Ok, so it is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. But that’s not why I’m jubilant this Friday. Instead it’s because I started my practice of meditation and morning pages today and I’m feeling all proud of myself for doing what I said I was going to! I hope that I continue to do these practices for the rest of my life! (BIG statement but I’m in a jubilant mood).
I am also looking forward to the long weekend and the good weather and the opportunity to create some more Youtube videos for your entertainment and education. Check out my Youtube Channel and have a look (and a laugh) at what I’ve done so far.
Chris and I are planning to do lots more videos like this as we drive across the USA on our Route 66 tour! So subscribe to my channel now and be the first to see them. It will be almost as if I was teaching you in Northern Ireland except I’ll be in California or Arizona or New Mexico or Illinois! And you might be on your holidays too but be able to have a stretch with me wherever you are.
Sometimes you just gotta love technology!
I am planning to restart my meditation practice thanks to the amazing online support I get from Susan Piver and the Open Heart Project. I have signed up for her Practitioner Level training which at $108 a year is unbelievably reasonable for a year’s training! She also has a FREE basic level meditation practice (which is what I was doing around Christmas and the New Year) so that’s even more reasonable! She describes this level as suitable for “those who are brand new beginners, need a refresher, or simply want gentle reminders to practice” whereas the practitioner level is “about establishing your meditation practice and applying its unique benefits at work, in relationships, and along your inner journey.” In addition to the online meditation training and support she is also delivering an online meditation weekend retreat and an online bookclub as well as lots of other goodies so check her out.
“Meant for those who want to embrace fearlessness, joy, and ease.”
I have also been thinking a lot (and incessently internet browsing) about writing. Writing a blog, writing a novel or short story, writing articles for magazines, etc. And I’ve realised that what I actually need to do is WRITE! Stop the reading and start the writing. So, I have rediscovered a beautiful journal I had which has only about three lines written in it and I’m planning to restart the process of writing my ‘Morning Pages’.
In order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it. I ask you to do this by an apparently pointless process I call the morning pages.
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages– they are not high art. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Occasionally colorful, more often than not Morning Pages are negative, fragmented, repetitive or bland. Good! Worrying about your job, the laundry, the weird look your friend gave you – all that stuff distracts you from your creativity. It eddies through your subconsciousness and muddies your day. Get it on the page first thing in the morning and move on with your day with a freer spirit.
I LOVE this! And there is something so freeing about spilling your guts to the page every morning.
I believe these two practices will bring me back to where I was before my Granny died. I am hoping that I can gain some peace from the past two years of grieving and can restart the process of rebuilding my confidence and my career. And it all starts next week!
I don’t know about you but I have been feeling REALLY tired of late… So I was interested to read an article by Dr John Douillard of lifespa.com where he said:
Insomnia is a condition whereby people think that if they cannot get to sleep they have too much energy. They are often wired and simply cannot fall asleep. What I have found in my clinical practice is that most people who cannot sleep at night are, in fact, exhausted. Odd as it may seem, the body needs energy to calm or sedate itself for sleep. Without energy, we stay awake, “wired and tired”.
That is where I have been for the past few weeks – “wired and tired” – so it is with regret that I have to tell you I have had to go back onto my Bipolar medication to see if that would bring my bodyclock back into balance again. I was so excited to tell you about coming off the meds and feel like a bit of a fool for having to go back on them but I guess I really do have an illness as I had been feeling distinctly unwell again with symptoms of mania rising up quickly.
So now I am planning to try a few of Dr Douillard’s suggestions:
- Meditate twice daily. Sleep research studies have shown that meditation reduces the time of sleep onset to normal in patients with insomnia.
- Maintain a regular daily routine: rise, meditate, eat sleep, work exercise and play at the same time every day. Go to bed by 10pm, which is the end of the Kapha period when the mind and body are naturally drowsier. If you are not currently accustomed to being regular about your routine, you may want to start by first writing down a schedule to follow for the first few weeks.
- Eat Vata-pacifying Foods: If the mind is very active at bedtime follow a Vata-pacifying diet or light Vata diet. Have an early, light supper, such as soup or hot cereal, toast, warm milk at least three hours before bedtime.
- Enjoy dynamic and fulfilling activities during the day.
- Be sure to enjoy some light entertainment each day. Humorous books, movies or being in pleasant situations with family and friends will all fulfill this recommendation.
- Be Calm: To the extent possible, avoid situations which tend to cause anxiety, worry, or anger.
I hope that these suggestions will help me to regulate my mood swings which will, in turn, mean I can get a good night’s sleep for a change! After all, studies link disturbed sleep with increased cortisol production (a stress hormone) and weight gain and I definitely don’t want that! I have other plans to help bring my life back into balance and I will tell you about these soon … so keep reading!
29 years ago I was in Primary 3 and a neighbour came into the classroom and began whispering with my teacher. I knew they were talking about me because they kept looking over and then the teacher told me that I had to go home to my neighbour’s house rather than my own. I couldn’t understand what was going on. Why were they talking about me? Had I been bad? Did Mum and Dad not love me any more? At my neighbours house I watched ‘John Craven’s Newsround’ which mentioned that two policemen had been killed in Northern Ireland and I still remember thinking how sad that must be for their families. I didn’t think that I would be one of those family members, but I was.
I only mention this because I have been thinking about how childhood incidents impact on adult behaviours and I have realised that this need to know what is going on all around me and to try and control everything in my life and to be perfect all the time stems from this incident 29 years ago.
My Uncle’s death was terrible and tore the heart out of my beloved grandparents but for me I hardly knew the man. Instead I grew up with the icon, the carefully crafted image from my Aunt and cousins. If he had lived he’d be 68 (I think) but our lives would be very different. I wouldn’t have had that experience of watching my Mum screaming and crying and not being able to help her or take her pain away, no matter how good I was. And he would just be an ordinary man instead of a saint.
I always thought I didn’t have any “incidents” in my childhood that could have caused my adult depression then bipolar disorder. It’s amazing what surfaces when you start to really look! I am so grateful for my yoga and meditation practice as they help me through this introspection.
My time with the Meanwhile Space initiative in Lurgan is coming to an end and the Stretch NI Studio in High Street will be closing its doors on Saturday 17th December 2011. While I am sad to be going, I am proud of myself for giving it a go in the first place and then for realising that it wasn’t profitable enough to allow me to continue.
So, I am hoping to deliver a ‘winter warmer workshop’ on the 17th to leave the studio on a high and I really hope you can join me.
Time: 11.30am to 2pm
£25.00 (ONLY £20 if booked by 12 Dec)
Venue: Stretch NI Studio, 8a High Street, Lurgan
The workshop will consist of:
. Yoga-Lattes Practice to warm us up physically
. Breathing Practice to warm us up mentally
. Relaxation Practice to prepare us for Christmas
. The World Famous Chocolate Meditation!
This can only run if I get enough people so, for more information or to book a place, please contact me and let’s say goodbye to the Stretch NI Studio and see 2011 out in style!
Then, come 2012, it will be all systems go for the new studio space at Columbia Gym on the Portadown Road in Lurgan. I will tell you more about that in a later blog post…