Week 17 Stealing Time
This is a life changer...
Time alone to drop the shoulders, clear the head and breathe...this time is crucial to well being. And my goodness what a change from Experiment Two when I couldn't even stay outside for 10 minutes in the garden without assuming that the world was going to implode without me! This has to be testimony to the impact of these Wake Up! experiments.
How to find time to prioritise stillness as a part of my daily life? I actually don't think I could be the best that I can be without it and it is a habit that I have been prioritising since February. My meditation routine might be different to that of others: I think it is a personal experience. All I know is that it has transformed me from an anxious person often thinking of what needed to be done next, into someone who is truly grateful for what is happening now. At first this concept of meditation was alien - how was I to find inner stillness? Surely you had to be trained? It needed special skills? It was complicated? Through yoga I was introduced to the stillness of guided meditations. I then started using guided meditations I found on line to help me find that stillness for 15 minutes a day. After about 6 weeks, I realised I didn't need the words of others and I am now able to simply shut my eyes, relax my body and shut off the external world just for a while. My internal world is even beginning to be able to quieten down a little too! I do this for 15 minutes each evening. It is a non-negotiable.
As I have enjoyed this evening ritual more and more, I find that I want to 'top up' this sense of peace at regular intervals during the day. The feeling of calm you get when you achieve some form of stillness is powerfully addictive and wonderfully joyous. So I steal time from my lunch hour. I walk to a local park, sit on a bench, close my eyes and breathe. I try not to reflect too much, rather to calm my mind and unclench my body. I listen to birds, to the wind, the traffic, the chatting around me. Is this mindfulness? spiritual practice? shutting down for a while? All I know is the peace of closing my eyes allows me to find a sanctuary away from the sensory stimulation of life. I am certain that I go back to work so much calmer and...well happier! This stillness allows me to focus on what is really important - I know I am more thankful, open hearted, curious and positive since I have introduced this into my life. Ironically by going into my self for a while each day I am more patient and giving with those around me. At weekends I still find myself nipping into another room or into the garden to find that peace away from others.
This is more about reclaiming time than stealing it. I think our society would benefit so much from reprioritising quiet reflective time into our culture: it is essential to our self-care, our productivity, our community interaction. The calmness of inner stillness in whatever form that takes is the best quick fix there is. It has changed my life and that is no exaggeration.