When life is twisting and turning, how can we find stability?
The week before last, in my Weekly Digest (and in classes), we went deep into exploring actionable ways to show up in the world when you're not feeling confident.
A lot of this has to do with how we see ourselves. Having perspective and clarity (out of the lens of self doubt and low self esteem).
We're often encouraged to start from a centred and grounded place that feels supportive. Steady.
...But when is anything ever steady? Really?
We know that life is ever twisting and changing. It´s uncertain other it ending. But how can we be as stable as we can be in the meantime, despite rocky experiences and all the feelings that go with them?
Here´s a couple of offerings in how to find stability when things are twisting and turning:
1) A practice in getting grounded fast - no matter where you are
Get physically grounded with what you have, wherever you´re at.
Try this little walking meditation:
Walk around a space, any space.
A room, corridor or somewhere outside.
Feel under your feet.
The texture of a yoga mat vs a stone floor for example. Carpet. Wood.
What do you notice?
Can you get really specific about the sensation?
Does your weight change in your footprint, adjusting to the terrain as you move?
I like to practice this exercise in different terrain. The rocks and pebbles on Brighton beach. The grass at St Anne´s Wells. The tarmac on the road up Fløyen mountain. The silt sand as I wade into sea water. You can choose your own – the key is feeling, noticing and identifying.
Often when I get home the first thing I like to do is remove my shoes so I can be bare foot. It can be just as effective. Feel the floor babes. Notice yourself there.
2) Get friendly with time
Are you a schedule kind of person or do you need freedom to be at your best?
How can you use your free time effectively to support yourself? And if you struggle even thinking about the concept of free time, that´s probably a hint to schedule in some structured time to rest and restore. A bike ride. A swim. A trip to the mountain. A cup of tea. An artist date. A daydream. A dawdle on the way to work. A wake up alarm set 5 minutes earlier so you don´t have to rush.
3) Be around folks that nourish you
I mean, this goes without saying. You know that old phrase – “you are the company you keep” so reflecting on who you spend your time with (physically or virtually) is likely to have an impact on the way you see, treat and thus support yourself.
Sure, life gets in the way and perhaps we don´t get much of a chance to be around our friends as much as we would like– i´m ever working on that not being my excuse (see previous paragraph!) but in a general sense, it´s always a good idea to reflect on how someone makes you feel. Do you end up feeling drained? Bruised? Uplifted? Light? It´s good to take a little check in post hanging out/chatting on the phone/texting/Snapchatting etc .
Your time is precious so spending your “free” moments with people who respect and support you rather than drain you is important and will make the twisty and turny parts of life a lot easier to navigate. If you´re lucky, you´ll find a friend that will support you through challenging times, even if it´s just by being present.
4) Make enough alone time
As an introvert (sure, we´re all a combination of both at any one time) it´s key for me to balance out social time with being alone to restore. As much as I enjoy spending quality time with good people, time alone enables me to practice self care and filling up my own cup. Which is often something most of us aren´t taught (hence my passion at any opportunity to encourage others to offer it to themselves)
Some self care tips here.
5) Eat food that helps you feel good. Make your own rules with that.
It´s a topic i´m often harping on about. You can read more here.
6) Make Sleep your friend
For years I was convinced I was one of those people who could simply live on 5 hours of sleep a night. I would fight sleep – worried I was lazy and that I had too much to do.
In recent years i´ve come to my senses and learned that getting enough sleep is essential for lots of good things to happen! Establishing a sleep routine that feels healthy for me (and healthy is relative and unique to each person!) has been a revolution in my life. Of course, it´s not always possible to always keep to it – especially in stressful periods, but it´s worth exploring and finding a rhythm and routine that feels good for you! If you slip some days, don´t worry about it, just do what you can do.
Do you struggle with sleep? Here´s a post with some actionable tips and tricks.
7) Be ok with balance being an ever-shifting concept
The first thing folks usually say to me when they hear i´m a yoga teacher amongst other stuff is “you must be so peaceful and relaxed all of the time!”
Hah! I can´t tell you how far from the truth that is.
I´m human. I have daily struggles like everybody else. Yes I practice, but sometimes it feels like work and reminding myself I´m probably more aware of my unhelpful behavioural patterns than I have ever been (which isn´t saying that i´m in any way more “advanced” or “enlightened”!!) Practice has shown me that things are always shifting and changing, and my experience is always different – every day!
Some days it´s easy to roll around on the floor. Others, simply laying on my back and breathing is all I can muster.
Most of all, by realising that it’s an ever-shifting process, and that it´s not about how I look in a pose, or whether I can get there or not, my practice has helped me acknowledge my journey doesn´t have a destination or end point… I hope not - I have accepted that this life thing for me is all about choosing to grow, explore, learn and hopefully develop and be a fraction of a bit more aware/useful than I was before….
When we can really accept that there´s always shifts, changes, regression and hopefully progression, we´re half way there. I mean, it´s all a process, right?
Even standing still, we´re never really still because hundreds of muscles, ligaments and tendons -big and small- amongst a heap of other body meat and bones and systems is moving around, wobbling, gyrating, pulsating, flowing, chugging, moving – just to enable that standing position to happen. Try standing on one leg and look down at the floor at your foot to see that in action!
Yay for our wonderful meat suits! (insert meat emoji!)
So here´s to the wobbles babes, embracing them as aids to helping us get clearer in seeing ourselves with more compassion, wonder and delight (and that it´s a working progress!).
Wishing all the best for you, whatever journey you´re on right now!