I went to go shopping the other day – some groceries, a new top, some fruit and vege. It wasn’t until I was half way through the grocery shop that I became aware of my habit of mindful shopping and I began to question when shopping became a strategic and time consuming exercise. Not only do I look for the best buy, but I am also reading ingredients and checking for certain symbols and words on the labels. Seriously – it has become a tactical task. I do it because I care and am concerned at what my consumer dollar is supporting. My question is, why should I have to? Is it too much to freakin ask -
- That the organizations, businesses and companies provide and create their products with integrity?
- That the bottom line isn’t one tainted with blood and sweat?
- That the food I am eating hasn’t been mutated, poisoned and pumped full of artificial everything.
- That animals have not had to endure unnecessary suffering, that their ending is humane?
- That what is in the food isn’t going to cause allergies, reactions, behaviour problems and illness?
- That some child isn’t sweating in a tiny shop so that my clothing is cheap?
- That the life giving trees are not being cut down to destroy livelihoods, lives and habitats?
- That greed does not anesthetize respect, compassion and common sense?
Well obviously it is asking too much because here I am using my palm oil app, discarding products with preservatives, checking the tuna is dolphin friendly, buying clothes from a store that has an okay score for conscious production and knowing I will have to wash all my f&v’s cause I can’t afford organic. I accept my role as the trolley warrior and march back into war – doing my little part to send a message and dreaming of a day when this is unnecessary.
I have always enjoyed motor bikes, well sitting on the back of them anyway. I travelled across Australia on one, I recently did the Mae Hong Son loop in Thailand on one and my husband and I often go for Sunday rides. I know it’s not for everyone but I go into a ‘space’ on the back of a bike and enjoy the proximity of it – to my husband, the road and the environs. Well one day I just happened to mention to said husband, “I wonder what it would be like to actually ride the bike on my own”. Before you know it he had purchased a cheap (so if I damaged it, it wouldn’t matter) bike and I was off to the Big Pineapple car park for lessons with him. I can tell you it has been quite a journey and although I haven’t got my license yet, I am learning quite a lot about myself. The top 5 things I have learned while learning to ride a motor bike.
- Your mind can be a powerful ally or a powerful enemy – Seriously my mind was going ape shit with revolting scenarios which all ended with me hurt or dead! It was literally doing my head in and wasn’t helping at all with my confidence when on the bike. I had to consciously re-route these thoughts into ones that would support me. Not surprisingly when I did manage to override the pessimist pain and visualize myself riding well and safely it made all the difference. How many times in your life have you let your mind run riot over rational, practical and optimistic thinking? Does worrying actually help -at all?! And if our thoughts create our reality then boy I was headed for a spectacular send of. Do you need to be making friends with your mind and quietening the enemy there?
- On the other side of fear is excitement – When I moved past the fear and allowed myself to relax I discovered that I was actually really excited about doing this. That a whole new world, skills and adventure was opening up not only for me, but for my husband and I as a couple. So often we allow our fear to stop us from trying new things, or meeting new people, or discovering new things about ourselves – but oh my gosh the possibilites when you step through the fear to the other side are not only endless but bloody exciting. Don’t stagnate in the fear quagmire – find the excitement in new situations instead.
- Sometimes trusting yourself is harder than trusting others – So easy for me to just sit on the back and put my life in my husband’s hands. I trust him on so many levels that placing my safety with him was a piece of cake. Besides it meant no responsibility on my behalf, I could just relax and enjoy. I actually said to him after one lesson ‘I don’t trust myself, or my ability’. Well doesn’t that say something! After I realized what I was putting out there my inner warrior stepped up and She was fierce. There was no way she was going to take the easy road, no way she was going to allow me to wash my hands, no way she was going to let me get off with that gem of a put down. If we cannot trust ourselves what right do we have to place it on another? If I cannot trust myself to ride this bike and well, then I shouldn’t be on it. It makes you wonder where else in life you have abandoned your faith in yourself and have given that gift to another.
- Every new skill takes patience and practice so be kind to yourself – I have never actually driven a bike, it is a completely new skill set for me and I found myself getting frustrated and impatient. I gave myself a verbal beating or two in the process. Again it didn’t help, only sprinkled a little stress on the situation. So I took a breath, centred, recognized that it is like learning to drive, or walk, or use a new program, or be a parent, or try a new sport – you have to start somewhere and you just need to keep going, step by baby step. I have learned to be my own little motor bike cheer squad. If you are learning something new then relax, find a sense of humour, celebrate the small steps and look at the big picture. You will only be a learner for so long before you are an expert….
- Going slow is harder than going fast! – really it is, well I found on the bike anyway. When you are cruising all is good. When you have to slow right down and juggle the clutch, brake, throttle, blinkers, corners and speed it becomes somewhat overwhelming. Besides if you slow down too much you either stop or as I did once – fall over (pretty funny actually). It makes me wonder if we often speed through life so we don’t have to take care of or look at the little things, the important things? That maybe we aren’t all that comfortable with slowing down, spending time alone, afraid we might fall and never get up? But really we can’t go fast for ever. Eventually life is going to throw a corner, or stop sign, or other people in the way or traffic lights and you need to know how to navigate the pauses. It is an important skill and even thought it may seem overwhelming at the time, it means you can take a breath and check out the scenery.
Every time I have a practice I am getting more confident, more comfortable, more excited about getting out and about on my own. I know I have some hurdles to overcome but I also know that when I master them I am going to be so damn proud of myself. I will be zenning out and enjoying the ride. So if you see me about, make sure you toot!
I’m a thinker, in fact I over-think and over-process often. I am prone to headaches and lying awake at night. My mind and I have a love hate relationship. It likes to make lists and sort through stuff and I have to engage in my ‘calming’ practices to get it to chill out. I think it is an Aries trait also. I am also a ‘doer’. I get things done. I am productive and constructive and busy – often. I don’t think busy is such a great thing for me either. So when thinking about 2014 – how it was and 2015 -how I wish to be a, word came to mind. One that could assist me to slow down and above all else enjoy. It would help me to let go of my mind madness and busy bee energy. My 2015 word ….. Savouring!
Now when you savour a good meal or movie, or book, or wine what do you do? You engage with all your senses, you allow yourself to get lost in the moment, you are fully present, you relish in it. Now you could say that it is the same as mindfulness but look at that word ‘mind-full-ness”. I want my mind out of it and my being into it. In any given moment if I asked myself ‘Am I savouring this experience?’ it instantly brings me back to a feeling place, a sensing place, a connected place and that my friends is how and where I want to be in 2015.
Even if the moment isn’t particularly palatable – if I am ‘savouring’ I can view it as an exotic taste. One that is unfamiliar or uncomfortable, but if I am open to it, could show me something more or refine my taste. If I don’t let my mind jump into judgement or pre-perception, I may just discover that it isn’t as bad as I thought.
So many of our actions, routines and everyday activities we do automatically. We don’t even think about them let alone do them consciously. If I was savouring, fully engaging, being as a child… what would I discover? Would it make those activities more enjoyable, more interesting, more engaging? I think so. Where does my joy come from? The simple things. But it is often the simple things I do by rote. So I figure I could savour the crap out of them – taste what it feels like to wash my hair, water the plants, pat my dog.
And when it is time to think, to be busy, to work then I will savour that too. Not divide my space but be right there, in it. I have a feeling it would allow more freedom and creativity to flow. I know it will take some practice, I have been ‘rushing’ a long time but I will have the image of creamy icecream, mangoes and lychees in my thoughts to help remind me to savour 2015.
Do you have a 2015 word?
There is a lot of ‘talk’ around finding your purpose. It is suggested that everyone has a life’s purpose a reason for being here, a special gift or job to do. And although this may be true, seeking and searching for and often not finding or discovering this individualized and unique purpose can be challenging and worse, stressful. There is a certain implication that if we don’t find and live our purpose that we are somehow incomplete, or not fulfilling a destiny. I do believe we have innate gifts and talents, which when we know what they are and begin to share them, can create immense joy and satisfaction in our lives – but striving to find ‘our purpose’ can sometimes hold us back, create barriers, expectations and idealism that do not serve us. What if we just let it go and instead…
We just focus on living a life of purpose or living a purpose-filled life….. Continue reading “Life’s Purpose – Let It Go” »
Regrets – we all have them. We carry them around like little pieces of coal that do a slow burn in our hearts and minds. They are laced with a subtle poison that eats away at our sense of wholeness and dreams for the future, because until we can let them go, if we ever, they anchor us in the past. Having regrets ensure that our personal power will never be at full throttle because they drain our energy like fuel from a leaky line. And they are persistent little buggers, holding on with hook like tendencies, catching us off guard and reminding us of our imperfections. Forgiving and forgetting can be a challenging process so I am sharing some ways to re-define regrets. We can take the negative energy usually associated with rambunctious regrets and turn it into something that will support you to be free. Continue reading “Re-defining Regrets” »