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What I learnt this week: Anything and everything

It’s very easy to get caught up, so busy living your life that you start to travel down a very specific path.  Closing off other opportunities- you can only see one way forward.  Well, that’s until you get some perspective and realise the world is full of possibilities.

The best way to do this is by stepping out of your world.  Because when you’re in your usual world, you only see that.  I travelled to Laos for a little r & r trip with mum over Easter.  I turned off my phone for a week and it was pure bliss.  I didn’t do my usual routine.  I didn’t cross things off a never ending to do list.  I just was.  I caught up on sleep.  I did exactly what I wanted to, when I wanted.  And for the first time in a long time I felt like I had space to breathe.

Not only that, but a different way to be.  I don’t know exactly where I’m heading after my current job (as my contract ends soon) but that was ok.  Instead of being filled with dread.  I was filled with the sense of possibility.  Anything could happen next .  I don’t have to be worried.

But if I was in my little world I’m pretty sure I would’ve been overwhelmed with the prospect of being unemployed soon.  Because I was on a break- I felt optimistic.  I think it’s so important to get out of your world every now again.  Turn off the phone.  Turn off from the usual.  And let the unknown be exciting, rather than scary.

Laos was one of the most amazing trips I’ve been on.  It was filled with fun- bathing an elephant in the river, trekking through the jungle, cooking, visiting markets, cruising on the Mekong.  You name it we did it.  It filled me with a sense of wonder, a passion for the world.  Which made me feel truly alive.  Truly happy and truly present.  Not planning for somewhere in the future.  In the words of my friend Ellie Goulding  I now feel ‘Anything can happen.’  And that’s no longer a scary thought.  It’s exciting.

What I learnt this week: A gem of advice

I was lucky enough to see Ruby Wax at the Melbourne Comedy Festival recently. Fascinating stuff!   The show was in relation to her latest book- ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled.’  I thought the whole ‘mindfulness’ term was just a wanky buzz word.  But oh, how wrong I was…

Mindfulness will save humans from themselves…if we embrace it!  Ruby talked about how much everything around us (technology) has evolved and how our brains are overloaded with too much info.  In fact we technically have 3 brains competing- hence all the voices in our heads (no it’s not just me.)

They all want different things.  And they all believe they’re protecting us.  But the world has changed since cave times and we don’t have the same things to worry about.  However our brains haven’t caught up with that.  So right now they’re damaging us- because we are under their control.  Using mindfulness to watch our brains try and take over we can become aware of it happening.

The is the trick- ‘AWARENESS IS THE KEY TO EVERYTHING.’  This was a light bulb moment for me when Ruby proclaimed these words.  Once you’re aware of what’s happening in your brain, it no longer controls you.  You can just sit back and watch the thoughts- they are not true, they are just thoughts!  Through being mindful we can learn not to take on the falsehoods of our ‘brains’ trying to protect us.

Another huge way we can become mindful is to connect to our senses.  For example you can’t be completely in the moment hearing everything around you and obsessively sculling wine, whilst trying to decode a some guys text message (for example).  It gives you a break from your brain.  Let’s you breathe and reset.  Ultimately giving you a chance to think clearly.

I’m most definitely not doing Ruby justice in my explanations here but if you want to learn how to help yourself before your brain implodes- get her book!!!  Apart from being extremely informative, she’s hilarious.  So now I’m all for mindfulness.  And if that makes me wanky- I don’t care!

What I learnt this week: My therapist…Adele

Last weekend I saw Adele perform live in concert.  From the moment she stepped on stage I was captivated. Not only is she exceptionally talented, her personality is infectious. You can’t not like her ‘I don’t give a shit what you think’ attitude. Although somehow she still manages to appear humble. I don’t know how the girl does it!

To be honest I wasn’t the biggest fan of her music when I first heard it. But I’m definitely converted now. And hearing her sing her heart out in the flesh only made me love her more. The raw emotions that she pours into her songs is the reason I believe she’s so popular, (apart from having the voice all the angels ever born).

I spoke to friends who were at the concert too and they had the same reaction when she first came out- we were overwhelmed and had a little cry. Not because we were sad but we were definitely overcome. Adele has a way of sharing a little bit of her soul that makes it a cathartic experience for everyone that hears her.

During the show I actually deleted photos of my ex-boyfriend that I hadn’t been able to let go of. It may sound silly but Adele shifted something in me.  Her whole performance was kinda like a big therapy session. Crying over loves that hurt us, laughing out loud at her jokes and feeling strong from the words of advice she offered.

The last song she sang was ‘Someone like you.’ Not my fav. However, after she described how the song came about I loved it. Adele never wrote it to get famous. She wrote it because she needed to help herself move on. And that resonated with people around the world. Clearly!

We’ve all been there- unable get over someone we’ve cared about. Told it will take time. And it will. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less. It’s been 5 months since my sudden break-up.  I’ve done all the things you do when it happens- cry, get angry, talk to friends, get drunk.  I didn’t get a drastic new hair cut but I contemplated it!  Because the thing is you do whatever you can until you feel ok.

And one day you will feel ok. One day you will stop hating that person. You may actually think of them and hope they’re ok too. Hope that they found what they were looking for. Hope above all that they’re happy (although maybe not as happy as when they were with you). At the end of the day the only healthy thing we can do is to move on because like my good friend Adele said- ‘Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.’

What I learnt this week: Who’s driving this thing?

Last weekend I spent the night at an ashram.  It was incredibly blissful and exactly what I needed.  Time to unwind and just be.  I was able to slow down and take things at my own pace.  Everyone needs to be able to do that but it has become increasingly difficult to do so.  Or has it?

Before I reveal what I learnt, I’ll tell you about my experience at Rocklyn Ashram.

I arrived, utterly exhausted on the Saturday afternoon.  Put my tent up in the blazing sun.  From here on in things started to get better.  Afternoon tea was served- a delightful apple pie, coupled by a cuppa under the shade of a peach tree.  Once I soaked in the superb serenity I started to feel better.

At 3.30pm it was time for yoga beside the dam.  After the session I showered and prepared for the ‘Havan’- a healing ceremony.  Now…this was a lot of chanting.  And I mean a lot!  I’ve gotten my over active mind on board with meditation and slowing down my yoga practice but I’m not enlightened enough to chant prayers a million times.  However I persevered and listened to everyone else around me.  And I did feel lighter afterwards.

Dinner was baked veggies and herbs from the garden- delicious.  I was full, content and ready for bed.  Slept in my tent with the windows open, watching the stars and listening to the birds (praying that a snake wouldn’t sneak into my tent and get me).

As you may have guessed I wasn’t eaten by a ravenous beast.   And I actually slept in, missing the morning yoga session! I must have needed the sleep!  Ate breaky and finished reading ‘Wild’ in my cosy little bed.

At 9am I decided to help the kitchen prepare lunch- it’s called Karma Yoga (doing things whilst being mindful).  Kinda like working for free but you do it gladly.  However after pulling spikey pumpkin leaves apart for 2 hours, I felt I’d earnt enough good karma.  Went and joined a meditation class, followed by lunch at the dam.

Spent the afternoon writing, feeling the cool breeze on my skin and sun on my feet.  But then it was time to leave.  I packed my tent with a heavy heart because I knew I had to go back to my hectic life.  As I drove away I was on the verge of tears.

How could I hold on to the feeling of serenity I’d discovered and bring it into my life?

There had to be a way…

I hit the highway after driving on 7km’s of dirt road.  I went from 40km’s to 100km’s.  It was too fast.  I felt out of control.  Even though it was the speed limit- it was too much!  That’s when it dawned on me.  I’m the one with my foot on the accelerator.  I’m in control! So I slowed down.  I drove the pace I wanted to go.  The pace I was comfortable with.

Sooooo, I realised that I could take this idea into my life.  I control my diary- how and when I do things.  Yes, I have deadlines but how I approach them is up to me.   I get to choose how fast I want to drive in my life.  Even if there’s some crazy maniac behind me, tooting and swearing at me to go faster-  I don’t have to!  I can pull over any time.

Because I’m in the driver’s seat of my life.