everydaybalance

inspirational tools to create life balance in your everyday

2008 – finding everyday balance in june

June1

Harrison's Feet

Tonight the rain is tap dancing on our skylights as if the sky was letting go stardust. It pitters and patters so gently that it matches the magic in the mood that has followed me through the week and home from Kiama tonight. On Monday we were stopped in our normal morning routine by the ringing phone. A new mother and father, our dear friends Denita and Andrew, announced the unexpected arrival of their son, Harrison Smee. He was a month early.

That afternoon Peter and I gingerly passed Harrison, tiny and perfect, back and forth between our arms. What a gift to be in the presence of a beautiful and healthy baby born that day. In the room, the love was palpable. We marveled at his tiny hands, that moved with the grace of a magician, as if he was casting a spell to remind us how miraculous life can be.

This weekend many of our friends traveled to celebrate the arrival of this beautiful baby to his own baby shower. I sat and watched everyone’s expressions as they held and spoke to this new little boy. There was generosity and joy. Our bodies leaned into one another to be closer to the sounds he made or hoping those tiny hands might brush our skin as he weaved his magic. I was struck by the ease and balance that is born when we connect in happiness with those around us.

Driving home I thought about the connections that we all have throughout our days and why some days shine bright and others are easily forgotten. I thought about the people that flow in and out of our homes, work places, exercise classes, grocery stores or brush past us on the street and the impact that they have on our lives. I reflected how the words, feelings and body language that is exchanged, shapes so many aspects our day and yet we may be virtually unaware of how that presence effects us and those around us.

In these last few months, I’ve been increasingly aware of those interactions in my life because of our upcoming move to San Francisco in July. I’ve been noticing with mindfulness whose footsteps cross my path each day. From the pelican that gathers fish in its giant mouth while I walk around the lake to the person who packs up my fruit and vegetables down the street, they all have an impact. And I’ve been feeling with more mindfulness the tones of voices, the words expressed and the connections that I’ve built over the years with those whose lives are interwoven among mine.

And it is in these connections, that I feel we can draw great balance from in our day to day lives. Often we are told, or at certain times intrinsically feel, that this life is one we walk alone. Nothing really could be further from the truth. When we really stop to listen or to feel those around us, we can begin to understand what Thich Nhat Hanh refers to as interbeing. The concept that we are all interconnected, that the breath I take in is connected to the breath you let out. And what I experienced today, in a room full of wonder, was how the presence of just one person can change a day for many individuals, regardless of their own set of circumstances or feelings or predicaments. One small smile and a moment can change.

This month, I invite you to consider the wonder of your own presence in the lives those around you and of the gift of the people that are woven into your life by choice and by accident. Each of us was once that tiny baby in the arms of an adult, looked at with love and wonder. We were bright eyed and open, allowing ourselves to be cared for by the people that loved us. Imagine if we could take just a drop of that trust and grace and add it to our interactions with our friends, family and colleagues.

I believe so strongly that what we pay attention to blooms. When we pay attention to our relationships they take on a certain quality of reverence. Simply by being mindful of our speech can elicit this result. Think back to a time, when a friend, a partner or colleague has shown you an unexpected dose of kindness. There is a pause. A pause that something has shifted, something out of the ordinary has occurred and the moment can’t help but be changed for the better. It is like the part in a song that takes your heart with it, it is felt on an entirely different level than that of the rational mind. Often the forgotten aspect of this interchange and what was tapped into by the editors of the wonderful little book Random acts of Kindness is that treating others with kindness has the same effect as being treated with kindness.

This month, if you would like to explore this concept, take a few moments with your journal and make a list of the main characters that walk through the pages of your life. Let your pen write without too much thought. Identify the people in your daily interactions, those in your heart and those who may live oceans away, but always feel close. Allow their names to take up space on your page and simply acknowledge their presence in your life.

Don’t overanalyze who appears in your list. Sometimes it is the person that we least identify with that makes the biggest difference to our days. It might be the man in the parking lot who sees you are juggling two toddlers and takes your bags to your car, the chance encounter with someone who you had lost touch with or the colleague that you are able to help in a crisis. Whether or not you believe in coincidence or fate, the people that come across our paths often have hidden gifts to bestow.

After you have made your list, circle three names. Don’t overanalyze or plan, just follow your first instinct. If it helps, shut your eyes and circle at random. It may be that you circle your best friend, the mailman and your child. Write these names on a separate piece of paper labeled one, two and three. This month experiment with the effect that your connections have on your daily life. For the person named next to the number one write “known act of kindness”, for the person named next to the number two write “anonymous act of kindness” and for the person named next to number three write down “mindfulness”. Keep this list where it is private to you, but that you will see it regularly.

Over the month of June notice the effects of these actions. For your “known act of kindness” you might give this person a compliment or help them in some way. This doesn’t have to be grand. A simple compliment or small gift can turn someone’s day around. Even the presence of a single chocolate frog once turned a tumultuous day for me into something manageable, simply because I knew someone was thinking of me during a difficult time.

For your “anonymous act of kindness”, simply apply the same principle, but without that person knowing about it. When I’ve worked with this exercise with my students, this is often the exercise they were surprised they enjoyed the most. One person paid for tea for an entire group at break time and I watched as the group giggled and came together. You couldn’t have picked the person who paid if you tried. Sometimes we think that the acknowledgment we get from an act of kindness, is what feels good, but what we find is that it is the joy exuded from the receiver that opens our heart.

For the third person, simply try to bring a sense of mindfulness to your words and actions with that person over the next month. Speak and act from a place of kindness and take notice of how that relationship responds over this time. If one of the people that you circled has passed away, continue the exercise in their memory. For your acts of kindness, do something that you know they would have loved, be it an activity they enjoyed or giving to a cause they believed in and tell them about it in your journal or tell someone that knew them. For mindfulness, simply bring mindfulness to the ways they continue to influence your daily life, your interests or your activities. Bring mindfulness to the role that they continue to play in your life.

As you work with these tools, you are both practicing awareness of the relationships in your life as well as noticing the effect of interconnection in your everyday balance. When I teach yoga, I marvel each week how my students walk in as individuals and they leave as a group. There is something so intuitively healing in the power of connection that even when someone across the world holds us in their thoughts, we are affected. The serendipity of the phone call that comes from the friend you were just thinking of, lets us know of the deep power that our thoughts have on our connections.

Imagine the difference we could create among the circle of people in our lives, if we each took only five minutes a day to reach out with our words, our actions or our thoughts. Imagine if we simply looked at the people near to us, in the same way that we meet a new child, with mindfulness, ease and a smile in our eyes.

This is a monthly inspiration piece brought to you by author Christina Adler at ‘everyday balance’. If you would like to share your experience with these tools or subscribe to this inspiration piece each month, please send your name and email address to chrisadler@everydaybalance.net or visit this website in the first week of each month. For information regarding life coaching appointments in person, by telephone or online, send an email to the above address with your name and phone number or visit the contacts section of this website. Photo by Peter Moore featuring Harrison Smee’s feet.

posted under 2008 life balance

2008 – finding everyday balance in may

May1

This month I was invited to a ‘creativity evening’ at a dear friend’s house in McCarrs Creek. We were picked up in boats at a lopsided jetty at the end of the creek where the water was still and the tide was low. As we tugged along in darkness except for a sliver of cake white moon, so many memories flooded back to me. For four years, Peter and I had lived on the banks of that creek with all of the struggles and delights that off-shore life brings. Over those years, there was a kind of quiet that like the creek ran deep. We lived simply. Our Friday nights involved talking on the deck under the bright stars with the possums and the sound of the water lapping under the docks. On weekends, we would hike through the bush treading familiar pathways or take our little yellow boat to a deserted beach where goannas would walk the white sand around us like long forgotten dinosaurs. In the first six months of living on the creek, I wrote. I would wake up to whatever weather had arrived and set up my tea and laptop on the deck and write. I would continue to write even with the cockatoos dragging my tea cups across the table and screeching for birdseed. Life was simple. The days unfolded and I wrote about what it was I saw and experienced in that landscape.

Visiting our friend’s home this month, this simplicity came tumbling back to me. I felt the kind of easy peace that comes when a home is entangled in nature. The evening unfolded with friends of the host sharing their creative pursuits and I observed how art often becomes a kind of meditation. These meditations included a chef’s flawless cutting creating a dance between fruit and pastry, a photographer’s eye capturing images of colour and light, a producer’s visions unfolding in sound and film and a musician’s language translated through sound. All of these expressions were so unique. I could feel the presence of love and honesty in a room among people I had only just met. Toward the end of the evening, I stood and read some of my poems and I felt as I did the uniqueness in each our places of rest. The places where are minds stop trying to figure it all out and we simply follow what we innately know how to do. It occurred to me how important it is that we honour these passions that choose us, no matter how scary or impractical they may seem. It is in them that there is a deep kind of peacefulness, a place where we can rest.

When I first became serious about pursuing writing, my teacher, Deb Westbury told us that if you wanted to be a good writer, you needed to immerse yourself in writing. You needed to read other writers. If you were interested in writing poetry, you needed to read poetry. If you wanted to learn about writing practice, you needed to read how other writers practice. She told us to read widely and to practice as much as we could and through that practice our own voices would emerge.

Over the next few years, I lined my shelves with books of poetry, prose and books on writing. When I sat down at my desk the teachers in these books gathered around my blank pages. It was as if I had my own personal cheer squad. Over the years these books have become tattered and torn, tea has been spilt on them and bookmarks and telephone bills mark well worn pages. There are two lessons from these mentors that I take with me in any new pursuit.

The first came from Natalie Goldberg who in her books teaches that writing is a practice. She compares writing to running saying that “the more you do it, the better you get at it. Some days you don’t want to run and you resist every step…but you do it anyway. You practice whether you want to or not. You don’t wait around for inspiration and a deep desire to run…but you run regularly and you train your mind to cut through or ignore your resistance. You just do it. And in the middle of the run, you love it. When you come to the end, you never want to stop.” This quote teaches me to work with my resistance, to continue even when I’ve become bored or overwhelmed or frustrated. It reminds me that it is in the practice itself, of any pursuit, that I will grow from and come to know myself through.

Julia Cameron echoes this sentiment when she writes that the key to regular practice starts simply by showing up at the page. To show up regardless of whether or not the tooth ache is there, the weather is inspiring or the daytime movie looks inviting, you simply show up to the page. This is the secret of how books become written and buildings are built. And I believe it is by these two pieces of advice that for each individual, balance is built. To step more firmly towards everyday balance, we need to create a regular practice in our lives that makes our hearts sing. To begin, we need simply to show up to our own blank pages, in whatever form that may be.

At this point in my life, meditation is the place where my regular practice takes place. When I meditate I am able to press the restart button each day. Regardless of what drama has played itself out in my life or what thoughts are clouding my mind, each morning when I sit for meditation for ten or thirty or sixty minutes, I come in contact with the part of myself that is whole. From this space, I can see past the drama or the thoughts or the ringing phone and know that they are just a part of why I am here today and in that I can choose where to put my energy again. I’m able to connect back into that part of myself that like a mountain is unaffected by the weather that moves over and around it.

This month, I invite you to explore a regular practice that brings balance into your everyday. Choose an activity that as you practice it your mind begins to clear, the energy in your body starts to lift and you feel the masks that you may be wearing beginning to fall away. There are many activities that bring people into this space. A few that I have experienced this type of balancing through include: walking, painting, writing, yoga, meditation, cooking, singing, chanting, gardening, and dancing. Try not to get caught by choosing the activity that you have always been comfortable with. Remember that in different phases of our lives, we will naturally be drawn to experiment with different things.

For some of you, you may know already what it is that calls you to this space of peacefulness. If you do, invite yourself to make a regular time each day for this activity. It doesn’t need to be an exact time, but try to choose between morning, afternoon or evening to set up an expectation for yourself. The regularity of the activity is as important as the activity itself. Choose a time of day that feels easy, where you will be uninterrupted. If you share your home with others, let them know that you are carving out this time for yourself so that they aren’t surprised when you aren’t available. Their expectation will also help to create motivation for you to fill the space with this activity. Start with practicing each day for one week. At the end of the week reassess and ask yourself if you want to continue for one more week. Pace yourself working week by week throughout the month of May.

If you aren’t familiar with what activity it is that creates these feelings of balance and clarity, use this month to explore. Divide the month into five sections. The first few days of the month are for planning. Brainstorm in your journal activities that you look forward to and then write down four activities that you would like to explore as tools of rest and reconnection. For the next four weeks, work with one activity for five to seven days. Start each activity on a Sunday so that you aren’t rushed or tired and you can set up a space or explore how much time you will need to set aside each day. Remember to start small. Work with time frames of ten to twenty minutes to start and then after a month you can lengthen your time frame if you feel you will still achieve a regular practice.

For each approach, begin to pay attention to the feelings of balance and support in your life. Start to notice whether or not your activity helps you in difficult times as well as being something you look forward to in times of ease. At the end of the month or the week, let your feelings be your guide. If this practice has given you some relief from the constant hills and valleys of life’s landscape, continue your practice. If not you will have created a space for a regular practice in your life. You will have gotten to know more about what makes you so unique. As you work with this tool, I would love to hear about your experiences. For each of us what draws us to the page or the cushion or the hiking trails will be different and I’d love to hear what makes your heart sing and your days more whole.

This is a monthly inspiration piece brought to you by author Christina Adler at ‘everyday balance’. If you would like to share your experience with these tools or subscribe to this inspiration piece each month, please send your name and email address to chrisadler@everydaybalance.net or visit this website in the first week of each month. For information regarding life coaching appointments in person, by telephone or online, send an email to the above address with your name and phone number or visit the contacts section of this website.

posted under 2008 life balance

2008 – finding everyday balance in april

April1

Today it was as if the wind and the clouds and the everyday clutter of life went off to another part of the world to play. I was left with a day full of stillness, colour and clarity. The ocean was so blue that it reminded me of the darkest blue in the Crayola crayon set. Not normally comfortable in the ocean’s open water, I looked out and was delighted to see my perfect surf day. Without a ripple interrupting that dark blue sea, we went out with towels and into the ocean we slunk. In that water, out farther than years ago I would have dreamed of going, I could feel how so many of my decisions had led me to this moment. The joy that I felt bobbing up and down to the ocean’s breath was so simple. This felt like the page in the story book where it says “and they lived happily ever after.” I felt stillness and contentment climbing deep into my soul to have a nap.

In times like these when the heart is content and the soul is quiet it is easy to wonder “what was all that drama about?” And cherishing these moments where the heart and the head rest is such good practice. These moments teach us about the balance we can create and how it was achieved. In recent years, there have been times where I’ve felt like I was riding a rusty old roller coaster that I wasn’t sure if the technician had remembered to put in all the nuts and bolts. My boots were so heavy that much of the time taking steps forward took so much effort that it was much easier to slip a few steps back. These changing seasons of our moods and feelings are something we will all experience in a day, a week or a month. So how do we learn from the weather in our lives?

I suppose it is different for everyone and something that we need to contribute to each day. We all have our own recipe card that helps our equilibrium click back into place. For some it is financial security, family and community. For other’s it is constant change: new jobs, lots of different friends and not knowing what vocation waits around the next corner. What intrigues me is that if we know how different we all are, why are we constantly looking outside of ourselves to read the next page in our own story?

Floating in that blue water, the only word that came to mind was trust. Trusting more in that inner voice, unique only to you, to make the decisions that suit the weather of your everyday. Practicing trusting ourselves re-teaches us to look within first rather than looking out. In our day to day lives, we spend so much of our days receiving advice from colleagues, family, doctors, friends and teachers. In the confusion of so many opinions we forget to check in with ourselves. When we lose this balance between what we think and what they think, whoever they are, the skill of our intuition and self knowledge loses its strength. To start to exercise trust, the key is to start small.

Fortunately, our everyday lives are the perfect place to start. All day long we are making decisions. We make big ones, small ones and life changing ones. Decisions are the steering wheels to the direction of our lives. Each day, each decision alters our course in its own unique way. What is interesting is that often we continue to make the same decisions even if they lead to the storybook pages where we are hiding under the covers with a flashlight trying to figure a way out of our own mess. By starting to listen in to the decisions that you are making each day, you take back the curve of that steering wheel under your own hands.

Of course in this we need to acknowledge that the world has its own section of the steering wheel as well. Events out of our control alter our course in a myriad of ways that are delightful and chaotic. But when those wild storms blow, if it’s your hands on the steering wheel and not someone else’s, you’re going to know which direction you’d like to steer the ship. So we start small. Enter your daily interactions with awareness and energy. Instead of asking everyone else what they would like for dinner, start by asking yourself. Where would you go? What would you choose? What would nourish you?

The wonderful thing about stretching your decisive muscles in this way is that the people around you will love it. There is nothing more attractive than someone who knows what they want. There is magic in knowing what you want because chances are you will find it. When I was in eighth grade, I was chosen to deliver a speech to my graduating class. I remember pacing my parent’s deck underneath the redwood trees with only the Blue jays and the squirrels to keep me company. I wasn’t the most popular kid in school nor the least, I hovered somewhere in the middle. I was unsure of a hundred thousand things and terrified of so many of my peers, but I cared a lot about those kids around me. I had been painting, singing and learning with them from age five. I searched my parent’s bookshelves trying to find a quote that would finish my speech with a message bigger than my thirteen year old pen could explain. I found a quote by Goethe and let out a sigh. He wrote “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” This is how I ended my speech on the lawn that sunny day. It rang as true then as it does today. When we own what we know and we act on it, magic happens.

This month, I invite you to rediscover your own decisions and in that your own magic. Start by noticing how many decisions you make each day. Be curious. Notice what influences your decisions more, your feelings and thoughts or how you think other people around you will choose. Then start to experiment. Check in with yourself before making those automatic decisions that we all take for granted everyday. Do you really want that morning coffee or does the Moroccan Mint tea look interesting as well? The grocery store is a great place to practice your decision making skills. Often for years we buy the same brand because we always have or even because our parents bought the same brand. Ask yourself if you like it and why? If it still suits, throw it in the shopping cart, if not try something different. If you get it wrong on the three dollar peanut butter, your life won’t run off course but you will have strengthened that muscle for the bigger decisions that come along in the future!

By working with decision making in your everyday, you allow yourself the opportunity to know where you have arrived to in this present moment. You will no longer be making decisions for the person you were last year or when you were ten, but for the person you have become today. There is no need to judge what those decisions mean. Simply act as the observer and be honest with yourself. If you want to paint instead of watch TV, honour that. If you want to start your own class instead of going to someone else’s, listen to that. By listening deeply you begin to steer yourself to the part of the story that you are most interested in.. The life where you graduate to the days you had dreamed of. A life with all of the boldness, magic and power that you can imagine.

This is a monthly inspiration piece brought to you by author Christina Adler at ‘everyday balance’. If you would like to share your experience with these tools or subscribe to this inspiration piece month, please send your name and email address to chrisadler@everydaybalance.net or visit this website in the first week of each month. For information regarding life coaching appointments in person, by telephone or online, send an email to the above address with your name and phone number or visit the contacts section of this website.

posted under 2008 life balance

2008 – finding everyday balance in march

March1

Working with the idea of mindfulness this past month, I have been struck by such small details including the blue of the water before the sun tilts up, the taste of a green mango in a salad, the sound of my sisters easy laughter over the phone and the texture of the wooden floor in the yoga room under my bare feet. When slowing down and living in the canvas of each day, it is so much easier to notice these sounds, sights and tastes and the feelings that come with them. Simply by being still, by noticing the details and letting go of the need to rush, the ordinary transforms into the extraordinary.

During this time of mindfulness, I also began to experience pain in my right knee. This was a different kind of pain than I was used to and unnerving as I walked along and felt that my knee had lost its strength. To be mindful of pain takes effort, there is such a tendency to want to push past it, to fix. In the past (and sometimes in the present) I have been the queen of “fixing”. This month, being in the present moment and allowing my knee to heal has been difficult and has made me acutely aware of the times that I’ve taken for granted my limber and strong knees.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk and author who was nominated by Martin Luther King Jr. for the nobel peace prize, has written extensively on mindfulness and this tendency that we have to notice aspects of our lives when they are broken. He writes about being mindful of the “non-toothache” asking us to be aware of the parts of our body and the parts of our life that are whole, while they are whole, rather than when they are in pieces. For the queen of “fixing” this was an interesting shift to consider and a very bumpy ride to practice.

What I found when I began observing my own behavior was that the things that were going wrong in my life held a seductive appeal that the parts of my life that were working well lacked. The drama had me right in the palm of its hand while the day to day seemed pale and dull in comparison. I recognized that it was time to take steps to help shift this focus so that my life could sing about what was going well rather than shout about what was going wrong.

Mindfulness and meditation worked hand in hand to help me to begin to be in the present moment. This was the first step, simply becoming aware of what was working. The second step I stumbled upon in a dimly lit second hand bookshop. For years I had seen Sarah Ban Breathnach’s pink covered book Simple Abundance. I had pushed past it at several garage sales, picked it up and put it down in many book stores and then one day picked it up at my favourite second hand bookshop when I had time to browse. That day the book fell open to a page where she talked about creating abundance in your life in the form of a gratitude journal. The words hit home and that June in 2005, I started keeping my gratitude journal. Amazingly I began to feel the effects in a shift of focus from broken to whole, that I had been seeking for so long.

When I look back on the many gratitude journals I have kept since that time, I get a true sense of what was going on in my life at different times. Some days I can see that I was filled with joy, I was thankful for the birth of my friend Valerie’s first baby Savannah, grateful for Peter and my 7th anniversary and brimming over with gratitude having taught my first yoga class. Other days their is simplicity, I am thankful for the kind word of a friend, the sound of the rain, an unexpected compliment or that my loved ones are healthy. On difficult days, I have been thankful for warm clothes, that I was going to sleep, that I was able to take time out on my own or that I didn’t snap at anyone that day!The gratitude journal acts as a companion that helps to celebrate the amazing moments of your life and also helps to remind you that even in the darkest of times there is light.

This month I invite you to experiment with practicing the art of gratitude. Make a date with yourself this week to go to your local bookstore, art shop or newsagent and spend some time in the stationary aisle. If you’re like me, this is something that needs a bit of time, all of those beautiful new books and coloured pages, pens and pencils, are a rainbow of possibilities. Take your time and find a journal that feels special. It may be the cover or the feel of the page. For my gratitude journals, I often choose the ones that have quotes on some of the pages and I find that the quote I need to hear comes to me on just the right day.

This doesn’t have to be expensive, if your wallet is light, simply buy a $5 notebook and decorate the outside with magazine pictures or wrapping paper that you may have tucked away. When you’ve found your journal, keep it near your bed so that each evening before you go to sleep you can reach for it. Take a few minutes before you turn out the light to write down the date and five things that you are grateful for that day. Remember some days this will be easier than others! Enjoy the process and let it flow, this is a celebration of your life in the present moment.

Practice keeping your gratitude journal throughout the month of March and observe how your focus begins to shift from problems to solutions, from lack to abundance and most of all from guessing to knowing that there is beauty in your life, and that by tapping into that knowledge, wonderful and surprising opportunities will begin to open and bloom.

This is a monthly inspiration piece brought to you by author Christina Adler at ‘everyday balance’. If you would like to share your experience with these tools or subscribe to this inspiration piece month, please send your name and email address to chrisadler@everydaybalance.net or visit this website in the first week of each month. For information regarding life coaching appointments in person, by telephone or online, send an email to the above address with your name and phone number or visit the contacts section of this website.

posted under 2008 life balance

2008 – finding everyday balance in february

February1

In the heat of summer everything feels open, expansive and at its peak. The air is buzzing, literally buzzing here in Australia with the singing of the Cicadas. These extraordinary insects live underground for seven years and then climb out to sing for their whole adult life of two to three weeks. This amazing encore of their life makes the trees shake alive with new voice. They have several different songs, some about love, others for danger and the loudest to detour birds that view them as appetizers. Imagine living above the ground under the blue blue sky for only a couple of weeks? It seems to me that singing your heart out isn’t a bad idea, but what would you do? How would your words, actions and focus in life shift? What would you sing about?

I love to ponder these questions when life becomes heavy or stuck. During the times when I wake up preoccupied by the little things that have gathered importance as they rolled down my hill of worry, but are forgotten as easily as they arrived. In these moments I’ve learned how helpful it is to downsize focus so that the day that you’re in becomes your only canvas.

If you are a planner and many of us are, including this author, the act of throwing out the long term even for a day can be as frightening as that shark encounter at the aquarium. It may feel like the compass is missing, cracked or gone askew. You may even ask “If I’m not looking long term, then how can I steer the course of my life? Won’t I find myself washed off course on some deserted beach I don’t recognize?”

Maybe, but the beauty of that beach is that it is often much more beautiful than any plan you could have imagined would be. There will be people and opportunities and views from that beach that I guarantee will astound you. This beach is called the present moment.

The secret of the present moment is something that my husband taught me years ago. Whenever I began to over plan and worry as I looked to a land far far away that didn’t really exist, he would gently remind me “if we look after today, tomorrow will take care of itself.” And you know what? He was right. By living in the moment, treating the people around you with love and pursuing work and interests that make your heart sing as loud as an Australian Cicada, the rest takes care of itself. And the simple trick is, you wake up the next day and start again. And don’t worry, if you forget and do start travelling to that land far away, the next day or next moment will always be there, patiently waiting for you.

This month I invite you to practice living in the present moment. For one month, and the shortest month of the year for you planners, allow yourself the luxury of setting the word “planning” to the side. Replace this word with “living”. In January you set your intentions for the year and February is the month to begin living them. Take it slow, one day at a time and really enjoy each moment. Discover the details in your days, listen to the words your children choose, taste your food at each meal, really see your partner or friends and get absorbed by these beautiful details greeting you each day. From this space, begin to celebrate in the discovery that perhaps what you now have in your life is what you’ve spent so much time planning for. And I promise, that by connecting into the present moment you will find that your life opens in many mysterious and wonderful ways.

For tips on how to bring more mindfulness into your present moment see “mindfulness tips in February” below.

This is a monthly inspiration piece brought to you by ‘everyday balance’. If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter each month, please send your name and email address to chrisadler@everydaybalance.net or visit this website in the first week of each month. For information regarding meditation, yoga or life coaching appointments in person, by telephone or online, send an email to the above address with your name and phone number or visit the contacts section of this website.

posted under 2008 life balance

mindfulness tips in february

February1

1) Slow down your movements, instead of rushing through the washing up or laundry, feel the texture of the dishes, soap suds or clothes. Allow these tasks to become a time of relaxation rather than a chore.

2) Approach your everyday tasks in a new way. One friend of mine brushes her teeth with her left hand to create mindfulness and bring her back to the present moment. Why not walk a different way to work, buy your coffee at a new cafe, eat a different breakfast, have dinner on a picnic rug outside instead of at the table? By approaching everyday tasks differently, the mind is forced to become more mindful because it steps out of auto pilot and into action.

3) Bring new mindfulness to your speech, body language, spending or meals. Concentrate on each aspect for only one day. For example allow yourself to be the audience of your own words. Really choose those words with care and watch the effect your words have on others. At the end of the day make note if this influenced your interaction with or feeling of the world. Try a different focus for one day in the following week.

4) When you catch your mind wandering into dwelling on the past or planning for the future, gently picture those thoughts as white large clouds against an cobalt blue sky. Acknowledge them and then let them pass bringing yourself back into your present moment. It may help to bring your consciousness to the feeling of your feet on the ground, what you are sitting on, the temperature of the air around you. Use these grounding aspects of your body in the world to bring you back into the present moment.

posted under 2008 life balance
« Older EntriesNewer Entries »