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How taking the Slow Road with timeless mindfulness, self-care and healing rituals can help give your “wisdom-nose” the time and space that it needs to work its magic. When you draw on your innate wisdom, it becomes easier to make authentic choices and to follow your most important dreams.
Have You Been Feeling Increasingly Anxious, Stressed Or Strangely Restless Lately?
If you have been increasingly impulsive, depressed, anxious or restless you are probably operating unconsciously or with a lack of awareness. You may have lost touch with your dreams or feel ungrounded. If what you’d rather feel is awake, alert, curious, settled and flexible, you have a lot to gain from the simple practices below.
Maybe you have reached a crossroads in your life, those often difficult and emotional crossroads we all reach at some stage in life….
We Are Human “Beings”, Not “Doings”
First and foremost, though, remember that we are human beings, not human doings. This means it’s actually less about what you do, and more about simply being. Not sure what “being” looks like or means? Think calm, aware and mindful. Each of these rituals is designed to ease you back into a calm space and help you distance yourself from any pressure to constantly keep busy.
Deepak Chopra, in What Are You Hungry For?, describes mindfulness as “a simple way to tune in to your brain, which is sending you four kinds of messages: sensations, images, feelings and thoughts (SIFT)”. Learning how to understand these messages and their meaning helps you live with mindful awareness. To get started, try the six steps that follow.
1) Schedule In Some Quiet Time For Rejuvenating Your Soul
Unschedule yourself. Or, more importantly, schedule time “off the clock”. Whether it’s five minutes or an hour daily or half a day on the weekend, keep empty space in your calendar and your life.
Does The Thought Of Not Doing Terrify You?…
You might unconsciously be afraid of empty space. Time alone or with nothing to do can seem daunting, especially at first. What will you do? How will you manage? it’s interesting to wonder why spending time alone may trigger such worry.
What might you be afraid of? What truths might you no longer be able to ignore when you have just yourself for company? This is the power of time alone — it nudges you into a deeper and more honest relationship with yourself.
Solitude Can Be A Catalyst For Innovation
High-quality time alone is a balm to your soul.
In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain notes that solitude can be a catalyst to innovation”.
Time alone can help you transform your life, It leads to fresh ideas which, in turn, prompt changes in behavior. Voila! After regular periods of time alone, you’ll clarify your priorities and shift life accordingly.
Reading Quiet was a revelation for me. I first read Susan’s seminal work on the power of introverts and why introverts react to life as they do 4 years ago now. For the first time I truly understood why I had a great deal of difficulty being in large groups of people: I felt scrambled and tired, love being with 1 or 2 close friends for a close and deep connection, why down time is so important, even right down to texture.
As I devoured Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, I realized I was honored and lucky enough to be part of a unique group of people, introverts, also know as HSP’s or highly sensitive people. But, thats a whole other topic isn’t it and I am sure many readers of Chemical Free Living are introverts….
Quiet Alone Time Is Also One Secret To Creativity…
Virginia Woolf wrote, “It is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.” To fully enjoy quiet time, you might need to push back on the perceived status of being busy and allow yourself to do or commit to less.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, writing in 1955, said, “It is a difficult Lesson to Learn today: to leave one’s friends and family and deliberately practise the art of solitude for an hour or a day or a week.” She continues, “And yet, once it is done, I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before.”
Lindbergh was writing more than 60 years ago in her enduring classic, Gift from the Sea. In a time before mobile phones and the Internet, she wrote of how hard it was to get away but highlighted the value of doing so. This can only be even more important today. “When one is a stranger to oneself, then one is estranged from others, too,”
Lindbergh writes. “If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.” And, “Only when one is connected to one’s own core is one connected to others, I am beginning to discover. And, for me, the core, the inner spring, can best be re-found through solitude.”
2) Walk Your Way Forward Into Living An Authentic Life
Mystics, creative people and gurus throughout the ages praise the value of a walk. This isn’t the kind of walk you take when you want to work out, but rather the kind of walk that soothes your spirit and lets unknown answers bubble up from deep within. It’s a walk of wonder, somewhere naturally uplifting, where you Let your mind roam while your body settles into a comfortable rhythm.
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, states, –Walking had an added benefit: it helped me think.
Nietzsche wrote, ‘All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking,’ and his observation is backed up by science: exercise-induced brain chemicals help people think clearly. In fact, just stepping outside clarifies thinking and boosts energy.
Many times, I’d guiltily leave my desk to take a break, and while I was walking along the road with the dogs to get the mail, I’d get some useful insight that had eluded me while I was being virtuously diligent.
Where Does Inspiration Spring From
Inspiration of all kinds — for life, a meaningful project or even around the best course of action — emerges as you move your body and free your mind. Julia Cameron, author of The Right to Write, says, “My body, which carries a knowledge deeper than my mind, has answers for me as an artist and as a person. When I have a shock, I walk to metabolise it.
Walking, seeking only to move and in moving ‘move’ something through, I often come to an entirely unexpected idea.– Cameron also notes, “If we are only half in our bodies, we are only half in our truth. We must allow ourselves to be with the knowing that our body has to offer.”
Walking is a simple ritual that relaxes the body, energizes the mind and helps encourage your spirit to speak its truth to you.
Inspiration of all kinds — for life, a meaningful project or even around the best course of action — emerges as you move your body and free your mind.
Your Body Is A Temple
Nurturing your body instantly helps bring your awareness into the present. One simple tip often recommended by naturopaths is to start your day by squeezing the juice of half a Lemon into a glass of warm (not hot) water. Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is good for energy, your immune system and general healing. This combination also helps stimulate digestion, an area so often under stress in a fast-paced modern life that often entails eating on the go.
Since your body is the temple of your soul, keeping it in good condition provides a vital vessel through which your dreams and desires can manifest. You probably know what you should do to nourish your body, from eating foods that satisfy you to exercising regularly. But with so many different theories about what to eat, when and why, along with contradictory information about the best kinds of exercise, it can all seem too confusing to manage.
Simple Starting Points, Keep It Easy Or It Becomes Too Hard
Deepak Chopra suggests simple starting points. He invites you to “favor lighter foods, the fresher and more natural the better”. This means “adding more salads, more fruits and vegetables, and smaller portions”. Easy substitutions, such as swapping a serving of carbs such as rice for vegetables or reducing the size of your meals, are a great place to start.
Lose Your Self In Pursuits You Love
Not literally, but figuratively. The power of play or cultivating a hobby is that you become so engrossed in what you’re doing you lose track of time. When playing, you are truly in the moment and focused on the present.
In her seminal work on creativity, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron asks each student to commit to a weekly artist date. “An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness,” she writes. “In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a playdate that you preplan and defend against all interlopers.”
Planning regular time in your busy schedule for your mindfulness and self-care rituals is like a promise to your soul.
What Are Your Hobbies?
If you have a hobby you love but have neglected, restart it. Hobbies can be anything but they are usually something you do for pleasure rather than for a purpose. It can be as simple as cooking, gardening, organising or scrapbooking.
It might involve taking a class around a typical hobby like writing, painting or music. It could be fiddling with gadgets, reading for pleasure or seeing movies in a particular genre. You might take yourself out to see an exhibition, or visit the Local art-supply shop or book store for inspiration. Pick something you love and make a weekly date to enjoy more of it.
Planning Your Happiness- You Are Worth It
Planning regular time in your busy schedule for your mindfulness and self-care rituals is like a promise to your soul. It’s a contract between you and your inner self that you will give your soul regular time to catch your attention and share its messages with you. This creates calm, as you know you have periods in your week where you can reflect, mull things over and integrate events.
When you plan, you also have something positive to look forward to. This anticipation, in turn, boosts happiness, as anticipation is the first of four stages in evoking and creating happiness. Scheduling things in advance stimulates the pleasure of expectation. What are the other stages of happiness? According to Gretchen Rubin, they are anticipating the event itself, savoring something while it happens, expressing your happiness about what happened and then recalling that happy event after the fact.
Staying Connected Is Powerful Stuff
The ancient Greeks had six different words for love, including philia, a word for the Love between friends. This was considered a more important kind of love than even eros, the love of passion and intimacy. This lineage shows how long friendship has been considered important, especially for a well-rounded life.
Interacting with others helps you move out of your head and into the present. Chatting to a friend — over coffee, while out walking or when sharing a meal — gives you a chance to discuss, decipher and digest recent events. Time with a friend can be better than therapy.
As you consider the different ways in which you’d like to relax, include regular social time. Make it a habit for extra impact, like meeting a friend at a set time or place each week or month. Along the way, you might find a friend is as interested in catching up as you are, but equally uncertain about whether you have the time or desire. Make it easy for both of you by taking the initiative.
What Can You Do To Slow Down Today- To Get Back In Touch With The Authentic You?
As you slow down and let your wisdom-nose speak to you, be prepared for changes. They might begin slowly, as you start to question things you previously believed to be true. You might feel calm, inspired to make a bold choice or reconnect with a forgotten dream. Your only purpose is to follow the breadcrumbs, the messages and clues that come to you in your quiet moments, and to let the insight of your wisdom-nose guide your choices.