Daily Rituals – Part 1

 

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The days pass. Tick tock. We mark time during this Coronavirus pandemic — in our calendars, our diaries. Some of us dare to plan. Some of us dream of the future. Some of us choose to stay in the present. Some reside in the past. All of us are feeling emotions and coping with them in the best way we can … or not. Some of us feel alone, but this experience is universal. We are not alone. We never are.

Whilst this world crisis continues, recognise that hope is a source of strength. Choose to hope all will be well. Choose to be strong. Choose Bliss. I have been posting daily musings about Bliss on my Instagram feed, accompanied by a nature photograph. One of my daily rituals. Take a look — scroll down to the bottom of this post and click the Instagram icon.

To reside in hope, to know this Coronavirus will pass, daily rituals can be helpful to structure our days and focus our minds. My daily rituals help me focus and remain in the present moment. They help me remain calm and reside in peace.

In a small series of blog posts, I will be sharing some of my daily rituals in the hope they may help or inspire you. This is my first.

For me, one of my daily routines which helps keep me grounded in the present moment and helps enable me to move forward in a positive way is writing. Before the beginning of Coronavirus when I was deep in the mire of my recent personal crisis, I decided I would extend my writing practice (which had been sporadic of late) and commit to a daily practice. Not to challenge myself, but to feed myself, because when I write, I feel good.

Writing for me is almost wholly about self care. I decided I could write daily if I was kind and gentle with myself. I didn’t need to write two thousand words a day, two hundred words, twenty words, even one word a day (although I vowed I would write at least one word!). I told myself that as long as I was thinking about my writing, researching, interacting and learning from other writers, even reading the stories and novels I admire and would love to write myself, then this would count towards my goal of writing daily.

Being compassionate with myself in this way, I was delighted to discover, not only have I written every day, but I have written far more than twenty words each day. Some days I have written hundreds of words. For me this is a remarkable achievement. Not only am I progressing as a writer, becoming more skilled, more confident in my abilities, but I feel good about myself in many ways, especially that I am giving of myself in a meaningful, honest and true way. In writing I can be wholly authentic.

Here are some of the ways I have discovered a daily writing ritual feeds my soul and keeps me in the realms of bliss:

  1. It offers me escapism — when I choose to remove myself from what’s going on in the world right now (which is much of the time), I can come to my desk, open a file on my MacBook and begin to write. I know I will be transported to another world. A world I choose to reside in. I can be in this other world even when I’m not sat at my writing desk. I can pick up a notebook wherever I am. I can even switch off my mind and think only about my writing. Having my writing to hand, totally accessible, I can drop in to my reality and escape the so called reality around me.
  2. It keeps me connected — writing can be a solitary activity and can feed the introvert in me, but writing presents a most wonderful opportunity for connecting with others. The community of writers is vast and prolific and with technology at our finger tips, it is easy to find solace in other people and their writing and to share my writing and hopefully help others in their quest to be writers. But more important than connecting with others, writing has gifted me with the ability to connect with myself. To feel my feelings, to recognise my patterns, to ‘hear’ my thoughts, to give meaning to my existence.
  3. Catharsis — writing is an aid to releasing emotions, to preventing them from festering and disturbing equilibrium. I can process my emotions on the page using my personal journal in an intentional way, but what is more powerful and healing for me, is when my emotions can be expressed in a more creative way; for example in dialogue between characters who are having an argument or using the technique of ‘close third’ where I write about a characters inner world, their thoughts and feelings. Letting go of damaging emotions is essential for keeping a state of homeostasis and regulation within our bodies. More than ever, this is what we need  and writing is an effective tool that can help.
  4. Meditative — writing can become meditative, especially when fully in the flow. When my writing becomes fluid, when I’m not planning, thinking about characters or plot, when I’m not searching for a poetic phrase or an appropriate word, when my writing flows, it is like a meditation. I am in the gap between thoughts, there are no thoughts. Nothing else matters, nothing else is vying for my attention. I am in bliss, I am in a dream-like state between the conscious and unconscious.
  5. Therapeutic — writing is a therapy for me, either intentional journalling, creative prose, or non-fiction writing — indeed any writing where I can express myself.  Alchemy and serendipity abounds in writing. It’s like a gift from my subconscious. Without trying, without having to ‘go into therapy’ I discover and experience healing moments, sometimes tiny, sometimes momentous.
  6. Purpose and meaning — writing gives a sense of purpose and meaning to my life. It provides a way in to knowing myself fully and to understanding, or at least appreciating all there is to know about being human. I feel satisfied I am using my time and the gifts I have as a human being wisely. I am giving of myself wholly and completely. My writing is for me, but moreover, my writing is for everyone who chooses to read it and my wish is that someone, somewhere may benefit from reading the words I am crafting. Creativity is an amazing gift. We all have it and I am grateful for it. Dust if You Must but wouldn’t it be better to leave a gift of your soul, your creativity?

 

LIHazleton.
Follow me on Twitter where I connect with other writers and all things writing. Follow me on Instagram if you love nature, dogs and other animals.

Rhythms of Bliss

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In recent weeks whilst in the midst of the shut down for Coronavirus, I have been spending my time absorbed in daily rhythms of bliss – practicing mediation and yoga, reading, writing, painting, communing with nature and communing with my inner self. It has been a time for reflection and an opportunity for growth and for making positive changes for how I live my life.

A wind of anxiety, a hurricane of panic is threatening to envelop the UK and the world. Now, more than ever it is important to be still, to be calm and to find inner peace. We are being encouraged to exercise daily to keep ourselves healthy in order to support our NHS. Exercise is fundamental to good health, but there is more we can do. To help ensure the immune system of our body is working as it needs to in order to keep us free of infection, we can build into our daily lives practices that still our minds and boost our immune system. Practicing yoga and mediation with integrated breathing practices strengthens the respiratory system making it more efficient and the whole approach helps to keep us calm, centered and stress free.

My hope and my wish is that everyone considers their own daily rhythms of bliss and keeps safe. Namaste.

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During these weeks, I have also been observing my patterns of behaviour and watching myself closely for any slippage … any backward step into the fear and anxiety I had been suffering since when the result of a routine scan in October last year threatened to turn my life upside down.

In the personal challenge I faced, I wrote about how I used my daily yoga practice to centre myself and transition to a state of mind where I could begin to manage the debilitating emotion of fear. I slowly realised that fear is an absence of love and with this realisation, I focussed on moving mediations to instil a practice of deep listening where I could connect with my inner self, the real me, the ‘I am’. As I looked at my greatest fears and lived through the worry, anxiety and trauma of what I was facing, I discovered unbounded blessings, compassion and gratitude for my experiences. I encountered loss and profound change, but by embracing the ensuing grief, I discovered a new way of being.

Emerging from this hugely testing period in my life, I realised it presented the opportunity for a new beginning and a new way of being in the world. I no longer needed to live with fear. As I began to focus my attention on healing, both physically and emotionally, I discovered I no longer felt any need to control my circumstances, I could let things be and trust the journey.

I have unearthed truths about myself, about my boundaries, my foibles, my behaviours, and my relationships. I have learnt valuable lessons and I am committed to ensuring I honour where I am, live in the present moment and keep focussed on what really matters, by practising self love, compassion and being open to all experience.

I live in hope. I live in trust. I live in love. I live in bliss.

 

“Bliss is not a feeling but a state of being. In the state of bliss, everything is loved. Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss. Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real”

Deepak Chopra

 

In my writing life I am taking this opportunity of being in lockdown to write flash fiction and short stories and to enter them into competitions. I am doing this with two friends from my writing group. We choose a competition we all want to enter, write our stories and peer review our work. We enter our pieces and then we keep our fingers crossed! Writing is fun, writing in stimulating and thought provoking. Most importantly, writing keeps me connected.

 

LIHazleton.
Follow me on Twitter where I connect with other writers and all things writing. Follow me on Instagram if you love nature, dogs and other animals.