It has been a long time since I have written a blog post. Life has become very busy and I don’t know how it is September already! At the moment there are many challenging things going on from the war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis, the rise in Covid cases again, the climate crisis etc. It is easy for me to go back to my “worry about everything nature”. Making time to appreciate autumn and the changes all around me is really helping.
There are many things that I cannot control and therefore I can choose to not worry about them. How? By reminding myself that worrying doesn’t help anyone, least of all myself and by focusing on things I can control instead.
“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” Erma Bombeck
I am choosing to really be present in nature at the moment. It is tremendously grounding for me. The Autumn is the perfect time as there are so many changes and they happen every day. The leaves changing colour and falling from the trees. The unsettled weather, raining heavily one minute and bright blue skies the next. The other day there was a beautiful rainbow that took my breath away.
Make time to get outside and be really present. Feel the wind or cooler air on your face. Be aware of your feet connecting with the ground. Acknowledge the changes happening all around you. See which trees are bare and which ones the leaves are still on and changing colour each day.
Notice the small things that you can control e.g. what you consume. Choosing nourishing, warming food at this time of year is also helpful. Stews, soups and curries make me feel grounded in my body. Be very careful about the time you spend on social media, which accounts you follow etc. Let go of anything that doesn’t make you feel good. Seek out the good things – inspiring or helpful people or stories. Don’t watch the news especially before bedtime.
Daily tapping really helps me and stops me going into worry mode. I make sure I make time for this and for regular exercise including walking/jogging, yoga and Qi Gong.
I love to tap using the phrases “I am safe” and “I am grounded in my body”. Both of which help me feel safe and grounded in my body and stop me ruminating.
If you would like to learn how to tap you can get in touch with me or start here.
I hope that you have managed to avoid Covid. Unfortunately I caught it back in September. My husband caught it first and we took every precaution we could for me not to catch it (separate rooms, face masks, distancing, lots of cleaning and sanitising!). I was really pissed off that I caught it when I tried so hard not to. Lots of other people I know or have heard of didn’t catch it off their partners or children even when they didn’t do any of those things.
I think some people just won’t catch it. Lucky them! Thankfully neither my husband nor I were too ill. We both were very fatigued and this did seem to last a good few weeks. We’d both been double vaccinated too. I was rather cautious about having the vaccine but was so glad I did. Others I know ended up in hospital and suffered much more. Several people I know have been suffering from long Covid.
The fatigue that I am talking about here though is the general fatigue from living through a global pandemic that has gone on for over 2 years! We all thought Covid would be around for a few weeks and that would be it. How wrong could we be? It certainly took it’s toll on me and lots of other people.
In the UK all restrictions have now been removed and life is “back to normal”. But there remains a lot of worry and anxiety for many people. All those who are vulnerable or have an existing illness, those who have not been vaccinated and those still suffering from long Covid.
Do we still wear a mask and wash our hands more often? I personally am continuing to wear a mask in shops or where there are high volumes of people. I am happy to wear a mask for clients if they wish and am a regular hand washer anyway.
I believe we need to do what we feel is right and what we are comfortable with. I hope that people can respect other peoples choice! It is a very personal thing and will very much depend on your experience with the virus. Many people are now having to isolate and restrict their lives because the virus has not gone away and they need to stay safe.
I hope that if you are still worried or anxious that you can get some help. I am here to help anyone I can with EFT, Mindfulness or Reiki. Do be in touch if you’d like some help.
This past year has been challenging to say the least! We have all had many changes thrust upon us. Changes most of us would never have chosen ourselves. The changes keep on coming and we have to adapt. If we resist we can feel even more anxious and stressed. Some changes are harder to accept than others. We can feel stuck and worry about what we can and can’t do.
I would highly recommend regular EFT or Tapping. During these uncertain times I have found myself tapping more and more to cope with all the changes. I find changes unsettling at the best of times – even when they are changes I want to make! If you find changes challenging then it is really important to acknowledge this and do something to help yourself.
Here’s some of the words I have used in my tapping. You might find them useful too:
Even though I can’t keep up with all these changes, I accept my feelings anyway
Even though I have had enough of covid and all these changes, I accept myself
Even though I’m not sure what I am allowed to do any more, I acknowledge how I feel
Even though it’s so confusing with all these different rules in different areas of the country, I’m ok
Even though I want to get back to normal, it’s still feeling very different and I love and accept myself
Even though I’m frustrated with all these constant changes, I accept myself
Even though I find changes really hard, I’m doing my best and I’m ok
If any of these resonate, then do some full tapping rounds on see what comes up for you. Tap any time you feel anxious, stressed or triggered by a change. (If you’re not sure how, check out my instructions here).
“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”
I am looking forward to less changes being forced upon me and having more autonomy again. In the meantime I will keep tapping and practising my self-care. This includes daily meditation, energy work (Qi Gong / Reiki / Donna Eden’s daily energy routine) as well as tapping.
I find walking in nature to be very comforting and grounding too. Changes happen all the time in nature but at a pace that I find more acceptable! I love to stop and notice things that we can easily miss when we are walking faster or are distracted. Today I paused under a favourite oak tree and noticed the moss on the bark and the insects going about their business. I naturally took some slower deeper breaths and felt so much better.
I am really grateful that I can get out into nature every day. Even if you live in the city, you can find nature in a window box, park or even some herbs on your window cill. I hope you find the time to connect with nature in some way. It can be so helpful slowing down our pace, disconnecting us from technology and bringing us to the present moment.
“Practice the art of patience for nature never acts in haste.”
If you are struggling with all the changes then do drop me an email and I would love to help you.
When we meditate it is very natural for our minds to be busy. It’s what minds do! The aim isn’t to empty the mind of thoughts (it’s impossible). The aim is to not be controlled by our thoughts. To recognise the pattern of our thoughts and be able to make choices. So if the focus of our meditation is our breath, then when we notice our mind is thinking, planning, worrying etc, we gently bring our focus back to our breath. We may need to do this hundreds of times.
I like to use the metaphor of our mind being the sky and our thoughts the clouds. The sky is always blue, sometimes there are little fluffy white clouds and sometimes the sky is dark with storm clouds.
The key is to observe the clouds (thoughts) and know that you are the sky. With practice it gets easier to observe your thoughts, notice the patterns of thoughts and return back to your focus (e.g. the breath). Some days our mind will be very busy, filled with lots of thoughts, worries etc. We may think our meditation has been no good if we are constantly bringing our awareness back from our thoughts. There is no good or bad meditation though. Some days our minds will be quieter and some days it will be busier. So let go of the idea of good or bad and know that if you are practicing you are doing your best in that moment.
Let Go of Expectation
Another key is to let go of expectation. Do not expect to achieve a particular state (e.g. feeling relaxed or calm). Practice with openness and curiosity. Let whatever comes up, come up. Practice with kindness, compassion and non-judgement. If we expect a certain state or feeling we may feel disappointed if it doesn’t happen. If we’re open and curious, then we can just be present with whatever arises.
Each week in my Mindfulness Class I share some mindful poetry and quotes. I have been asked to share them so thought I would share them here for you to enjoy too. These are some of my personal favourites.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
By Rumi (translation by Coleman Barks)
Stress hooks its claws into the brain creating false truths and unreal realities to confuse, to assault, to breaking point There’s no refuge in the past or future The only answer? Breathe.
When thoughts spiral out of control like a jet plane on a fatal collision course there’s no respite and no saving grace. When even sleep becomes a banned destination, look to the place of salvation. Breathe.
Anxiety can build and surge in a flood overwhelming rational ideas and calm. Depression throws its hooks into the mind and drags thoughts into the mud. The perfect antidote? Breathe.
Focus. Not on the unchangeable past or on the unknown mist of the future but on the now. The moment. Your breath. Let it bring the calm that’s desperately needed. The final answer? Breathe.
By Alistair HMP Dumfreis
Thanking a Monkey
There’s a monkey in my mind swinging on a trapeze, reaching back to the past or leaning into the future, never standing still.
Sometimes I want to kill that monkey, shoot it square between the eyes so I won’t have to think anymore or feel the pain of worry.
But today I thanked her and she jumped down straight into my lap, trapeze still swinging as we sat still.
By Kaveri Patel
Do not try to save the whole world or do anything grandiose. Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life and wait there patiently, until the song that is your life falls into your own cupped hands and you recognize and greet it. Only then will you know how to give yourself to this world so worth of rescue.
By Martha Postlewaite
Enough. These few words are enough. If not these words, this breath. If not this breath, this sitting here. This opening to the life We have refused again and again Until now. Until now.
By David Whyte
Go Among Trees and Sit Still
I go among trees and sit still. All my stirring becomes quiet Around me like circles on water. My tasks lie in their places Where I left them, asleep like cattle…
Then what I am afraid of comes. I live for a while in its sight. What I fear in it leaves it, And the fear of it leaves me. It sings, and I hear its song.
By Wendell Berry
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this place around you, If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches are the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows Where you are. You must let it find you.
By David Wagoner
Love After Love
The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.
By Derek Walcott
Dear you, You who always have so many things to do so many places to be your mind spinning like fan blades at high speed each moment always a blur because you’re never still.
I know you’re tired. I also know it’s not your fault. The constant brain-buzz is like a swarm of bees threatening to sting if you close your eyes. You’ve forgotten something again. You need to prepare for that or else. You should have done that differently.
What if you closed your eyes? Would the world fall apart without you? Or would your mind become the open sky flock of thoughts flying across the sunrise as you just watched and smiled.
By Kaveri Patel
The Peace of Wild Things (excerpt)
When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For the time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
By Wendell Berry
The Wonder Is
The washing never gets done. The furnace never gets heated. Books never get read. Life is never completed. Life is like a ball which one must continually catch and hit so that it won’t fall. When the fence is repaired at one end, it collapses at the other. The roof leaks, the kitchen door won’t close, there are cracks in the foundation, the torn knees of children’s pants … One can’t keep everything in mind. The wonder is that beside all this one can notice the spring which is so full of everything continuing in all directions – into evening clouds, into the redwing’s song and into every drop of dew on every blade of grass in the meadow, as far as the eye can see, into the dusk.
By Jaan Kaplinski (Translated from Estonian by Jaan Kaplinski, Sam Hamill and Riina Tamm)
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this mindful poetry collection. Let me know if your favourites too. Louise
I have found that recently I have been feeling really fed up of the lockdown and Covid-19. The weather has been pretty awful and I haven’t felt like walking as much as I usually do. I have been struggling to keep on keeping on!
There are lots of things in my toolkit as it were that I know that can help me, but sometimes you just have to admit that the situation is pretty shit and that it’s ok to not be ok.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
It’s ok to admit that you are struggling. We all suffer at times. We all need help at times. I have had extra hugs off my husband and taken some time out to just let myself BE. I let myself have a good cry and felt better afterwards. If you are feeling like this then now is the time to increase your self-care.
For me, being in nature is deeply important. I find such comfort and solace being surrounded by trees. This week we’ve had a few sunny days with bright blue skies. I immediately felt so much better. I went for longer walks and really enjoyed listening to the birds, feeling the wind on my face, seeing the buds and catkins on the trees and the daffodils and crocuses.
This year more than ever Spring is such a welcome glimpse of hope. The light is at the end of the tunnel with the Government roadmap out of lockdown. I am really looking forward to seeing my family and friends again. I long to sit in a restaurant and enjoy a meal somebody else cooked!
I attended a Mindfulness retreat recently and we did a Mindfulness on nature practice. I loved this quote:
“Breathing in the earth is part of me, breathing out I am part of the earth.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
I think sometimes we forget that we are part of the earth. Spending some time quietly being in the woods really helped me remember that.
Here’s some ideas for getting the most out of spending time in nature:
Pay attention to the colours, shapes and textures of the plants, trees and flowers.
Listen carefully to the birds, wind and any other sounds you can hear.
Feel your feet on the ground and notice the different sensations as you walk on grass, paths, mud etc.
See if you can see things you haven’t noticed before or see things differently if you are walking the in the same place.
Ask For Help
Remember that it is ok to ask for help. Do not compare yourself with others. We all have different experiences and resources. You do not need to be learning a new language, skill or being creative. It’s ok if you are just managing to get out of bed and make it through the day.
If you would like some support, I offer Distance Reiki and online Mindfulness or EFT sessions.
Just drop me an email and I will be pleased to help.
Well this year has sure been a challenging one and I expect it will be a different Christmas. No-one could predict the global pandemic and how long it would go on for. We’ve been in and out of several lockdowns and had to contend with different tiers and family or friends out of sync with us.
What Have You Missed?
What have you missed the most? We might have missed our freedom, being able to eat out, go for a coffee or travel. I have missed my family and friends the most. I have also missed that spontaneity – just being able to pop out to the shop or for a coffee. At the moment I feel I need a checklist before I go out – mask, hand sanitiser etc. Several times I have had to turn around to go back and get a mask!
Appreciate What We Have
There are still lots of things we can appreciate. Our health, our jobs, our family and friends, nature, our home, garden etc. So spend a bit of time towards the end of this weird year, reflecting on what you do have and what you can be grateful for.
I know that this year our Christmas and new year celebration might not be what we want or planned. It will be different for sure! We can though, make the most of it and appreciate still being here to celebrate it. If we can’t physically see our family and friends at least we can see them via Zoom etc. So do your best to enjoy yourself and appreciate what you do have. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and hoping that 2021 will bring us all a better year!
I have some space to offer Distance Reiki, EFT or Mindfulness over the Christmas period, so if you need a bit of a boost, then please get in touch.
I am sure I am not alone in feeling even more frustrated with this lockdown. For a start it is out of sync with Wales, which means my family and friends there are now out of lockdown whilst here in England we have a few weeks to go. I am so missing the connection with my family and friends.
I have found that EFT or Tapping has really helped me vent my frustration and come to terms with all my emotions.
My tapping setup statements went like this…
Even though I’m really frustrated we’re locked down again, I accept my feelings anyway
Even though I really miss my family, I love and accept myself anyway
Even though I am frustrated I can’t see my family and they are now free again, I acknowledge and accept all my emotions
Even though I am desperate to see my family and really hope our lockdown doesn’t drag on longer, I accept all my feelings
Tune in to your feelings and tweak your setup statements to suit. Keep tapping until you feel better. You may need to repeat the tapping for many rounds.
After tapping I always feel much calmer and much less frustrated.
What the lockdowns have taught me is that it is the connection with friends and family that I really miss the most. Yes I would love to be able to go out for a meal or a coffee too but it’s the not being able to see people that bothers me the most.
Whilst I am grateful for Zoom and social media it is not the same as seeing people face to face. But it is better than nothing at the moment.
I am continuing to tap regularly and making time to do lots of self care. I am so grateful to get out walking in nature and to be reminded to let go by the trees! 🙂
I am pleased to announce that I can now see clients face to face again! Things will be a little different for awhile though. I have completed a Covid-19 awareness course and have created a policy and done a risk assessment.
I will be wearing appropriate PPE and doing my best to ensure your safety. Hand sanitiser will be required before you enter the treatment room. I will provide a face mask for you to wear if you wish. I will be thoroughly cleaning the treatment room in between clients.
I have changed my terms and conditions so that you won’t be charged for late cancellations if you or someone you live with (or have been in contact with) develop Covid-19 symptoms.
If I feel ill or have symptoms of COVlD-19, I will self-isolate immediately and not come in to work. I will reschedule your appointment and refund you if you have already paid.
I will be asking for payment in advance via BACS/PayPal or via card on the day, to avoid handling cash as much as possible.
At present, appointments are only available in Exeter at the Massage and Wellbeing Centre. I am waiting for further details on availability in Okehampton at the Ockment Centre.
Full details will be available when you book an appointment. If you have any questions or are not sure about something, please drop me an email. I understand that you might have concerns and I am happy to email or talk to you to help put you at ease.
I am still offering online sessions, but my discounted rates for Distance Reiki and EFT/Mindfulness sessions will come to an end at the end of July. So book now if you want to take advantage of this special offer before it is too late!
I am finding it quite difficult to cope with the changing rules of lockdown. How about you? For a start Wales are behind which means I still can’t see my family back home.
It is all very strange. In some places the social distancing still seems to be ok and others people are clearly way too close to each other. This weekend the pubs can open and who knows what will happen once everyone has had a few drinks!
We think things seem back to normal and yet we still have to stay 2m apart and we have to wash our hands or sanitise them more often. We can now have a social bubble and stay overnight in someone else’s home. It is all very confusing and I am sure that a lot of people will still be staying home and staying safe.
Firstly I would recommend taking some time to sit quietly and acknowledge how you feel. You could write down your thoughts and feelings. Then spend some time exploring them further. You could practice some self compassion and be mindful of the sensations in your body and the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing. Then you could do some tapping on anything that feels uncomfortable or upsetting.
I am very disappointed that as a Therapist we still can’t see clients. I am so looking forward to being able to do a face to face session again. Zoom has been brilliant for me personally keeping in touch with family and friends and also being able to see clients and teach my Mindfulness classes. But it is harder work and quite exhausting after awhile!
On that note, please sign and share this petition to Boris Johnson asking for Complementary Therapists to be allowed back to work. Thanks.
The theme for this year is kindness. With the current Corona virus pandemic we need kindness more than ever. For many of us our mental health may be the worst it has ever been. Others may be struggling for the first time. Then there are the people who are thriving.
Firstly, are you being kind to yourself? If not, why not? Try talking to yourself as if you were talking to your best friend. I think you will be less critical, more tolerant and kind. Please don’t beat yourself up if you are struggling. Acknowledge that this is a very challenging situation none of us have experienced before and that we are all just doing our best.
I feel that I am lucky because I am an introvert and need lots of time by myself to recover my energy. I had a conversation with my friend at the weekend and she is an extrovert and she really needs company to recharge and energise herself. She is finding lockdown harder because she really needs to be with people.
Please try not to judge yourself or others. We don’t know what other people are going through or having to deal with.
Check in with friends, family and colleagues. A text message, phone call or video call can all help someone feel less isolated and lonely. They may need more contact than they usually do. They may want to talk more than they usually do. Ask them how they really are. Check if they need anything or if you can do anything for them. Be open, curious and kind.
It is also good to check in with neighbours and even strangers. Maybe that person you see on your walk would appreciate a chat rather than the usual quick “hello”. I have been regularly checking in with my neighbours and sharing cakes with them. We received a couple of scones and cream on VE day from one lovely neighbour and it made my day!
“Kind hearts are the gardens, Kind thoughts are the roots, Kind words are the flowers, Kind deeds are the fruits, Take care of your garden And keep out the weeds, Fill it with sunshine, Kind words, and Kind deeds.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
How Can You Be Kinder?
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
How can you be more kind to yourself?
What kind things can you do for yourself?
How can you talk to yourself more kindly?
Spend some time answering these questions and then do them!
You can read a lot more on the topic by going to the Mental Health Foundation website. I also wrote this blog on the Corona virus.
I find that writing in a journal helps me a lot. Allowing myself to just write without judgement gets it out of my head. I can then tap on any issues that come up during the process. I love bright, colourful and arty journals.
I am loving Abby Wynne’s One Day at a Time journal. It has themes to explore each month and affirmations to keep me positive. As well as questions to help you reflect on how you feel.
I also have an inspirational journal. This is a bit like a vision board. I stick images, photos, quotes and anything else that I like the look of in it. It is really great when I am feeling a bit low or lacking motivation. I flick through it and immediately feel a bit better. Sometimes I open it randomly and it always falls open on a page that has a message I need to hear.
I update it on a regular basis (usually once a month). I spend some time going through my magazines (e.g. Psychologies, Planet Mindful) and rip out anything that catches my eye. Then I lay out the clippings on the table and decide how I will match them together. I like to have themes to my pages, e.g. nature, inspiration, motivation, confidence etc.
I then cut them to size and stick them in my journal. When I have finished I like to review my new pages. I will then flick through it and find something that really resonates with me in the moment. This could be a new page or an older one. I like to keep this journal out on show all the time so that I remember to pick it up and use it when I need to.
Quite often we have these tools and we forget about them. That is why a vision board or journal like this is handy to keep in view.
What is also helpful is writing a list of self care activities that you can do when you need to. That way you don’t need to think about it too much. Your brain is not very good at thinking when you are in need of some self care! Again you could have a separate journal or use your writing or inspiration journal. Make your list colourful and pretty so that you feel uplifted by it when you see it.
If you would like some self care ideas you can read this blog post.
Being in a global Corona virus pandemic is a very strange experience! None of us have lived through a global pandemic like the one we find ourselves in. It’s ok to not feel ok. It’s ok if you’re feeling extra stressed and anxious. You might also be experiencing anger, frustration, fear, sadness and a whole gamut of other emotions.
As best you can, allow yourself to feel your emotions as they come up. I find that Mindfulness and EFT really help me in this respect. I can fully feel the emotions, let them be heard and then let them go again.
The more you resist, the more they persist! So do whatever you can to let them flow.
Corona Virus Self Care
Self care is essential at any time if you ask me. No more so than during the current Corona virus pandemic! Do what works for you. Here’s what is working for me:
Walking in nature every day (I am lucky to live near woods)
Movement/exercise several times a week – weights, yoga & Qi Gong
Mindfulness meditation and daily tapping
Regular Reiki self treatments
Eating well and enjoying occasional sweet treats (thanks to my step daughter for delicious brownies)
Reading and watching films/TV series
Writing in my journal / creativity
It is easy to judge other people whilst we are in this weird situation. People act strangely when they are anxious and scared. Not everyone will be in their right mind and they may be acting different from normal. Do try to be kind to everyone. We are all in this together and some of us cope better than others to changes that have been forced upon us.
If you can help people in your local community then do that. Helping someone else can help us too. It could be something simple like checking in with your neighbour to see if they need anything when you go to the supermarket.
I have a few free meditations available for you to listen to and some EFT (tapping) videos. Check them out on YouTube:
We all move every day hundreds if not thousands of time. How many of those movements are you aware of your body and the sensations as they happen? Very few I would guess. Well that can change if you deliberately learn how to do a mindful stretch.
To begin your mindful stretch, come into a standing position and notice your breath. Just feel your breath coming in and going out. You could place your hand on your belly and feel how it rises and falls with the breath.
Now slowly move your weight side to side and back and forth until you feel like you are evenly balanced. Drop your shoulders away from your ears and release your jaw. Notice how your body feels. Really listen to your body as you breathe.
If it feels ok, you could close your eyes at this point. If that doesn’t feel good, just lower your gaze slightly. Now on an out breath, slowly start to move your arms out to the sides until they are shoulder height. Ensure your shoulders are relaxed and not crunching towards your ears!
Really pay attention to the sensations in your arms, shoulders and torso as you raise your arms up. On the next exhalation, continue to slowly move your arms up above your head. Drop your shoulders again and take another breath. On the next out breath, stretch one hand even further up and then relax it. Repeat with the other hand. Check in with your arms, shoulders, torso, legs and feet again. See what you can notice now. How does your body feel now?
With the next exhalation, slowly start to move your arms back to shoulder height. Check in again with your body and the sensations. See if anything feels different now. On the next out breath, slowly move your arms back down to your sides. What can you notice now? Check how your breath and body feel now.
You can repeat this process several times and notice how you feel at the end of the movement. Try doing different types of mindful stretches or mindful movements and notice how that feels. Be curious and focus on the body sensations not how far you stretched.
Move During Your Day
You can do this mindful stretch or movement several times during the day. Try doing it first thing in the morning, when you get out of bed. It is great to do this if you sit at a desk all day. Not only do you get a chance to move your body, you also drop out of the busyness of your head for a few minutes. Repeat the movement before you go to bed and you will begin to drop out of doing mode and into being mode. This can help you sleep better if your mind is less busy.
Want to know more about the benefits of mindfulness meditation? Pop over here.
Here are my top tips to get the most out of your mindfulness meditation experiences:
Let Go of Expectation
With mindfulness meditation we want to let go of any expectation. If we start with an expectation that we will feel relaxed and our mind is very busy during our practice, we will be disappointed! So we want to let go of any expected feeling, sensation or outcome.
In life, we so often become attached to certain experiences and feelings. If we feel happy or good, we don’t want it to end. It is a natural human tendency. During our meditation we constantly need to let go. We let go of our thoughts and emotions if we are focusing on the breath. We let go of pleasant feelings that occur during our meditation and likewise our unpleasant ones too. We just accept what is here, moment by moment. Letting go is part of staying present in the present moment.
Acknowledging/accepting things just as they are. We need to accept things as they are in this present moment. We often won’t like the experience (e.g. pain or a feeling of anger) but if we accept it is here it loses its power over us and can transform naturally without us striving to change it. It is the paradox that if we strive to change the experience we aren’t accepting it, but if we accept it, our experience can change.
It is helpful to adopt a beginners mind. Being child-like in our attitude so that we bring a sense of curiosity and fun to our experiences. Children don’t pre judge or have vast past experiences that they refer to. We need to let go of our beliefs and our expectations from our past experiences. Letting go of thinking we know what will happen and just being curious to the experience. As if each meditation is the first one we’ve ever done.
This is embracing being mode. We are so caught up in doing mode in our daily lives, that we need to emphasise the non-striving attitude of being during meditation practice. We aren’t trying to get anywhere, we have no goal, we’re just being. Noticing what is happening in this present moment. Being aware of our experience as it happens, as it is here anyway.
Finally, and very importantly, we need to be kind to ourselves. Interwoven through all of the above and in our practice, should be an attitude of kindness. Of loving warmth, friendliness, compassion and forgiveness towards ourselves. If we can let go of self-criticism (I’m doing it wrong) and be kind and patient with ourselves we will embody mindfulness much more.
“Just watch this moment, without trying to change it at all. What is happening? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you hear?” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
I hope you find these tips useful. Remember to keep practising. Let your experience be your experience.