Seeking to live our lives mindfully offers many rewards. Without doubt, we are offered opportunities to feel calmer and more centred. It also offers opportunities for self-discovery and by extension, in the quiet times when we seek solitude.Read More
But somewhere lurking just below the surface of this outward calm, there is a little storm brewing. Inwardly I can feel my inner child struggling with the anxiety of exposure, for exposure is surely what will happen as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow.Read More
I want to let myself fly! Let myself be free! Let myself be in my own truth as I remain steady within myself! This inner child of mine wants to be free, she wants to explore life, she wants to express herself and be creative and she wants to make her own rules and see what works for her. She’s tired of trying to be perfect and playing to everyone else’s rules.Read More
Your inner child is that part of you that has always existed, it has experienced all of you, the fun times and the challenging times. She knows your innermost secrets and is a gateway to really knowing yourself.Read More
I have often wondered what has brought me to my passion for mindfulness and mindful living. I often say it is my own exploration into spirituality that has brought me to it but it doesn’t really explain why that is an important passion to even have.
Recently I have come to realise more fully that mindfulness is the avenue for opening up space in our lives as we slow it down and become more purposeful and aware of what we are doing so we are open for what life is really about, what are own particular purpose for being here is.
Mindfulness is purposefully going about our daily lives in a calm, uncluttered state, without the constant need to be doing, but rather making time and appreciating the ‘being’ instead. There are times when life is so busy that it’s hard but we can also easily lose sight of the need for any reflective, quiet time unless we make a purposeful effort to seek it. By making mindfulness a priority then we are consciously opening ourselves to the possibilities that surround us, the subliminal messages that show us the way forward to what we are seeking. So many people are seeking, they often are looking in the wrong places. They are looking in material possessions as their answer or in adrenalin as their answer whilst ignoring what is often sitting right under their noses. Finding what is under our noses can be found through self-reflection and listening to our intuition, and mindfulness is a vehicle for finding it.
We can easily become totally overwhelmed by the day to day trial of what we call living and forget, in the process, the whole big picture of our lives. It is easy to lose our trust in our own perspective and intuition if we are constantly running to everyone else’s agenda. If we try to run our own agenda perhaps in timeframe and priority then we are far more able to make decisions and actions that more whole-heartedly and honestly reflect ourselves and it is in doing this that we discover ourselves and our own true nature and this then gives us clues and shows us the way to discover why we are here and what our purpose is.
This then is why children and mindfulness are such an important combination. It seems, very few of us, from my generation spent or indeed were encouraged to learn very much about our true nature and purpose in life. If we as caregivers can install the need for mindfulness then a generation will be positively affected to make time for self-reflection and with it will come the practice to trust oneself and ones’ abilities, to fathom our gifts and what makes us contented and fulfilled. These are the signposts to seeking our true purpose for being here. It seems to me that much heartache can be at least reduced if not alleviated by seeking ourselves through this process.
Some of our recent blog posts have reflected on the need for self-reflection for all of us, adults and children alike and how we might make that become a reality in our lives. You can read about it here and here. One of the ways that really helps me to re-ground and allow myself the space to reflect is when I read a spiritual book and this week I’m sharing one that really brings the two themes together – Letting Go, The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins., Ph.D.
This book is a very useful part of self-reflection – it gives very practical advice on how to deal with the emotional issues that arise during self-reflection. Hawkins has developed a mechanism he simply and aptly calls, ‘Letting go’. That is exactly what it is – simply letting go of our attachment to the emotions that arise, not in an intellectual way but rather in an emotional way, freed from judgement and self-reproach, free from the judgement of others and instead full of acceptance of life and how things are at the moment.
‘Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender provides a roadmap to a freer life for anyone who is willing to make the trip.’ Fran Grace
So this is the crux of Dr David Hawkin’stechnique to ‘let go.’
- Firstly we need to find the head space to connect with ourselves to allow emotions to arise, honestly and deeply.
- We need to allow ourselves to feel where the painful emotion lives, maybe it’s your heart, maybe it’s deep in your belly, your shoulders or some other place.
- We need to accept that emotion without judgement, realise it is real that it lives in a physical reality and not an intellectual one, ‘without wanting to make it different or do anything about it… the technique is to be with the feeling and surrender all efforts to modify it in any way.’ 1.
- Allow it to stay for as long as it wants.
- When you let go of your resistance to feeling the emotion, then it will become less and less intense.
That’s the technique in a nutshell but the book is beautifully and simply written and explores issues like why we have resistance to accepting the feelings of our emotions as well as deeper reflections on various emotions and how they affect us like apathy and depression, grief, fear, desire, anger, pride, courage, acceptance, love, peace. It also delves into questions of stress reduction and scientific proof of this method to name just a few of the issue explored.
So looking at how simple this technique is for dealing with emotional stress, as adults we can teach it to the children in our lives if we are keen to inspire them to lead stress-free and contented lives. I wish it was a technique I had learned earlier in my own life and I rejoice it’s one my young adult children use to help them deal with issues that arise in their own lives. I believe freedom from the carrying of emotional issues will help us be brave enough to lead the lives we want to live. As a parent that is my foremost wish for my children.
1. Letting Go, The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins., Ph.D., page 20
I saw a photo on Instagram this morning that inspired me – arms outstretch towards the camera and the backdrop the setting sun over mountains and valleys with the caption, ‘Grateful Sundays’!
It begged me to ask myself how often I think to be grateful! Not enough I have to admit but when I am in that space things change in my whole physiology. I feel my shoulders drop, my heart-space swell and a feeling of well-being encompasses me. The crazy thing is, it’s easy to think of things to be grateful for in your life if you just choose to pay attention and to take a moment to notice. It is part of one of my favourite themes of living mindfully and it so helps us to embrace the present moment in our lives.
There are so many things to be grateful for – a list may on simple terms include the beauty around us, the people in our lives, the opportunities we are given, even the food in our bellies and the roofs over our head. These and many others are worthy of our gratitude and are most likely an excellent place to start to embrace gratitude. It is also an easy way to bring the concept into the lives of the children in your lives and is very much within children’s understanding to embrace gratefulness and the opportunity to consider and express it can be scheduled into anyone’s daily life as easily as can tennis practice. The question is simply, ‘What do you have to be thankful for?”
Pay attention to being grateful and over time it’s possible to view all experiences as positive. With a purposeful intention, being grateful can be a constant state of mind, whereby we can embrace everything that happens to us as something to be grateful for. I set out to look at that version myself and this is what I came up with and I invite you to so the same in your own lives.
What do I have to be grateful for?
My opportunities for self-expression just like this one
Those who love and support me
My urge to continue on a path of self-discovery
My interest in universal discovery of the spiritual realm
Opportunities to discover what touches my heart
Roles I’ve earlier played and experiences I’ve had that taught me what I needed to know to embrace how I currently am, be they wounds or joy, it was all part of my life journey that taught me what I needed to know to grow.
Considering being grateful puts our lives in perspective, acknowledging that we are not alone but are part of a much bigger universe and that we are all in this together. I love the way it encourages us to be less self-obsessed as we can acknowledge the greatness of the universe and the existence of a universal plan. Mostly I love the way being grateful reminds us to be in the present moment, really paying attention to our lives and the rewards within it and that which is inherent to our own particular version of living. It brings comfort and satisfaction and dismisses negativity and encourages positivity in our lives. It’s part of my plan to try harder to be grateful more consistently!
I recently wrote about the satisfaction of leading a life that eflects being my real self. This is a follow-up that explores some ways of getting there, around firstly finding who that real you may be. This is written from my own personal point of view and embraces what I know for myself to be true for me – perhaps indulgent, definitely cathartic and hopefully helpful to anyone who seeks to find it in themselves.
I used to live a very busy life with loads of commitments – I raised three children, worked in the family business, ran a very busy household and generally helped a wide range of people to achieve their goals whilst not focusing very much on my own. I found I wasn’t living a life that was supporting being true to my real self. I know that has changed for me now and I feel grateful.
My introduction to finding my real self began when I learned to meditate ten years ago. I adopted a regular twice daily, twenty-minute session of Transcendental Meditation that brought me into silence with myself. If now I miss a session I feel the difference! It gives me opportunities to feel connected with myself and every day I am thankful for the opportunity I received. It supports the notion that to find the real you, you must make space, time and energy within yourself to find that person.
There are a variety of ways to make space in your life to find the real you but all begin with the personal desire to find it. One way is to look at your level of commitments and consider ways of reducing them or modifying or sharing them? Helpful questions may be, ‘How is my commitment level contributing to me living my life as the person I really am?” ‘What are some commitments I can make to myself to help me make space to find the real me?”
You can challenge yourself to look at not only the level of commitment but also the ways you spend your time. Clearly, If you spend a lot of time on social media, you will be using up your time and headspace to distract yourself from time to be alone and to self-discover. I’m not suggesting we dump the lot and live a hermetic existence, I’m suggesting instead that we actively assess the time spent there and if reducing it may give greater opportunities to seek the real you and to get know yourself.
Contrast your media time with the amount of time you spend in nature, one of the best ways I know to clear your headspace, connect with yourself and your senses and to enjoy the present moment. When there is space and peace, self-connection can arise quite naturally.
The challenge then is to open up to hearing what your intuition tells you, to embrace and accept what you find and ultimately to be brave enough to face what arises and to perhaps seek help to find ways to implement your discoveries into your life.
It starts for me with self-love, the granting of permission to myself that I am worth the effort, my needs are important and I am deserving of the joy and rewards that living a life closer to reflecting my true self can bring. A level of trust is needed here to not only embrace what you have found but to tell your loved ones what you have found and to seek their acceptance of your need to more fully embrace the real you. Perhaps you may need a little or a very large shift in surrounding yourself with people who support your right to more fully be the real you.
I have personally found when I am living a life that reflects the real me, it seems to incorporate some passion that whilst not necessarily taking over my life, some time spent there allows me to enjoy a sense of loss of awareness of time, a feeling of deep contentment, a peace in my heart. It is different of course for everyone but for me, it mostly centers around writing and being generally creative.
It also involves using my own power to incorporate it into my life. A challenge yes, but a rewarding one! As a parent, it is inspiring to remember that we always lead by example with our children and no matter what age, they will be encouraged to more fully be themselves in their own lives if they are witness to their parents being brave enough to live their own.
If you’re reading this blog then I think we are in agreement that some more mindfulness in our lives is a good thing. I was privileged to see how that can happen in real life a few nights ago when my daughter, Louise and I joined a large crowd to attend an evening with Eckhart Tolle at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
There is no hype that surrounds this genuine man – he simply sits on a chair and talks! His only acknowledgment of technology is the presence of two large screens behind him on either side that allows his audience to interact more fully with him. But there is no sideshow of a moving background, only a true representation of a simple man sitting and sharing his thoughts.
There is no gesticulating, no walking up and down the stage or on a centre catwalk, no raised voice to make a particular point. It is a bland delivery for those used to the enhancement of modern technology but one that is truly engaging and shows a man living his own truth, showing the world how to be present and being entertaining at the same time.
This realisation led my daughter and I to ponder afterward how one can sit still for 2 hours and engage an audience simply by speaking – did he actually prepare for it, how does he remember it all if he does or does he simply let whatever wants to come up, come up? I loved Louise’s summary when she said, ‘For two hours he allows the presence to flow through him.’ I think that is the essence not only of his presentation but also to the heart of his message. It is possible to engage not only others but also yourself if you are really being in the moment. Then you are not relying on outside distractions and not paying attention to that debilitating voice in your head, insisting you need to prove yourself over and over when engaging with others.
He made many memorable points but there were a couple that I found especially relevant and easy to remember and use to encourage and practice, not only for ourselves but for our children and all our family members.
I loved this line, ‘In the doing remember to bring in the being’. We all have commitments and for some of us, there are many but we can still use those times to be present in the moment, to not be in our heads focusing on past events or ones yet to come but instead to be mindful of focusing our attention on what we are currently doing.
He’s very passionate about this one, ‘Time without social media is essential.’ It’s one that can take over our lives, one that is important to remember and for our children as well as ourselves. It is easy to distract ourselves from life by engaging in what we deem as incredibly important messages, posts, clips etc rather than to give ourselves the opportunity to ‘be’ and to do nothing at all!
His challenge was to be that person who can happily sit without technology supporting us. It used to happen before technology became so easily available ‘round the clock’, people used to sit and just be but now it is rare to see people without the mandatory phone in their hands if they are required to wait in a queue, for example.
He explained how his love of being in nature and the expansiveness it offers to our thinking can be coupled with the notion of ‘no technology’ to be more present in our lives. He encouraged us to use time in nature to begin the process of being with ourselves, rather than with our phones. He says it is the easiest way to be present – look at the sky, those few seconds of wonder can be the start of being in the present, do it more often and for longer and it will become part of your being. Then, over time, challenge yourself by moving into a busier location and apply the same principles – just sit and look around you, take in your surroundings, acknowledge the noise but don’t let it take you over. You will find over time that presence is possible wherever you are and no matter how challenging the surroundings.
I needed to look no further that Eckhart Tolle himself to believe what he says is true – he is a living personification of his principles and those of you who have read my past blogs will know that I am inspired by people who are brave enough to live their own truth and he is one of those people for sure.
He is not only a world-renowned speaker whose sessions are numerous on UTube but also a prolific writer. I’m going back to re-read a couple of my favourites, ‘The Power of Now’ and ‘A New Earth’ and I invite you to join me in exploring his wisdom but also his immense personal portrayal of living in the present.
The idea of truly living your own truth has been on my mind a lot lately! Many ‘Big Picture’ changes have happened in my life over the last 12 months and I know part of it is because I more than ever before want to live and make choices that are a reflection of who I really am. From my own perspective I know I spent a good part of my life living a version of myself, living a number of roles that in many ways had far more to do with keeping everyone else happy than with fulfilling my own life purpose and interests. As a woman of my generation that is not unusual.
It is an interesting thought to explore in terms of parenting as our children can be very different from us in temperament and interests. As parents, we can find ourselves walking a fine line between encouraging children into expectations of how we want them to be and behaviours that we find appealing or even comforting at the extreme and the other side that is encouraging them to find an environment that is appealing and fulfilling and comfortable for them.
Currently, I’m reading a wonderful book, Women Who Run with the Wolves. In one of the chapters the author, Clarissa Pinkola Estes uses the story of women as seals, who shed their skin and come out from time to time to play, to make her point. During one of these outings of shedding the skin, one of the women has her skin stolen by a man who convinces her to abandon her natural ways and come and live with him as he promises to protect her and look after her if she chooses him. She agrees and for a while, all is well but after a period of time she seeks her original skin and to return to her seal life as she feels withered and lost, losing her energy and vitality. I won’t finish the story for you as it is a book well worth reading and one I hope you will read but the point is if we are not prepared to live our own truth and revel in it then we are really living as a shadow of ourselves and the people we attract into our lives are those who are attracted to our false self, not our real self. The hope of life being ultimately fulfilling seems remote if lived under those conditions.
This, of course, brings up parenting challenges as we walk the line between encouraging the development of the real nature of our children or encouraging the version we find more socially acceptable. I have an unproven theory that if more of us were to be our real selves then more of us would be more contented as we would feel more self-fulfilled. Instead of swimming upstream against the current we could more leisurely go with the flow of our lives offering more opportunities for genuine contentment and fellowship with others who more comfortably fit with us. But if we aren’t brave enough to be our real ourselves or even look for that person and encourage our children to do the same then we and they will most likely continue to be swimming upstream against the natural flow and find it difficult to make connections with themselves and with those who are really part of their tribe. To find ourselves and our tribe we must first be prepared to open up to who we really are.
I recently have made opportunities in my life for a lot of self-reflection with and without guidance and support. The number one issue that keeps arising is my failure, until this point in my life to really feel I was living my own life. I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way, ones I needed to experience from in order to learn but I am now feeling my authentic self rising more and more often and it feels powerful and satisfying and brings me happiness. Opening up to your real self can be a huge challenge, it isn’t always comfortable to be the person who isn’t agreeing with everything for the comfort of others and there are many others with a vested interest in you remaining the person who fits in, who doesn’t challenge the status quo who just does what is expected of her. And the best thing is this opening up to your self is part of a continuum, start with wherever you feel comfortable and take it as slowly or quickly as you like. The speed of your journey of self-discovery is part of acknowledging your real self as well after all.