Being your true and best self.
As a child I used to think that life was really a dream and that one day I would wake up and everything would become clear. After years of seeking, studying yoga, healing and shamanic practices, and participating in a multitude of different spiritual courses and workshops I found that life as we tend to live it IS a dream, an illusion and that true clarity is to be found only in the present moment. Eckhart Tolle’s popular book ‘The Power of Now’ explains this wonderfully with much insight into how to awake to the present.
Simple! But how often are we really, truly present? To stay in the moment, open to receive all information, to perceive everything going on around us and allow all of our senses to be continually filled and refilled with what is - is simple but not easy. The discipline required to stop the ‘monkey mind’, the constant chatter bringing up the past, worrying about the future, judging ourselves in the present rather than accepting and being open to all, is immense. The disciplines of practicing yoga, meditation, and numerous spiritual and physical practices help us to experience being fully present but it is difficult to bring this awareness and practice into our day to day lives.
Having been a bit of a self-confessed course junkie over the years I have gathered a collection of practices that help to bring me into the present and experience life more deeply - and joyfully - from moment to moment. The most helpful of these ‘tools’ are those that bring me immediately back into my body when I have got stuck in my mind. Bumping into something or someone is a typical wake-up call to remind you to stay in your body. When I remember to, I immediately take my attention to my feet - if I am walking I feel each step as the foot touches the ground. Sitting or standing I might stamp my feet or see if I can feel each toe in sequence or the texture of my sock or shoe against the skin. If you find you are often ungrounded, try wearing red clothes, shoes or socks, the colour of the first chakra. It is a powerful colour that helps to keep you in the physical body and down to earth.
Emotional reactions frequently take us out of the present moment and often lead us to ‘project’ the past onto the present, creating great discomfort. Understanding what leads to these reactions is the first step towards letting go of the disruptive emotion. Noticing our patterns of behaviour we can begin to track the emotional response and if we are quick enough, to stop it before it carries us away with it. Knowing that we are not our emotions and that they are often based on childhood wounds or past trauma is a good thing to keep reminding ourselves. When possible, letting our emotions have full expression helps to release them and free us of emotional blocks. When its inappropriate to express the emotion in the moment, then there are numerous ways of releasing the energy held in the emotion, by moving the body, deep breathing, or a silent scream.
Starting your day with a short practice of yoga, meditation or a physical workout helps to set you up to stay present. A Chakra awareness sequence feeling into each of the seven major energy centres and aligning and balancing your energy field can bring you immediately and fully into the present and once practiced can quickly prepare you for challenging situations, or simply making the most of the moment.
And finish your day with something beautiful and life affirming...