took an early morning walk through the forest by myself. I came across a beautiful stream and felt compelled to sing my heart out.
I sang some old Christian songs – not to their God but to marvel in the energy that had brought the beautiful surroundings into bring – and also belted out a few Disney songs, because that’s my jam.
I felt so free and content and at one with the world in these moments (and I probably also scared away all the bears!) but it was wonderful and reminded me that singing for singing sake brings me such a sense of wellbeing and tranquility
There’s something so relaxing about having my hands busy and getting into the flow of creating. Be it baking, drawing, sewing, gardening – the act of creating makes all my thoughts and worries float out of my mind. It’s such a lovely practice and when I really get into a project, I feel truly at peace and find greater stillness in my life.
It’s a simple one, but one I don’t do enough of… I struggle so much to get into an exercise routine as so often I judge my exercise as lacking unless I’ve done ‘enough‘ of it for the ‘right‘ amount of time and at the ‘right‘ pace. Crazy, I know! I know something needs to shift with this though, because exercise is really good for me and I feel alive and well when I’m frequently adding it into my life.