Reminder to breathe….

dolphin

I haven’t been able to write lately….I’ve been struggling with settling in to a new job and I had too many obligations and I haven’t been that mindful at times….sigh.   I did have an amazing experience on our local river though which I’d love to share with you – very relevant for this crazy time of year!    I was learning to row on a Saturday morning, and instead of it being an enjoyable experience I was trying too hard!   All my muscles were tense from work the week before and I was getting soo frustrated that my body wasn’t doing what my mind was telling it to do!  In one way it was a mindful exercise as there was no room for thinking of anything else – but I wasn’t being very gentle with myself and I certainly wasn’t aware of the environment around me!

Suddenly to my right I hear this ‘whoosh’ of air about 3 metres away from me and look over, just in time to see a mother dolphin and her baby rise to the surface to breathe.  It felt like a direct message for me – ‘BREATHE’  and I was able to loosen my shoulders, stop rowing, look up and watch these two dolphins cruise by on the beautiful river, breathing loudly and reverently.    It made me aware of how little I was breathing….that I’d stopped taking time out to look at the world with the wide angled lens….or to appreciate what was in front of me  It was time I stopped trying so hard in so many aspects of my life!   A timely reminder!

I’m hoping to spend more time on the water in this New Year break and Breathe!    To really recharge the batteries and reflect on what is important for me and my family and how we can make that happen in 2015!  I hope you have a chance to reflect & recharge too!

Slowing down time…..eating mindfully

Thank you for all the likes & to new followers, it gives me heart to continue blogging….as does the fact that I feel more mindful every time I write this blog, it definitely helps me keep on track!

I’ve been trying to mindfully eat each meal, at least for a moment or a few mouthfuls and I can’t believe how hard it is to do!   I read that we usually tune out to what we eat after the first few mouthfuls….and for me this is definitely true!

If I can bring myself to attempt to eat my whole meal mindfully (on rare occasions when I am totally alone) I can’t believe how much time slows down, to the point of being almost painful!  I will feel fidgety, like I want to multi-task while I eat (check texts, read something, write lists).  My mind will wonder and as with meditation I try to bring it back to the present moment….but I’m amazed at how I don’t actually like mindfully eating!!! I guess I am so used to doing other things while I eat???  I am realising just how totally conditioned I am!  If I’m eating alone I’ll also be reading at the very least!

Having said that I am starting to see some benefits of eating mindfully (when I remember to do it which considering we eat 3-5 times a day it’s still happening rarely!).   I am more aware of texture, of tension in my body as I eat, of my stomach… how hungry, satisfied or full I feel.  Amazingly I am becoming aware of not actually liking some foods I’ve always eaten!!!   And I always feel fuller quicker than if I eat mindlessly!

So….I’m determined to use eating as a mindfulness practice….trying to be gentle with myself when I forget time and time again….I’ll aim to just bring myself back to the present moment and really focus on what fuel I am putting into my body….maybe this will once and for all help me to eat less and eat healthier foods!?

Dancing Without A Care….

rock and roll

Parenting 4 kids means it’s wonderful to see them discovering new things, learning new things all the time…..but life can feel a little flat or heavy as I feel overwhelmed with obligations, chores and being a good parent, partner, friend and family member.  I keep thinking of what my mindfulness teacher Nique said a couple of times to me which was something like ‘Mindfulness has many aspects, including JOY…’ and although I have been more mindful, I haven’t easily rediscovered joy!

So on the weekend I pledged to try out some new things to see what makes my heart sing, what gets the joy flowing!  Bravely my partner agreed to try out a 1950’s rock and roll dance class.  We were completely intimidated as we walked into the senior citizens hall and realised we were the youngest there by at least 20 years and the least experienced dancers there….

BUT

We got started and had so much FUN, I couldn’t stop grinning the whole time!  It was so good to be a total beginner again, laughing at mistakes, my mind FULLY focussed on the next step, and there was something amazing about dancing briefly with lots of people you have never met before….everyone feeling joy and oozing happiness!  It was a complete energy change from feeling tired after a long day at work.    I loved it and the buzz continued into the next day….and I am still grinning at the thought of it!

So it’s lovely to feel my heart sing again, and I am all ready for the next class.  I really feel perhaps my generation missed out by not experiencing the joy of those couple dances my parents & grandparents always went to.  Maybe we could bring it back for our kids?

I’m on the hunt for other new things to try too, any suggestions?