My blog series started BL - Before Lockdown. We are now a year and some months down the line and much as the world has changed in the last 18 months, my theme has not changed much. In fact - it has become more urgent than ever.
We need to live more deliberately.
We live mostly in automation mode and may look back one day and feel we have hardly lived at all. Or we live for the future, delaying doing many important things 'to do another day'. That day may never come.
Life is less linear and more unpredictable than ever. No-one is assured of anything anymore, especially how many tomorrows we may have. We all know someone who we never thought would succumb to COVID but did. Our universe of people has shrunk dramatically and unexpectedly.
If you had to die tomorrow, or in a week or two (which has suddenly become a thought we have to face) will you have done what you wanted to? Will you have planned as you should have? And most importantly, will you have fully lived each moment?
Instead of living mindfully, ensuring that each moment is well spent, and felt, we fly through our days hardly aware of what we're doing while surrounded by a million distracting things. Our days are filled with stressful thoughts, nights don’t give sufficient rest, and our list of what we should do but don’t get around to grows.
Come with me to the woods...
Imagine living fully in the moment. Think of how it would feel to be immersed in what you are doing for some of the day at least. Perhaps it's simply being aware of your breath! Just doing that for a brief while is quite exquisite. Imagine having clear energy available to put your absolute best into each today.
When we fully live each moment, a day can be a beautiful lifetime. More than ever people are now aware of the need to live deliberately, fully and joyfully, and to build their wellbeing and resilience.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. Henry David Thoreau
Living Deliberately: The Basics
A good place to start living deliberately is by doing the basics in the best way possible. If you simply breathe intelligently, keep your self nourished, and get a good nights sleep your life will completely transform - simply from doing the basics better.
Nourishing Body, Mind and Soul
Nourishment is more than just the food we consume, it is what we consume with all our senses. We deplete ourselves when we eat food that does not create but rather gobbles energy. We also deplete ourselves when we over-indulge on social media, and under-indulge in nature, music, beauty and touch. We should take in what we need to build our energy to ensure quality of life, resilience and good health generally. When we take in more of what depletes than energises, we are going to be left with a zero sum in the energy account which results in declining health, anxiety and stress. We also risk ending up potentially disconnected from nurturing relationships when we give too much time to social media and virtual relating.
Getting More than a Good Night's Rest
Do you know that your brain is incredibly active while you are sleeping? Your brain is doing all kinds of clever things such as getting rid of toxins, storing information into memory, controlling various hormones that contribute to overall physical and mental well-being, ensuring good brain function and making cytokines that support a strong immune system - to mention just a few! There is so much to learn about good sleep habits in terms of both our sleep hygiene as well as sleep architecture.
Learning how to ensure a good night's rest is one of the best things you can do to ensure you live your best day when you wake up!
Breathing to Thrive rather than to Stay Alive
Luckily for us, we are designed magnificently. Basic functions such as breathing happen automatically. Imagine if you had to think about each inhale and exhale! The catch however is that even though our breathing is automatic it is often not optimal. Stressful living and circumstances cause us to breathe faster and shallower, which in turn exacerbates our levels of stress. Massive amounts of incoming information (a fairly addictive stimulant) along with poor lifestyles result in a viscous cycle of stressful breathing, unconscious living and increasing health issues.
The rythm, rate and ratio of our breath is critical. Slight changes in these result in a very different experiences on all levels. Our breath rate is deeply connected to the functioning of our nervous system, influencing our emotional state, our physical wellness and our very sense of being! Learning to be aware of our breath and to breathe intelligently is simply put, life-changing. Science has isolated breath awareness and slow breathing as a huge common factor that experienced meditators, and people with high levels of resilience, mental strength and inner joy share.
Becoming aware of our breath is becoming aware of life.
Cohort Learning On-line Series
It seems therefore that we don't automatically do the basics correctly, or often learn poor habits over time. The critical moment comes when we realise this and decide to cultivate healthy habits, deliberately.
In my work as a coach focusing mainly on mental wellness, resilience and personal development, I have been running on-line masterclasses in various organisations over the last 18 months, giving an introduction to the above topics. I will now be running similar classes for anyone who would like to learn how to shift to a more deliberate lifestyle, and also potentially become part of a group who can work together to build purposeful routines.
The first class will be around how you can effectively create healthier habits and a purposeful routine. Understanding how the brain works when it comes to building habits is vital. If we don't get this right to some degree we will stay stuck in good beginnings and poor endings. There will be 3 further classes on how and why to do the basics optimally.
The classes are modular so you can attend as many as you wish. Each one can stand alone or form part of a series of learning. You can also get the recording should you not be able to make the dates that I give the class on-line. Each class will be followed by a one hour workshop to integrate the information and help build healthy habits. The workshop will follow a week or so after the class to give those watching the recording a chance to watch. This way we can create a cohort working with one or more topics. A cohort is a group who work through specific information together, encourage each other and offer accountability. It has proven to be one of the best ways for adults to learn new info. I personally highly recommend investing the time and effort to form part of a cohort. I find it easier to build new habits and break bad ones by working within a small group. The cost of these classes will structured in such a way that they are accessible to everyone.
Please let me know if you are interested in learning more about these basics so I can send you further info. It will be a great way to end the year, by accessing new information in order to start your 2022 in a more deliberate and joy-filled way. Remember - joy is something that we can own in spite of difficult circumstances. Joy is beyond happiness and goes down to a deeper level of being and trusting.
Our basic classes will lead on to further offerings to increase awareness and connection next year. Each day lived fully and well is a gift beyond measure.