I know it may seem like I am stating the total obvious but this is one of the five ways to allow peace in your life, “of course I am breathing”, you say! When anxious or stressed we are prone to breathe quickly and shallowly, utilising little more than a third of our lungs. Breathing properly and deeply into our lungs enables us to take in more oxygen thereby balancing the gases in our brain and reducing the heart rate. Occasionally just stop and take a deep breath in, always making sure you release the air out through the mouth. If you feel stressed or wound up by things take a few minutes and concentrate on breathing deeply and slowly, by taking air into the nose and out through the mouth. You will be able to change your state and feel completely different.
Get an overview of where you are. This may require you to stop for a few minutes, take a pen and paper and scribble a few key words down that come to mind. Or you may want to take a “helicopter view” and get some perspective on what you are in the midst of. Imagine you are the artist stepping away from the canvas so as to be sure where to next put a magical stroke. Take a snap shot of where you are and then a snap shot of where you are going. Be sure you are on the right track.
Everyone has off days, everyone gets out of the wrong side of the bed at times and everyone suffers bouts of self doubt and uphill struggles. Life wouldn’t be so colourful without the contrasts of ups and downs. Give yourself permission to be less than perfect from time to time. It is ok. Try the technique of under promising, setting targets you are sure to accomplish and then reach for the extra mile and over deliver. Instead of setting your goals and expectations of yourself sky high, give yourself permission to be human.
What do you love doing so much it completely lights you up? What gives you energy, makes you smile and lift off? What dreams have you given up on and which activity gives you more energy and inspiration in return of you investing in it? Listen to all the voices in your mind and body. Be sure to not always put off the things you love or treasure in exchange for completing the mundane and the responsibilities first. Take time to feed your soul or more importantly make time.
Get wholly and purposefully aware of the fact that you have one life and that you are in charge of it. Don’t wish your time away to get to the weekend, your next holiday or pay cheque. Embrace each moment as every moment is an important step towards your future. Breathe out, go with the flow and see what each moment has to offer you, even if that means overcoming an obstacle to get to the next step. Don’t take things too personally, certain things happen for reasons and sometimes those reasons don’t become clear to us until later. Embrace each moment and embrace each day.
First day back after the Easter holidays. I woke up and that almighty machine gets into motion, the machine that directs a systematic sequence of events from making the beds, helping the kids get dressed, breakfast, pack lunches, PE bags, doing a little reading, brushing teeth, polishing school shoes…. By the time they run ahead of me towards the school gate, shouting “come on, mum!” over their shoulder, I am checking that all my boxes are ticked and that we are on track after the starting shot was fired 7am this morning. I am trying to keep up with my boys but of course by now I look like I had all the Easter eggs at 7 months pregnant and I am struggling to keep up with the scramble of getting into school fast enough so they have football time left.
Walking out of the school gate my pace and thought process changes. I look around to the beautiful surroundings that are bursting into life with the persistence of spring and I gratefully embrace the day. It occurred to me that I no longer hate Mondays and I no longer suffer the stomach tension on a Sunday, the night before the dreaded day. It is one year and 2 days since we moved to the coast and if you paid me a million pounds, I would not go back. Re-location is by no means for the faint hearted, because a year ago we didn’t know a soul here, had no real idea of how we were going to earn a living and failed to get the boys into the school of our choice. A year down the line, we have built a brand new foundation on an empty patch but on soil that was fertilised with faith and conviction.
Looking back now, it takes a good year to get into the swing of a new life. We are blessed with friends and a community, with business and work, with the school of our choosing, not to mention all the other wonderful lifestyle changes, such as the bread-maker, the frequent cycle and boat rides, crab fishing, home cooking and fresh veg from local farmers. The boys have got used to sand, stinging nettles, rats and stoats and playing endlessly in the great outdoors. Our next project is to get our own chickens.
It may sound cheesy to some, perhaps small minded in comparison to worldwide events and almost like a hippy statement, but not only charity begins at home, so does harmony and peace. The stress of our old lives is a mere distant memory and with this new found perspective we can move mountains for the smaller and hopefully sooner or later for the greater good as well.