Choice is a powerful act in mindfulness and is the purest form of freedom. Often most of us forget that we have options in nearly all situations we find ourselves in. In this post I want to explore with you how giving yourself back choice, instead of succumbing to the feeling of obligation, is the most fulfilling way to true self-awareness.
I recently stumbled across this old article in Psychologies magazine by Edith Eger, holocaust survivor and author of her book The Choice, on how to be truly free. In this article, Edith explains how it was her choice to set herself free from her painful past that gave her true happiness. It's often our reaction to what we perceive as a negative situation that we struggle to shake off the most. This usually causes us to harbour deep-rooted feelings around that said situation and can lead us to avoid any situation that could cause us to feel that way again. But what if we decided to give ourselves the choice to feel differently or to let go? Or even to be OK in our own uncomfortableness? Just because you feel a certain way about something doesn't mean you do not have the choice to change the way it effects you. Edith tells us that we can experience our lives more fully if we accept that bad things happen and embracing it. That's some great advice.
The choice mindset isn't just about how you chose to feel. It's also about what you decide to take on. How many of us have never said no to a work colleague or a family member in fear of rejection? But we're often left feeling overwhelmed and overstretched. This unhelpful belief that people will think you're unhelpful and unkind when you do not take them up on their request is sticky for a lot of people, and it doesn't factor in your own self preservation. Next time you find yourself in this situation, think about how this will impact your mind and energy, and then make your decision from there. Saying no does not mean you are a bad person and you'd be surprised at how understanding others will be of your decision. They're human too after all!
No matter how difficult a situation is, you always have your choice. Chose to feel your emotions and bring new perspectives to a problem. Chose to say no when you do not want to do something. Chose to do nothing for a day. Chose self-compassion and self-love. I promise you it will be one of the best things you've ever done.
When I was asked to put a proposal together for Brown-Forman's BenRiach distillery I was in fact 'cacking my pants'. This wasn't my first corporate 'gig' but it was my first distillery. How would a traditional trade industry take to my 'hippie thinking'? (ref, direct quote from my father). Proposal sent, session underway.
What I hadn't appreciated until now was the creativity, curiosity and openness that the wonderful employees of BenRiach would have. I was so happy to see that a book regarding the Company's diversity and story on the reception table and on the wall emblazoned was be CURIOUS. What a great start to my session.
The session was created to get to know people as human beings. What was there values, skills, nature. Sometimes when we forget the truth of the situation as we are wrapped up in the reaction/feeling and sometimes we forget who as humans, we are. We are conditioned by society, by people, by our corporate culture. We forget that our reactions as humans to a situation may be very different to our reaction to a situation in work.
There were some surprises, some laughs, some great discussions and not once did we discuss job titles or our roles in the organisation. How refreshing to be discussing ourselves as people. For some this was uncomfortable, how unusual to be speaking about our feelings and our though processes with people that we work with. However, how refreshing that we could start to see these people, that we spend a huge amount of time with, for who they really are and what makes them tick.
We meditated a lot. We looked at how our breathing can counteract the fight or flight response in all situations. This concept of meditation was completely new to most of the group and everyone gave it a go. We finished with a gratitude practice which counteracts our negative bias. By practicing gratitude we start to see the good in things, the good in life, the good in the moment.
I certainly found a lot of good in working with BenRiach. What a great bunch of people, a great story, a great future and in the moments that we spent together - for this I am grateful.
If you would like to know more about the corporate sessions I can run for your business, please get in touch with me directly.
I have recently returned from an amazing weekend in Lochgoilhead. Carrick Castle Estate was the base for a wonderful wellness retreat run by Dynamique fitness and I cannot recommend this weekend highly enough.
I am your typical guilt ridden, frazzled working mum. Whilst my mindfulness teachings and techniques certainly make that bearable, the normal, human worries and stresses do pop in to my mind now and again. I also find myself falling off the wagon with my health and fitness when either Andrew (my husband) isn't around and when the childcare comes first, then the dog care comes second and by the time the house is a disaster zone I've forgotten about that class I signed up to do.
Enter Coach Cha and her wonderful Wellness Weekend. My friend sent this over to me, thought it would be right up my street and she was bang on. Having looked at the schedule I was sold. Although, I also had not sold enough of my time to fund it either. So it was a no. Lucky for me I managed to manifest some good fee paying work and I immediately booked my spot :-)
As you can see from the schedule, there was hiit workouts, yoga, sleep yoga, meditations, hill climbs, running and exploration. All available to you, if you wanted to or not. You had time to chill out in the hot tub, the sauna, or in bed, reading. You chose to partake in anything you wished. I have to admit, it's the most exercise I've ever done!! Feeling great for it though. Cha's hiit workouts don't leave you feeling that it was horrendous like most classes I attend. I was definitely sweaty though. If you wanted you could have a massage by the most lovely girls who work at Hampden Sports Clinic. Just what you need after a tough hill climb which was HARD but a great laugh.
I must mention the food. Cha's husband, brother and sister in law were a superb catering team who provided choice of chicken, fish or vegetarian dishes, well balanced and healthy. For every meal we had selection, delights and great recipes. They have started their own business and you should check them out Fuel Kitchen Scotland.
The most amazing thing about this weekend were the people I met. All normal and inspirational in their own way. We weren't all vegan loving yogis. We were real people, with real jobs, with real trauma and stress, babies, super careers, super athletes, jewellery designers, wives, mothers, cyclists, teachers, calligraphists, wedding planners, supply chain managers, physios, accountants, ski instructors, rugby players, lawyers...and little ol me. It was amazing. The people were amazing. Coach Cha was amazing and I'm now well signed up to her programme as I can fit it into my world.
INSPIRED, reset and renewed. One weekend, one great bunch of people with a cleverly thought out, well balanced programme of fitness and health. I highly recommend. Get in touch with Cha at Dynamique Fitness here for the retreat details for September.
We all seek a reduction of stress, anxiety and negative moments and by reducing these we manage to have a more balanced, somewhat happier life. The pace of modern life has an important impact on our wellbeing and our sedentary life is one of the main cause of the stress we feel regularly. That's where getting out in nature, is one of the simplest and most intuitive activities to improve these increasingly important parameters for happiness and well-being.
We spend too much time in the office, in front of screens with artificial light: all conditions that make us feel tired, off- centre and bored. Interacting with nature in nature is one of the best tools for self-improvement. I mean get out, take a walk, breathe in that clean, fresh air and look up and out to what is in front of you. This interaction with green spaces offers other therapeutic benefits. For example, by appreciating the sounds of nature or the silence outdoors, you can lower blood pressure and levels of cortisol, the stress hormone and acts like it's own little meditation.
Bring nature in to your own life whenever you can. Time spent in nature has in its entirety a great deal of beneficial effects, regardless of the activity in which it takes place: a daily walk in a park or a Saturday afternoon on a local path, is as beneficial to clocking up the miles on a training run.
Go with friends, go alone, put the right clothes on, take your furry friend and get out there in the green. A study in 2014 found that walking in a group in nature is as effective as hiking alone in terms of reducing depression and stress and improving overall mental health. Nature can have a powerful effect on our mental state and there are many ways to draw on it. The best (and only) way to experience the effectiveness of eco-therapy is simply to spend more time outdoors, trying to interact with other living beings.
Among the proven effects on wellness of eco-therapy here are some more from the clever people out there studying such things:
It can be difficult in Scotland to get out there when the weather is bad and the snow is coming straight at you. But as my favourite comedian, Billy Connelly says, "There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing, so get yourself a sexy raincoat and live a little."
Well yes, I have been putting lots off. There are always plenty of housework, baby stuff, cooking, walking dogs, ringing electricians...builders etc to do that gets in the way of what I should really be doing. My aim was to update my website and hopefully, if this is reaching you then I've blooming well gone and done it!! Yipee. It takes time though and it's also scary to think that you are putting yourself out here, on the line. Not that anyone is rating or slating me I hope but it's a scary thought. However, I've decided to practice what I preach and just get on with it. Who cares, maybe no one will read this anyway!
A couple of things to keep you posted on. We have an amazing 6 week Tranceform Journey starting at Heat Fitness, Springkerse, Stirling, on the 21st of February 2019. This follows what was our 8 week journey but I've tweaked it and made it even better. Dropped a few things that took a lot of time and kept the ones that you absolutely loved last time. If you've not experienced our teachings yet and want to check us out you can drop in on the night or sign up for the 6 week block. If you do you get a discount ;-)
I am also keen to collaborate more with others to present to you some fabulous content. For those of you who made it along to our sold out reset and renew workshop we had Chris Harley, Performance Psychologist join us to facilitate you to understand your values, your barriers and your actionable tasks to achieve your ambitions. It was great and we hope to have him join us again soon.
If you aren't signed up to our email list please do so to be the first to know about our workshops and courses and to get those early bird tickets.
My last thoughts for today are do it, that one thing that you have been putting off as it really is that. Just get on with it, get your finger out, do it, tick it off the list. Trust me, as a mood boosting fix it is really up there with dancing and singing with Bradley Cooper...WHAT? no, I haven't done that but how amazing would that be!!
May you have a peaceful day.