10 July 2016

The World Has Shaken You To Awaken You

After finding myself moping around the house, flopping over tabletops and wailing like a 21st century Miss Havisham I realised that I was well and truly - somewhat brutally - up shit creek without a paddle. Traipsing around like moaning myrtle on a severely cranky come-down was never part of 'the vision' for my future. 

Expecting to be knocking knees in low-lit flirty London bars, sipping on icy laced cocktails and exchanging naughty looks with men in suits, finding myself sporting flannel tracky bottoms, an extra large sweatshirt emblazoned with "Avo-cuddle" and beavering away at my Jumbo family word search book; I had become Alice trapped down the rabbit-hole. The only way to shake things up? Wake the hell up, pull up my sassy pants and after a stiff double shot of vodka, climb my way out of the shit hole I'd gallantly waltzed into.

So to try and get my ships in line and unleash the inner bare-footed boho wild child deep inside me, I signed myself up to a mindfulness and meditation class...and yes, I did also book my mum onto it too so I wouldn't be the only mindless novice trying to get down and zen like a Bodhisattva.

Now before embarking on the course I have to raise my hands up and admit that whenever someone uttered the word "meditation" I just envisioned a room filled with cross-legged hippies in cloth harem pants itchy enough to cause one helluva fou-fou rash surrounded by burning incense, metal gongs and humming 'ohmmmm' in some far-away locale. Having recently watched 'Eat, Pray, Love' may have had something to do with this.

I've come to the realisation that I'm a bit like my dog Coco and the vacuum cleaner when it comes to change. When the necessity of change and 'shaking things up' comes knocking, it's like the vacuum cleaner looming towards Coco's bed and before we know it both of us are helplessly running as fast as our short little limbs can carry us. I.e. not far. Drats. To be frank change can rustle up a whole load of shit within us: anticipation, anxiety, unbeknown emotions and expectation. 

For me change is terrifying, scary and intimidating. But you know what else is frightening? Staying stuck in limiting and miserable routines. So change may rock the boat but it's exciting and fun. Change is unpredictable but irrevocably necessary. 

That's when I realised that life is all about choice. We have a choice in how we view the world and the way we respond to what shit bricks are thrown our way. We can play ostrich and bury our heads in ignorance, we can play the victim and wallow in the mindset that the world is an evil sorcerer out to get us or we can pick the victor card and make the world our bitch. We can choose to stay within the cutshy predictability of our comfort zones or we can be a little badass and take a blind step outside into something different. That leap of faith and that step towards change is where the magic unravels and growth can blossom. In other words, life is what we decide to make it, what we choose to settle for and the belief systems we adopt. 

If you're not happy with your patch of garden in life then it's time you stood up to full potential and did something to change your world and plant something new and beautiful. Through meditation and mindfulness I did, I have and I will continue doing so until I am proud and my belief systems have flourished into something captivating.

So here's my little overview roundup of mindful mediation experience and why I think it could just open your eyes and change your world...

It's For Everyone; Not Just the Incense-Burning Hippies
Any age, any ability, any race, any gender, any sexual orientation, any hair colour, any nationality has the ability and the capacity to practise being mindful and focusing their mind on positivity. Cultivating gratitude for your present existence is not limited by any means - it is limitless, free, empowering and non-judgemental. What's there to lose apart from losing out on cultivating your own freedom and happiness? What you get out of this simple practise is solely down to you and only for y-o-u; you aren't doing it for anyone else so worrying about whether or not you're 'doing it right' is invalid. The benefits and rewards will be different for every single being because we're all unique and work in different ways - that is exactly what makes the journey exciting. 

It Can Completely Revolutionise and Revamp Your Mindset
Through my mediation course, there has been one mindset mantra that has stuck with me and allowed me to take responsibility for my actions, thoughts and outlook: "Where Attention Goes, Energy Flows". In other words, your attention follows your intention. It seems pretty basic and straightforward but when you stop and think about it - really think about it - you realise the blinding truth in its simplicity. What you choose to focus on in your life - the heavy rain clouds looming or the sun trying to peep through behind - you get more of. What you seek in your life, you create more of so if you keep paying attention to all the buttmunch flitting around in this world then you're only going to see more of the garbage you're focusing upon. If however you want to adopt a happier outlook, look out for the positives, trust me they are there no matter how small and soon the world will reward you with more sunshine. 

Adopting an Attitude of Gratitude is a Game-changer
Whilst we can't control what happens to us or others in life, what we can choose to control is the way we respond, react and look at the world. We can modify how we form and create our reality. Gratitude opens the door to a humble existence and when you turn your attention to what is rewarding and enchanting in life then it can only but intensify, deliver and grow. 

It Allows You to Actually Bloody Breathe 
Have you ever actually stopped to think about how you're breathing? Didn't think so. Breathing seems as natural as it is farting - a casual activity that is nothing but a simple state of being. Yet our breath reacts to our body-mind connection and is acutely sensitive to our emotional state. When we feel anxious or fearful, we tend to resort to short, sharp intakes of breath that leave us feeling even more on edge as our oxygen consumption becomes compromised. Paying attention to our breath and focusing on taking deep inhales and exhales can be a magical way to calm, restore and rejuvenate yourself. A particular favourite of mine is to focus my attention on breathing in a fresh wave of bright light energy that buzzes through my body with energy and then exhale all the dusty, stagnant negative grey energy that has become caught inside. 

Just Enjoy Where You're At In This Very Moment
Responsibilities, duties, relationships, habits and routines are like a washing machine. They continue to whizz round and round on a constant daily cycle of stress and automatic thought and action. By allowing yourself to take time out to focus and relax, you effectively are extracting yourself from the washing machine rat race, slowing down the pace of life and letting yourself just 'be'. To 'Be' is whatever you choose to make it - sitting silently, cleaning your teeth, walking through a country field or even sketching. The difference is, you turn your attention to what it is your doing right now, right in this moment, this very second. Gratitude and appreciation grows from focusing on where you are right now in your journey as opposed to where you were 5 minutes ago or what you're planning to do in 5 minutes. Automated existence leaves you either depressed by focusing and ruminating on the past or leaves you in a quivering anxious good-for-nothing state by anticipating and worrying about the future. Stop. Breathe and bring your attention back to what you're doing right now. Not only will you be more productive in what you're doing but the experience itself will be all that more rewarding for you. 

Change your mindset; change your world. 
Trust the process. Trust your potential. Trust the uncertainty and embrace your growth. 

I guess the old age mantra may well be true - your actions speak louder than words ever can so if you fancy a pop at mindful meditation and taking action to change your world then find yourself a guided 5 minute listening and step outside your comfort zones! 

What can I say, it's something you just have to learn and practise on your ohm in order to master!

Love, Sarah

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