Sometimes it’s hard to keep your spiritual centre in a practical world. This last week has been particularly challenging with several technology issues: the home computer crashed with a virus, iPad issues arose that required a hard shut down with the very displeasing outcome of it not rebooting and, as if that wasn’t enough, I lost four days work when a document I’d been working on corrupted. These challenges came along with work deadlines, personal study deadlines, and other projects to complete. Oh, and my son came home for a short visit in the middle of it all.
I became a little teary at one point, my head hurt and my thinking was fuzzy. I also fellt quite queezy. Old patterns of dealing with stress knocked at the door to be released (I’m talking emotional eating, self medication via sugar intake etc, etc).
In the face of losing my centredness, balance and calm, I put a plan in place. The following tips may help you when you find your spiritual self slipping away into the practicalities of a busy life.
1. People first.
Okay, the work stuff was super important and the deadlines became more imminent with the loss of four days work but my son was home for a short visit and I really wanted to spend time with him. Something had to be sacrificed and I figured it wasn’t to be our time together.
Together we headed to the Apple store to see to the iPad. We enjoyed a tea and a latte and discussed all sorts of topics as we waited for our appointment. We chatted some more while the restore/ reboot was happening and then we had a nice day together doing some fun things and enjoying lunch and generally catching up.
I had to make a conscious effort to put the deadlines, the work, the problems out of my mind for that time but I wouldn’t have wanted to miss that day with my son for anything. There was a positive outcome with the ipad too. After being told I could potentially lose all my data, a lovely young man was able to reboot my device and restore my data. Win win!
I made a list of everything that needed to be done and then prioritised those tasks into daily actions. The daily checklist, which chunked the multitude of tasks into daily tasks, helped to reduce the overwhelm. I could clearly see what had to be done each day and not be distracted or side tracked by other tasks.
3. Maintain a commitment meditation
Last week I wrote about my twice daily meditation practice keeping me sane and strengthening my coping abilities in a busy world. Without meditation I’m not sure I would have made it through this week. There was no compromise here.
4. Make self care a priority.
The first thing to go when we hit the skids is self care. As tempting as it was to skip my morning walk to work for an extra hour I had to make a conscious effort to put on my runners and hit the pavement. Exercise has all sorts of physical and mental health benefits for me. Okay, to be really honest, I did skip my walk one morning but I had a two hour yoga class that evening that I would not compromise. So I figured I was still being true to myself, just.
I remained mindful of keeping my diet clean by eating healthy, fresh food, drinking lots of water and herbal tea. Healthy fats; including coconut oil, avocado and nut butters provided feelings of satiety and curbed the sugar cravings.
I had a few late nights rewriting the workshop that I lost due to the corrupted file and cramming reading for my course. I really started to feel the effects this placed on my body and mind. My eyes burned, I was tired during the day, my thinking was hampered, my speech slightly slurred and my interactions with others were effected. Despite these hideous side effects it was very tempting to push ahead with late nights to meet deadlines but, in the end, common sense prevailed and I realised I had to sleep. Going to bed early supported clearer and more focused thinking the following day which enabled me to be more productive.
6. Take time out
After a particularly busy day I zoomed home and started thinking about all the things I had to do – cook dinner, make lunches, wash the clothes, iron, water the garden etc, etc. Thankfully, by the time I had arrived home ‘clarity’ had shone its bright light on my thinking and instead of ticking off all the tasks I had mentally noted I kicked off my shoes, popped on my comfy house clothes, made a cup of tea and headed barefoot into the garden. I sipped my tea while inspecting the herbs and then I plonked myself down on a patch of lush green grass and just sat there feeling the connection between my body and the earth. I lay back, after securing my tea cup in a nice clump of grass, and drank in the sky, the birdsong, the sound of children playing and laughing next door. The earth soaked up the dross I’d been carrying around. I was restored.
The life I want for myself relies on the presence of joy, creativity, wisdom, compassion and harmony. I’ve worked long and hard to create that for myself but, once in every little while, a situation or series of situations will arise to challenge me. I’m no yogi or spiritual guru so at times I find myself slipping into the abyss of confusion, overwhelm and chaos. The key, however, is to notice it is happening and pull it up before it gets out of hand. The above steps worked well for me. Yes, I’m still getting on top of all the work I have to do but I can approach it from a centred place and hopefully in a few days I will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Some people say life wasn’t meant to be easy. I agree that at times it isn’t but it doesn’t have to be a burdomesome struggle, bereft of joy. Find the little moments of joy in each day or create them for yourself.
Wishing you a week full of joy, peace and harmony.