Friday, October 24, 2014

Embracing the woo-woo: Part II

For Part I go here.  I didn't realize I would need a Part II of embracing the woo-woo until a few days ago.  But I wanted to make sure to highlight "woo woo" activities or introspective topics outside of just meditation.  Pick one and try it, I bet you won't be sorry you did, even if it is a little "woo woo."

1.  Timed writing/journaling is different than blogging. Using a pen and paper is totally different than typing on a keyboard.  If you've never tried journaling I encourage you to try a timed session.  Sometimes for me it is only 3 minutes, sometimes 5, 10, 20.  When I started I would pick a theme or a word and try to center on that theme/word.  Now, I literally write down whatever comes to mind.  This often means I'm frequently changing topics and sometimes I write sentences that really don't make any sense until I later reflect on what it is that I wrote.  Try it.

2.  Owning up to inner struggles. Acknowledging that you don't always have to know what do with said inner struggles but that you're committed to figuring it out.  I live in a city full of people who have moved here without jobs and are just "figuring it out."  I struggle with this.  Part of me really wants to be that person, the person who can say, "I'm just going to go figure it out," whatever, "it" is.  However, that's not me.  I like structure, I like to plan, commit and execute.  There is a reason that I get along well with TrainingPeaks and having a schedule.  However, I do have this inner struggle where I'm conflicted about what in life makes me truly happy.  Knowing that I need (and want to be) responsible, I need to find a balance between doing what truly makes me happy and being responsible.  Part of what I am learning is that to do this and find that balance I need relationships that also align with what makes me happy.  Use your inner struggles as a way to grow.  Reflect on them, write about them, talk to someone about them and then, find YOUR balance.

3.  Accepting who you are and being happy with the you of right now.  This speaks a little to #2 and, I think goes along with a meditation practice, but goes even further on the spectrum of accepting you and being grateful for you.  As I've gotten older, I have become a lot more comfortable in my own skin.  I'm comfortable knowing what makes me happy and what doesn't and doing more of the former and less of the latter.  Now of course we all have to do things we don't really want to do BUT I think you can and should be okay with accepting who you are, finding what makes you happy and pursing those things. Something I struggle with is being present in 'the now.'  While I may be happy with who I am, I am always in search of the next thing.  This is partly healthy as searching and reaching beyond your current space is what helps you grow but it can also be limiting your ability to be grateful for the YOU of this present moment.

4.  Learning how to breathe.  I suppose this one really does go hand-in-hand with my meditation practice. (see Part I) Meditating on a regular basis has helped me learn how to breathe.  We are all confronted with stressful situations or irritants on a daily basis (sometimes hourly) but learning how to find your breath in those moments puts whatever said stressor or irritant into its proper place.  For example, the other day at yoga, I was about to set my mat down and the girl next to me said, "I'm holding that space."  Nevermind that the yoga room is a no talking zone (more on that in a minute).  Fine no problem, I simply moved over a bit.  This was a minor irritant.  Not that I had to move over but the way in which I was told "move over."  I sat down on my mat before class do some simple movements and  forgot all about that moment as I focused on my breath.  A few minutes later her friend arrived and the two started chatting it up. Well, quiet space was being interrupted, another minor irritant.  However, a funny thing happened a few moments later, as I was re-focusing on my breath, I literally didn't hear them anymore.  It wasn't until someone else told them to be quiet that I actually remember hearing anything.  Learning to breathe and be able to focus internally is so important.  While I'm not excited about the next really stressful situation that comes my way, I know that if I can focus and find my breath that I'll already be getting ahead of whatever it is.

Some of the above are actual activities you do/practice but others are just general concepts that I hadn't really explored until recently.  Until I was ready to give up the connotation that thinking introspectively was something only "hippies" or irresponsible people did.  Honestly, I think it is irresponsible NOT to think big and introspect on your life--past, present and future.