Last week I was in Scotland having some much needed down time with the boys ahead of Fox starting school. Even though my work emails were off, work still kept coming in. I was creeping off to the toilets to reply, snatching moments to sneak a peak. I didn't like it, I didn't want it. It was making my heart tight, my stomach flip and me impatient with the boys.
I wanted and needed to be away from everything other than what was here, really here, in flesh and blood, in the air.
So after some tears from the guilt and stress of the work magnet I turned it off and put it in a drawer.
Yep, I turned my phone off and put it in a drawer.
I checked it once a day for the rest of the holiday, 10mins max. I used my camera instead of my phone so I didn't miss capturing moments I wanted to store.
It was powerful.
A weight lifted.
It was easier to chat, to laugh, to watch, to smell, to stretch, to play, to notice, to listen, really listen.
I've been really ill from food poisoning this week and I didn't put my phone into the drawer, I wish I had. I've not had chance to recover so now I'm getting migraines.
In my work with people we feel our way through space, what it is to notice space, breathe in space, hold space, have more space.
I definitely need to build in new ways to have space from my phone, from the demands of work.
I'll let you know when I've got a plan.
Step 1 is to take Whatsapp off the websites, you'll be ok without it, won't you?
FYI A friend (you'll find her down the road at The Forge!) just used the phrase "phone hygiene" and I thought I'd pinch it, thanks Sheena!
It’s no secret that many people talk about mindfulness and meditation and the heaps of benefits they both bring. They say that meditation is stress-busting, self care done ‘right’, and a source-of-all-goodness.
But what if mindfulness and meditation don’t work for you?
What if the very word mindfulness sets your teeth on edge and makes your toes curl?
Thankfully, you don’t have to buy into one word to find some balance.
I’ve had a funny relationship with both words. They provoke an image of floaty hippies sitting in a field for hours on end. I’m a mum of a 2 & 4 year old, I run and manage the studio and Both Feet Actor Training, all the admin, the creating, the website, the social media, the bookings and I do the teaching and coaching. I do not have time to sit in a field for 3 hours a day!
When I met Barbara Houseman, she began to change the way I viewed it - she was down to earth, sweary and funny, not the airy floaty hippy I always conjured up in my mind. So I jumped on her Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Course to challenge my understanding and extend my development. An email came through telling us we’d need to meditate for around an hour a day for the length of the 2 month course. I nearly choked, resistance bubbling. Instead of pulling out, I reached out and asked if I could do the meditations whilst moving instead, luckily she said yes - so that’s what I did.
Over the weeks and months I discovered ways of being mindful without sitting in a field for three hours a day.
When I washed my hair and brushed my teeth.
The last weeks of breastfeeding. Sitting in the darkness.
Running outside with the boys in our pjs to breathe in the sunrise.
Drawing a breath and allowing stillness into my body every time my feet touched the doorstep to stop my perpetual moving.
Slow motion drinking when I felt chaotic.
And the bigger stuff like slowly moving into 2 degree water.
These small moments peppered throughout each day have changed my life and really will be the difference between me dying sooner and living longer. I’m not being dramatic when I say that - I have literally been killing myself by not stopping, not breathing, not noticing.
Have I made peace with the words meditation and mindfulness? No. I still see hippies in a field but l do now do both automatically in my own way, the way that works for me.
I’d love to explore how you do you so you can find realistic ways to live a better life.