Stop Reaching—Start Living
by Susan Kinsey
As we start a new year, many will begin the annual search for a ‘WORTHY’ New Year’s resolution to try and bring some much needed happiness to our life - a so called ‘happy’ goal. Why do we do this? What drives our need to give ourselves a goal just because it’s the start of a New Year? Is it the need to believe next year will be better than last year? Or the constant programming that forms part of everyday life in the developed world to be thinner, fitter, healthier, happier or wealthier? Have we become unconsciously blinded by the constant inner and outer chatter that tells us we must do better or that we do not have enough?
This is not to say that goal setting is wrong. Goals are an important and necessary part of life. Good goals come about as part of the natural life journey. Our psyche, as a result of millions of years of evolution, is incredibly adapt at identifying where, when and how we need to change our behaviour. But good or worthwhile goals are unlikely to be created during the forced ritualistic process that coincides with the start of a New Year. These goals can give us an instant high; a sense of believing we are going to suddenly improve our lives.
They can even provide some short term benefit such as a couple of sessions down the gym or a few days without alcohol. But more often than not they fizzle away, often ending with disappointment and sometimes feeling like we’ve failed.
Instead, I suggest that you start a new journey to bring more calmness into your life so that it becomes a part of your everyday existence. We are constantly over-thinking, over-tired, over-worked and over-stressed. But learning how to breathe properly and bring about a meditative state of being can have almost immediate and transformational benefits that, once unlocked, stay with us forever. Finding inner calm can often be the single most useful tool in managing our emotions, quietening our mind and bringing a sense of peace, harmony and balance to our everyday life. What if right now you had the tools to just allow yourself to completely relax and indulge in a few moments of complete calmness to re-energise your mind and body? How good would that feel?
With regular practice meditation becomes a state of being that can be achieved anywhere and at any time. It leads to a clearer understanding of our own inner psyche, making us more aware as our thoughts arise and fall away and ultimately to start unpicking our unconscious patterns of thoughts and behaviour. Over a period of time, the space between one thought and another increases and we can actually start to have greater peace in our minds. By being better aware of our emotional state we can learn to pause just for a moment. Taking a few conscious breaths at regular intervals at anytime or in any space, especially when we feel our unconscious self trying to take control over our rational thoughts, will enable our minds to respond in a more positive and calm manner as each situation arises.
Becoming more consciously aware of our actions can have a positive impact on energy levels, sleeping patterns, eating and general diet awareness, spending habits, relationships, decision making, well-being and happiness. Meditation can help to change many of those areas of our lives that we seek to improve through a New Year ‘happy’ goal.
Here are some simple steps for a gentle morning routine to help you to raise your vibration and bring you into a state awareness:
Just before you get out of bed, sit or lay quietly for a few moments bringing your awareness to your heart space and take three deep heart conscious breaths, noticing the rise and fall of the body (not changing anything, just watching) and as you focus on this sensation think of one thing that you are grateful for, just one thing.
This feeling of gratitude can set the vibration for the day.
Now imagine now that you are surrounded in a bright white light, holding you in an embrace from the top of your head to the tips of your toes and know that you are supported in every way in your journey through life.
If you have time during the morning routine, really feel the sensation and the warmth of the water in the shower and just gently bring your awareness back to your breathing and for a few moments follow the journey of the breath in and out of the body.
By doing these simple acts at the beginning of each day brings your awareness to the present moment so you can enjoy each task as they arise throughout the day.
Reflections on meditation:
“When I was pregnant with my last child I did hypnobirthing, which was my first introduction to meditation. Three traumatic births had led me down this path to help when labouring but also to help me to face another birth. But I found that I couldn't do it, I could not just relax and focus even though I had a reason to make it work.
My brother and sister-in-law were also due to have a baby. We had all done a course of hypnobirthing together. Over Christmas they came to stay with us.
I remember that my brother-in-law would disappear into the bathroom, into a deep hot bath with the same meditation cd that I was trying to use - and lose himself- for 45 mins. But when I listened to the cd all that happened was that my thoughts, my to do list, fears and anything I could think of would creep in, fill my space and clutter my mind. Frustrated and said I didn't know how he managed to meditate. He could see I was distressed and fearful of my pending birth and said that he gave himself permission when he reached the bathroom door to put his life on hold for 45 mins. There was nothing he could do to change in that time but switch off and freeze time. He knew anything he had to deal with wouldn't go away and any challenges would still be there, when he stepped out of the bathroom, but because he allowed himself that space, time and calm he was rested and in a better place to deal with what life gave to him.
I didn’t think it would work for me, but it did, and my hypnobirthing was an amazing experience where I felt in control and empowered. I didn't meditate for many years afterwards, until I took the class which I have been attending for the passed year. I'm so happy to have returned to it - meditation is something for me that I have both learned and grown from.”
"Meditation came in to my life when things seemed in total chaos. It brought a calm and a light into my life that has left me forever changed."
"Meditation to me is self-love, every day I take a moment to let my mind just be, I let the thoughts flow, I do not judge , love or hate them in that moment, I am just me."
"Practicing meditation gives me permission to take time for myself , to just stop, rebalance and start again."