Taking time to just be

IMG_9868

JOYFUL GRATITUDE #153

Last Sunday I kept an entire day free of plans, so that I could recharge my batteries.  I had some work to do on my writing assignment and plenty of other to-dos, but I decided to first take some time for myself.

I spent an hour meditating, sitting in silence and trying to focus only on my breathing (which in reality ended up being more like becoming aware of my incessant thoughts and letting them come and go).  It felt like a reset for my overstimulated brain, a welcome break from constant inputs.

Afterwards, since the sun made a welcome appearance after some very rainy days, I took the chance to go for a slow walk in the neighbourhood. I did my best to stay as much as possible on the sunny side of the street to soak up lots of vitamine D and watched people enjoying the good weather as I ambled along.

The autumn colours were beautiful, with colourful leaves holding tight to their branches and covering the pavement.  I also enjoyed observing the details of the last flowers remaining in people’s gardens, like this purple flower with its silky petals emerging from the strange black and green pod, and the petals around the remnants of this bordeaux-coloured flower.

IMG_9858

Meditating in the morning

IMG_6431

JOYFUL GRATITUDE #91

At the beginning of this year, I followed a mindfulness course for eight weeks and thanks to the accountability of my fellow class mates I managed to make time to meditate daily for a few months. I tried my best to keep up these good habits afterwards, but little by little the habit slipped and I was not as regular in my practice.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve reminded myself of the benefits regular meditation had and I’ve been consciously making more of an effort to take those ten or fifteen minutes in the morning to calm my mind and come back to myself.  I’m grateful that I can dedicate time to my self-care before heading off into the busy world, so I can be more present to what is going on in and around me.

Family time

IMG_4791

JOYFUL GRATITUDE #73

I am grateful for having had the luxury of a long weekend at home in France to recharge my batteries.  It was a pleasure to catch up with my family, chatting and laughing while enjoying delicious meals, a fusion of slow cooked French traditional dishes alongside Lebanese delicacies.  Cakes were abundant as always, as well as Easter treats in many forms (including an unexpected chocolate clam!).

Not everything revolved around food though, we also soothed our mind with some lovely spontaneous meditation sessions, lying side by side on our mats, our heads supported by lavender filled cushions as we did our best to focus on the guided body scan. It was particularly fun to debrief afterwards and compare our experiences:)

Committed to slowing down

IMG_4688

Things I’ve noticed since the start of my mindfulness course:

  • It’s much easier to watch Narcos for 45 minutes than to carve out those same 45 minutes for a daily body scan meditation (and at the end of the body scan I never think to myself ‘just one more’!)
  • Pausing instead of reacting like I normally do has positive effects on me and my communication with others.
  • I spend a huge amount of my days on autopilot, just going through the motions without stopping to think about what I am doing.  When I do stop and breathe, it seems increasingly absurd.
  • Being more mindful has made me more aware of how I race from one thing to the next and how fast others around me are rushing. I deeply believe we could all benefit from slowing down and I’m committed to starting with myself. I’ve reduced my working hours to 80% and am consciously trying to BE more and DO less. Let’s see how it goes!

Being present

IMG_3311
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #65

I’ve recently started an 8 week mindfulness course and in the last week I have meditated daily.  Hooray! Having the accountability of my course mates really helps to stay on track. While I meditate my thoughts are constantly running off all over the place to what happened during the day, what someone said to me, what I should have done or what I have to do the next day… That being said, I am glad to at least be carving out that quiet time for myself out of my daily schedule to slow down and strengthen the muscle of bringing my attention back to the present moment.  I am showing up with my beginner’s mindset and am very curious to learn and see what all this brings:)

Meditation podcast

IMG_3051

Lately I’ve been trying to incorporate meditation into my daily routine. I know that it would be really good for me and I know I need to consciously carve out some time to quiet my mind and meditate (even just a few minutes a day), however I still resist it – a lot. Lately I’ve been listening to beautiful guided meditations from a project called Live Awake.

These short recordings are so poetic and raw that I can keep listening to them over and over again and each time I relate to things in a new way.  Having these words to focus on has helped me be a bit more regular as I look forward to letting myself be carried by them.

There are lots of different topics, a few that I particularly enjoy are ‘Following our inspiration’ and ‘Exploring the wilderness of your discomfort’. I love that these texts are born from Sarah Blondin’s journaling practice. Happy listening!