Simply Be.

This is my birds and the b talk

We sit, stand, lie and stay still. We close our eyes, relax our face and breathe in deeply to the slow count of three. Hold it and notice how everything stopped, if only for this moment, for you to focus on this one breath.

Now the time to breathe out begins. Again to the count of three.

We notice how the calm air feels on our upper lip or how our chest falls as our lungs slowly empty.

The world has slowed to the beat of One. Two. Three. One. Two. Three.

That’s what it means to simply be.

Taking the time to find pockets of stillness in your day is important for it is one of the few times where we cannot be consumed by the anxiety of the future or beaten up by regrets of the past. No longer living at the pace of other people’s agendas or taking the frequent journey into our negative thoughts.

The thoughts that bombard us and attempt to dictate how we feel are allowed to pass for what they are. Unimportant.

As with many people, I’ve had multiple moments when I begin to worry nearly endlessly about what the future holds and my inability to control what’s ahead of me. It drags me away from the good things that I’m probably experiencing right now, no matter how small. But sitting down to meditate reminds me to notice the present. To enjoy it for what it is.

It does not force calmness onto any person but it begins to cultivate a habit of staying calm in the face of stressful moments. The act of remembering to appreciate the present instead of getting lost in the future. Taking time to be instead of imagining the worst.

The worrying slows because we don’t attach judgements to the thoughts that fly through our heads, nor do we linger and follow them. When we are still, the thoughts leave our minds with the same speed they joined us with.

Observing this is remarkable. It separates us from the thoughts we have about ourselves and the other things out there in the world. Ever so slowly I begin to understand why there’s so much joy in being as still as possible. There are many really convincing thoughts that fly through our heads – usually about how bad we are at something or a flaw that’s “obviously” irreparable. Spending more time building pockets of stillness into our day forces us to slow down. And more importantly, it doesn’t mean that we analyse the thought in order to determine whether the thought it true for that is a battle easily lost.

We can let it pass. Attach nothing to it. No judgement, no reaction just acknowledgement.

By doing this, we come to better understand that so many of the thoughts which plague us leave our heads then join us again. Then leave again. They aren’t stitched into the fabric of our minds.

This isn’t easy. Stillness doesn’t cure depression or anxiety. It builds appreciation of slowing down and experiencing the day more on our own terms.

We Simply Be. We do not live for the future nor dwell in the past. We experience how we are at the present moment.

simply-be-web

Pockets of stillness can be difficult to make and difficult to sustain. Especially if you can’t find an immediate reward to the practice. To that I say, simply keep trying – it’s worthwhile.

Meditation is a practice not a solution. It’s something you do and keep doing. In the process, you appreciate its rewards. The journey doesn’t end when you’ve reached your first “moment of stillness” – these pass too. With stillness, you won’t find perfection every day. What you can find is a separation from hectic thoughts and negative judgements. For all you do is be.

How can you build more pockets of stillness in your day?

  • Meditate for 2 minutes in the morning.
  • Slow down when you eat, appreciate the flavours and smells of your food.
  • Take 15 minutes of your morning and make it yours. No time for emails, messages, or mindless web browsing.

And so on.

Remember, to simply be, we…

…sit, stand, lie and stay still. We close our eyes, relax our face and breathe in deeply to the slow count of three. Hold it and notice how everything stops, if only for this moment, for you to focus on this one breath.

Now we breathe out. Again to the count of three.

We notice how the calm air feels on our upper lip or how our chest falls as our lungs slowly empty.

The world slows to the beat of One. Two. Three. One. Two. Three.


As always, thanks for reading :)

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The Sunday Monday Post | I Can Swim

I thought I’d start the Sunday Monday Post so I can to talk more loosely about the things I’ve enjoyed within the self-improvement sphere and how I think I’ve improved in the past week (or since the time of the last edition).

It won’t be a very structured article and will probably involve more jokes than  are necessary. However, you probably won’t notice them because I’m not very funny. If I say I’ve told a joke then you need to laugh to make sure I don’t cry.

Thanks.

Nonetheless, let me think about what’s happened to me this week

I have great amazing unbelievable news.

I can swim.

As in, when I go into the water and try to move forward I don’t begin to drown straight away or wonder why I decided to ever even think about getting wet with chlorine in the first place. I actually move forward (or backwards because I can do the backstroke too. Just saying.) It’s fascinating.

When I first moved through the water without touching the floor, I nearly punched the pool wall because I was so excited that it happened. I’ve only had four lessons so I didn’t expect it to happen as quickly as it did.  Then I tried again but drank far too much pool water. Then I tried again, made a few changes, then I stopped drinking an excessive amount of pool water. But then I might make a different mistake like not actually kicking my legs. Then I’d go again.

But at least I’d be making small changes every time I came to stop. It made the whole swimming thing much easier to manage than trying to complete everything at once. Nonetheless, at the end of the session, I was swimming a decent amount. I can’t do it very far or for very long but it’s much better than the way I was like 15 years ago.

Any time I’d try to get into the water, I’d just flail around, it’d take me forever to progress onto the floats but as soon as I had to support the majority of my body weight, it’d be like my body mass tripled and rather than moving forward through the water, I’d just move down.

Let’s forget the general idea that humans actually float in the water or the fact that you can stand up in training pools. I couldn’t do either. I’d just be dead for the most part.

But now, I don’t die. I just swim for a bit and die a bit later.

To commemorate this moment, I drew a bunch of pictures: Screenshot (20)Screenshot (21)Screenshot (23)Screenshot (24)

Before my swimming lessons, I found a few different swimming tutorials which gave a few pointers on how to get over the fear of water.

Screenshot (25)

I started to break down the different parts of swimming practiced them individually (though, I always tried to breathe). It made swimming much more manageable.

Screenshot (26)

I’ve conquered years and years of fears by learning how to swim. I’m not very good but that’s OK. I’ve taken the first step. Now I can continue working on swimming and improving slowly in the process.

And dammit I’m proud.


As always, thanks for reading :)

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Yes this is on a Tuesday. No, I don’t know why. 

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5 Reasons to Start Meditating

I’ve been meditating for about 6 months now. It nearly skipped my mind because it feels like such a normal thing to do but I feel like I’ve learned a few important things during that time.

Here are 5 reasons to start meditating.

1. Increased Focus 

Staying focused on things can be difficult because we have to remind ourselves not to succumb to small distractions. That requires energy and it’s significantly easier to be distracted than ignore them.

While meditating, you aim to just focus on your breathing (at least the mindfulness approach to meditation). Meditating daily means that you’ll improve your ability to remain focused on one thing instead of following every thought that pops into your head.

I no longer feel the need to follow everything that pops into my head because I understand them for what they are. Small urges.

2. Less guilt

Noticing that you’ve failed to do something we think you should have done can result in a lot of self criticism. It can be extremely harmful to your overall well-being and difficult to stop. I’m still quite self critical. However, while meditating I don’t have those feelings at all.

It’s a beautiful moment. Even if it is brief.

When thoughts of inadequacy rush into your head, it’s tempting to follow them into an even darker train of thoughts. However, all you have to do is bring your focus gently back to your breathing. You’ll probably find it quite difficult to do but it gets much easier with time.

The practice is something you can do even when you aren’t meditating.

3. Less stress 

When we’re stressed, we’re often worried about things that we need to do in the future or there are too many things that are going on in the present moment. We feel overwhelmed and want it all to stop but we can’t make it stop.

Meditation is fantastic at reducing stress. When you meditate you’re just trying to focus on a single thing instead of allowing yourself get consumed with the various commitments you have. Taking a few deep breaths and slowing yourself down will let you approach the things you need to do with a clear mind.

4. Better posture

I have a bad back problem and tend to slouch a lot because of it. While the problem is far from being over, my posture has improved slightly. Both in front of the computer and while walking.

Meditation promotes a better posture because you need to be fairly alert. Eventually, good posture will become a habit. It’s improved my concentration and breathing is actually easier!

Remember, having a good posture does not mean keeping your back completely straight. That’d hurt more if you have upper back problems.

5. Increased mindfulness

When I think about my position before I start meditating and now, I’d say that meditating is a positive aspect in my life now.

However, the biggest influence it has had on my everyday living isn’t the act of sitting down and meditating. It’s how I go about my day.

I think about the things I’m doing instead of thinking about what it’ll do for the future. I savour meals and drinks more instead of rushing them for no good reason. I get completely involved in what I’m doing instead of continuously dividing my attention with unimportant things.

Ultimately, I actually feel like I’m experiencing the things I do instead of just doing them. That is what it’s like to live in the now.

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If you want to know how it felt after 1 month, you can read my last post on meditation. It’ll show you my experience when I first started. It can be quite frustrating but like anything else, it requires a bit of persistence to get used to!

I hope at least one of these reasons is a reason to begin meditating for at least 5 minutes a day.

If you already meditate, how would you convince someone else to begin? I’d love to hear your reasons! If you don’t, do you think you’ll try it?

1. You may ask why I didn’t do 6 reasons after 6 months to meditate. You may not. Either way, I don’t have an answer to your question.

2. If you feel like a peaceful person after reading this, you can share the peace by sharing this post.

3. I like meditation and will write more about it. If you want to keep updated on whatever I write, you should follow the blog. It’s easier than not laughing at any of my jokes.

What is good health?

Good health is something we quickly take for granted.

We always see doctors, friends, family members and even adverts promoting exercise, healthy eating and good sleep. We also come across those who have been in unfortunate accidents or those who are born with disabilities that affect their lives everyday. But we never expect it to happen to us, do we? We may buy trainers and promise ourselves that we will go jogging or sign up for that gym membership one day.

But I’m healthy. What do I need to change?

Being healthy isn’t confined to being in the gym every waking hour of the day or trying diets that require you to starve yourself. To me, it involves trying to become the best versions of ourselves. Whether that is through meditating, improving our ability to write or even something as simple as going for a walk and spending some time alone.

Good health is important and we should always try to improve both the physical and mental. We never know when our health could be affected in an adverse way. I didn’t but it won’t stop me from being as healthy as I can.

What does health mean to you?

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I liked this challenge because my health is partly why I wanted to try blogging. My physical health isn’t the best right now but instead of letting the pain and discomfort turn me into an extremely bitter person, I’m trying to improve all areas of my life now. I no longer take good health for granted.