Home is Just a Breath Away

Stillness, the way HOME. There is no greater gift I can give myself that time to just be, to experience the nothingness of all there is. There is no place like this space within myself, within my soul. To allow myself time to visit there is like a taking the freshest of deep breath, to dive into the clearest and bluest of water. This is the only way I can experience the now moment. It allows me to get off the hamster wheel, physically and mentally. It allows me to experience the true gift of this now and it is a gift, always! To be home at last… there is no better destination to reach! Home is just a breath away.

The Call to Slumber

I have not written for four days. Hmmm… What is this about? I felt I had nothing to say. Nothing to say that had an inspiring note at least. I kept thinking about it but couldn’t get anything juicy enough. On the surface, that looks like a legitimate reason for not writing. It is true that what I want to share here has to be inspiring, to have a positive message. It’s important for me to be real about what is going on with me, in my life, but at the same time, I don’t want this blog to be a dumping ground for my crap. So yes, on the surface, I had a legitimate reason for not writing.

Something hasn’t been sitting right though. So I decided to get curious about what that’s about and how the past four days have been for me. This leads me to realize that I have slipped back into patterns that are not healthy for my wellbeing, for my mental health. Once again, I’ve succumbed to the ‘call to slumber’.

The call to slumber is so enticing! Slumber is comfortable in the moment and muffles everything around me and most importantly, it numbs me. Slumber comes to me in many forms, although compulsive/binge eating is definitely my sleeping drug of choice, it also comes in the form of too much Facebooking, game playing, online shopping and Netflix watching. Slumber to me is anytime I am not consciously living my life from day to day, hours to hours, minutes to minutes. It is anytime I’m letting precious time be sucked in by activities that are hurting me whether physically, emotionally, psychologically and/or spiritually. This is not to say that these activities are bad. However, when these activities are out of balance, it is being hurtful to me in some ways. The way it is hurting me the most is in the way that it is sucking my time, leaving me with very little to no time for activities that really nurture and feed me physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually such as movement/exercise, time to prepare nutritious meals/foods, quiet time to centre myself/meditation, quality time with my husband and with family and friends and last but not least, time for creativity. All these activities make my whole person soar to great heights and the bottom line is that I do deserve nothing less.

So once again, I gently shake myself awake. I remind myself that life requires my attendance. I smile … Ah yes! Right away! I’m on it!

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Recovery One Breath at a Time

I have just finished listening to “Recovery One Breath at a Time” by Kevin Griffin. This is a program I have purchased from Sounds True. I really enjoyed listening and studying this program. I’ve taken many notes. Kevin Griffin has a very gentle approach, which I like very much. I thought I would share some of the information that has struck a chord with me. Even though this program is geared towards recovery from addiction, I find that the information shared by Kevin Griffin Could be of value to anyone. And as someone wrote lately, aren’t we mostly all addicts to some extent?

Kevin shares a lot about mindfulness as a way to recovery. I really like his take on the practice of mindfulness: “The mindfulness practice is about discovering what life really is rather than what we think it is.” He furthers goes to say that “Mindfulness shows us that our existence is actually made up of just a few things: seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling and thinking. If we don’t engage these six sense experiences, we are missing out on life.” For most of my life, I lived in my head mostly unconscious. I now understand the value of engaging my senses in my life experiences, day in and day out. This also apply to my thinking. Although I spent a lot of time in my head, most of the time, I was not truly conscious of my thought processes. This is something I’m definitely working on at the moment.

Kevin goes on to say that “Fundamentally, all we are looking for is happiness.” and he then stresses the importance of being clear about what we want and to take full responsibility for achieving whatever it is we do want. So first of all, what is happiness? In Kevin’s words: “Happiness is about feeling fully connected, fully alive.” This is happiness! With this in mind, we must ask ourselves what is it that makes us happy. What will bring more happiness into our life? This is a very important first step. I’ve been a people pleaser most of my life and as such, I’m not entirely sure what truly makes me happy. Oh, I know how to make others happy! This is where I get lost. So one of my challenges, at this time, is to find out what makes me happy and commit to this for myself. Because in the end, true happiness comes from within and I’m the only one that can nurture this happiness.

Kevin talks about the importance of meditation and that meditation is a practice in mindfulness. That is an important tool in changing our relationship to our thoughts and in turn, this allows us to let go and trust in the process. He recommends starting with 20 minutes a day, or to have shorter meditation sessions throughout the day. Simply breathing in and out, being conscious of our breaths, is all that is needed. Thoughts will distract us but we just need to bring ourselves back to our breathing without judgements. Over time, this practice will become more effortless. It does take practice. I’ve been doing about 15 minutes every morning for about 10 days now. My thoughts are all over the place. I keep bringing my attention back to my breath, mentally saying ‘in’ as I breathe in and ‘out’ as I breathe out. The thoughts return and again I bring myself back to my breathing. It is far from effortless for me right now. In the past, a couple of meditation sessions would found me quitting. However I have realized that I need to keep this practice going.  I will get better and better over time. This is what practice does.

Kevin also says that “We are not bad people trying to get good. We are people who got stuck in negative patterns that need to be changed. Recovery and addiction are both about action and intention.” We are not bad people! We are not bad people! I’m not a bad person! This is so important to remember. We are not bad people. We never were! This shifts things for me. It shifts me from victimhood to empowerment. Through this shift in thinking, I can stop victimizing myself. If I’m a good person, why would I treat myself so poorly? Why would I allow negative patterns to lead my life? I’m a good person and I’m deserving of goodness. We all are.

One last thing I would like to share. Kevin talks about the importance of working with difficult emotions. One emotion he gives example of is worry. If we are charged up to worry about something, even though we stopped thinking about what worries us or we might have figured things out, this worrying energy takes longer to dissipate in the body. So it is important to work through the emotion in our body so as to release that energy completely. If we don’t do this, that energy will cause us to worry about something else and on and on it goes leaving us in a constant state of worry. The same applies to anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, etc. The way to work through the emotion in our body is to bring our attention to our solar plexus area, our guts, and feel what is going on there.  Not think about it but feel it. To really feel it and breath through it. This will release the energy which will allows us to truly move on from that emotion at that particular time. I’ve put this into practice last week and that really helped me in releasing some anxiety I had about something. It allowed my mind to clear and solutions that I had not thought of popped into my mind. It was quite powerful!

This program has so many gold nuggets throughout. I’ve only shared a few of these here. I most definitely recommend “Recovery One Breath at a Time” by Kevin Griffin from Sounds True to anyone. I’m not being remunerated in any way for writing this. I just enjoy sharing good stuff with you all.


Emotions and Body Consciousness

As part of my morning routine, most mornings during the week day, I incorporate what I have termed ‘spiritual study’. I’m a big fan of Sounds True. Sounds True’s mission is ‘to disseminate spiritual wisdom’ and it does that exquisitely well. Over the years, I have ‘compulsively’ purchased diverse programs and I have listened to only a tiny fraction of these. Now that I have more time and that I’m willing to dive in deeper, I’ve started listening to these. The one I’m listening to right now is “Recovery One Breath at a Time – Mindfulness practices for overcoming addiction” by Kevin Griffin. Very valuable information, practices and tools!

Yesterday I had a huge aha moment. It is not that I didn’t know about this intellectually but yesterday it landed at a deeper level. Kevin Griffin talks about the importance of working with difficult emotion, and even the not so difficult emotions. He goes on to say that it is the underlying emotion that are triggering trains of thoughts in our minds. So when I notice that I’m thinking, it doesn’t stop the thought because the thought is being driven by an emotion and my emotions reside in my body. I feel anxious, angry, excited, sad, not at ease., etc. My tendency might be to intellectually try to figure things out, to talk myself out of feeling what I’m feeling. Sometimes I might be fooled into thinking that I have ‘figured things out’. But unless I go into my body to feel the emotions, the feelings, I will never really truly have worked my way through that emotion. The result is that another worry will surface, another thing will trigger my anger, the feeling of unease will return, etc. and the cycle will continue to the point where it becomes an over encompassing state of anxiety, depression, anger, etc. The energy of the emotion has to be worked out through the body, not the mind.

That is very interesting. It is a fact, that most of us live in our head most, if not, all of the time. I definitely do. So it is important to become more body conscious. It’s interesting that our body has so little say into our lives. There is great wisdom that resides in our body. Yet most of us are afraid to journey there. As British Political, Andrew Bennett said “The longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart.” That is so true!

How do we do this? It can be something that is done during meditation if one meditates. Or it can be done at anytime when we feel the unease, the anxious thoughts, the anger, etc. The simple practice of sitting in silence; bringing our attention to our body, to the solar plexus area of our body, our guts; to feel what is there; and to gently breathe through the sensation, the tightness, the unease. To make this a dedicated practice can do wonder to how we experience our lives and our capacity for happiness and joy.

I was feeling ‘off’ this morning when I woke up. I have started a morning ritual of meditation, movement and study and I did not want to do any of it. I knew it was important to go forward and keep this commitment to myself, to my wellbeing. During meditation, I brought my attention to my body, to my solar plexus area. I knew I was anxious about something I had to do today. I’m not used to connecting with my feelings, my emotions I could hardly ‘feel’ anything there. There was just a tiny flutter, tightness there. I breath through it. Nothing else. I just brought my attention to this area and breathed. Interestingly, it is like clarity entered my mind and a solution to what I was anxious about popped into my head. The way I felt before and the way I felt after my meditation time was very interesting. I didn’t know this before but it became clear after. Before doing that exercise, it’s like my thoughts was a wild animal and was stuck in a cage and was frantically trying to find a way out. Whereas after, it felt free and could be itself. I hope that makes sense. This is definitely something I want to incorporate in my day as needed, not only during meditation.

I love those aha moments!

I Am So Grateful!

In the past few blog posts, I have shared my story, where I am today, my BIG want and my wish list to the Universe. Writing all of this has been therapeutic. It has been grounding. What a gift! A great big thank you goes out to Effy Wild for her invitation to Blog Along with Effy. It is exactly what I needed at this time of my life, as I transition into the next phase of my life.

And now, I release my BIG want and wish list to the Universe and I let go and I know that it will be so. I KNOW that IT WILL BE SO!

As I reflect on my life today, I am grateful for so much!

  • I share my life with a wonderful man, who truly love me as I am without judgements, who supports me and cheers me on, who is my best friend. I am blessed to have an exquisite man as my life companion.
  • I have a son who loves me and actually likes spending time with me. (Ha! Who would have thought!) Who is very kind and loving and healthy and who makes me so proud just for who he is.
  • My son found a lovely woman to share his life and she has been a wonderful addition to our little family. Her joie de vivre is infectious.
  • I have many people in my life who love me just as I am, who reflects back my light even when all I can see is darkness.
  • I love our new apartment. It has become a very pleasant and cozy home. It is my refuge.
  • I can walk. It might be laborious and painful most of the time, BUT I can still walk.
  • We have the financial means to allow me to ‘retire’ early and not be in s rush to find a way to bring extra income to supplement my retirement income.
  • I’ve embraced my creative self and can create lovely art that makes me happy.
  • I’m a short way away from my favourite grocery store which means that I have easy access to nutritious and life giving food.
  • My life is filled with riches of the heart, with simplicity and with presence.
  • And the list goes on and on…

In the words of Karen Drucker, from the song I’m So Grateful/Gratitude Vamp:

Gratitude before me. Gratitude behind me.
Gratitude to the left of me. Gratitude to the right of me.
Gratitude above me. Gratitude below me.
Gratitude within me. Gratitude all around me.
I’m so grateful, I’m so grateful,
I’m so grateful, I’m so grateful.

I am so grateful! Thank you!

My Really BIG Want

Yesterday I shared about where I am now in my life. I didn’t cover everything but I did cover what is at the forefront of my life at this time. It feels like the next step is to look at what I want. I feel that this is a very important exercise. Voicing what I want is the first step to making my wants realities. It is pretty hard to get what I want if I don’t know what I want in the first place.

My big want, my really BIG want, is to journey back home to the core of who I am and ground myself there. I want to find peace and that is where I will find it. I know. I do visit that place on occasion. For some reason, though, I seem to keep on pulling out. Never staying long enough to ground myself there. I weave in and out of my own life, my own self and that is a frustrating habit. Because I know where I want to be but I feel like I’m never there. I know that if I could only ground myself there, once and for all, many of my other wants would instantly take care of themselves. I know this for sure. The challenges I face are my way of keeping myself from being present to myself. What I am so afraid of? Why won’t I allow myself this peace? Why do I keep on sabotaging myself?

It’s simple, really. I hold beliefs about myself that makes it impossible for me to allow my deeper wants, my important wants, to become realities. ‘I’m not deserving’… ‘I’m not worth it’… ‘I’m not good enough’… These are some of the beliefs that I have had with me for a very, very, very long time.

As I write this, I realize that these beliefs don’t have as tight a reign on me as they used to. I think this is why I am where I am in my life right now. I sense myself being more open to receiving from those who love me, from the Universe, from my wise and rooted self. Isn’t that awesome! This gives me hope. This excites me. I’m on my way home. I am. And there is no better place than home!