Get wise(r)

A year into lockdown, it still feels that there are many different worlds. These are not based on the geography of where we live.

Rather the worlds are shaped by a myriad of things like the make-up of our household, the demands (or otherwise) on our skills and our time, our sense of financial security (or otherwise) – and most fundamentally the wellbeing – or otherwise – of ourselves and those we love.

We may not have any choice over the situations we are in, but we can learn to respond to them as skilfully as possible.

Learning how to pace ourselves in whatever situation we find ourselves is a vital skill. It’s a lifetime of learning.

Take a minute today, sitting or walking, to notice messages your body is giving you. Our physical make-up tells us so much, if only we will pause to hear.

Listen to these messages, with gentleness. Don’t judge yourself. Accept what you find.

Just by noticing – listening – you will be the wiser; you will be better equipped to approach whatever situation you find yourself in today.

And when we take a step forward in listening to ourselves, it may actually equip us to better hear other people. It may also equip us to recognise the voice of our creator in what we hear. We are wonderfully made, with feedback loops that tell us how to pace ourselves.

Listening – to you

listening to you

Most of us would want to be good at listening to others. We would perhaps even regard it as a vital skill we want to actively nurture. We want to listen to our loved ones and those with whom our lives connect.

Perhaps fewer of us are good at listening to ourselves. And we may not place the same value on this as we would on listening to others.

Yet learning to notice ourselves – how we are, what is happening in our thoughts, emotions, spirits and bodies – actually creates a more positive space to notice – to listen to – others.

I have been intentional about listening to myself over the last week. I have had varied and many things to which I have needed to pay attention (happy and sad events; some activities that have been mentally demanding and some simply requiring the commitment of many hours; some physically demanding and some physically constraining).

When we listen to ourselves (and others), we often find compassion rising. We realise the needs we have for rest, for good nutrition, for laughter, for companionship, for essential ‘chilling out’. We listen and we increase our chances of making wise choices.

One of my wise choices was to plan for a Sunday afternoon relaxing on the sofa. A time of rest. Lovely!

Listen to yourself. Allow yourself to be compassionate to yourself (not always easy I know). Make wise choices.

This is Mindful Monday on 14 January 2019. 

Do you live in Cheltenham or nearby? Join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness on the theme of ‘growing in peace’ on Tuesday 5 February 7.30-9 pm, booking your place in advance by emailing hello@essencecheltenham.org.