Staying present, restoring serenity
Day 61/366 days Towards Self-Mastery. Mood: mellow
We immerse ourselves in the hectic pace of a myriad of activities, conducting our lives on a schedule, checking off our to-do lists, meeting deadlines, thinking ahead, planning the details, and spreading ourselves thin in our attempt to juggle the responsibilities of work, home, family, relatives, friends, education, career advancement and more.
This is a life that is lived in the distractions. Distracted from the very things that are meaningful and fulfilling. Connection with others, knowing ourselves deeply, curiosity about the meaning of life, accessing our creativity as we explore and grow.
The hectic pace of our lives robs us of our serenity, our peace of mind.
Today is an opportunity to bring serenity into our lives
Harness those tasks and stay present with each one, giving them the full attention of your mind, body and soul as you consciously complete each task.
Make a practice of this and you will restore serenity, and still accomplish everything with less fuss and exhaustion. It's difficult to believe but I know it to absolutely true from first hand experience.
As a mother parenting solo, the damaging effects of trying to keep all those balls in the air initially showed up as panic attacks. Juggling a new business, training staff, and sourcing business, a young family, schooling, after school activities, weekend activities, a home and garden, harsh winters, sleepless nights, and exhaustion eventually took it's toll on my health. That's after navigating a 3 year exit strategy from my previous business, and completely renovating my home.
With a young family it didn't take me long to realise that something needed to change if I was going to retain my health in the long term. Priorities adjusted quickly, my work hours dropped from 60 to 15 hours per week. Driven by this frenetic pace of life, most of the activities that filled my day, I discovered, had little real value and weren't at all necessary.
Shedding my workload to the absolute minimum necessary to keep things afloat gave me time to heal.
Income was compromised in favour of my health, and it was the most important decision I made for my longterm well-being. It released more time with my family, more time for self-care, my connection with nature.
A frenetic lifestyle frays your nervous system and resets it to super vigilant mode. To establish serenity, to find peace of mind, I needed to calm my nervous system down.
Stillness, gentle activities, a calm mind, slow walking, time to sit and enjoy the day, deep breathing, Qi Gong, and any other means of retraining my nervous system supported me to reach a place of calmness.
Nowadays I try to remain conscious of my daily activities. A meal that is prepared consciously becomes a meal that is filled with grace. There's a love for the ingredients that emerges as I focus only on that one task. The thoughtful and conscious attention becomes transmuted in the flavour.
However my active mind wants to race ahead. Wants to be figuring out this and that, problems solving and solution finding. To be present, to live consciously every single day is a constant practice.
When priorities are reordered in favour of what's really important, everything slows down. That's the first step. When you can slow your life down, you can reset your nervous system to a calmer mode with less anxiety. The peace of mind that it brings is priceless.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.