How to Be

I am enough.

You are enough.

We are all enough.

So many people are caught up in doing rather than being. They keep themselves busy achieving and fulfilling the roles they assign themselves and end up creating stress and anxiety in their lives. They feel as though unless they perform, achieve or fulfil a role, they are unworthy.

But this is not so.

We are enough and can reside in just being and have everything we need within ourselves to feel good without striving to meet self-imposed goals and deadlines.

But, for many people, this isn’t known. Without being aware of what they are doing, people are constantly massaging their egos in order to feel good about themselves.

The ego is our self image, our social mask, the role we are playing. Many people are unaware of the vice-like grip the ego can have and can fall victim to it. Unfortunately, this is the accepted norm i.e. the belief that our identities are wrapped up in who we are and what we do. We use labels to describe ourselves; we are mothers, fathers, doctors, bus drivers, tennis players … in addition, we employ self talk which can either inflate or deflate our ego; I am kind, I am generous, I am lazy, I am selfish …

But the ego is not who we really are.

I have been pondering this for many months and wondering how I can massage my ego less and be in the world as I truly am, as the real me, rather than put on a mask and rely on my ego when in social situations and when I am out and about generally.

After many months of socially isolating, I am slowing emerging back into the world, meeting friends, enjoying day trips away from home, coffee and meals out. Holidays in the UK are planned and travel further afield is being discussed.

In my previous blog post https://lihazleton.com/2020/06/28/emerging/ I wrote about emerging being a process and how I would like to resist falling back into old habits and ways of being. I have been pondering how I can achieve this and how to make effective and long-lasting changes.

For a long time, I have been using daily meditation and yoga practices to connect to the ‘real me’ — the part of me that is unchanging, the essence of my spirit, the pure consciousness that abides within. It is my hope that by continuing with these practices, where I can connect with the ‘real me’, I will be able to find that feeling when I am with others, when I am out and about in the wider world and away from the calm and peaceful surroundings of my home.

In the past, I have used my strong ego-self to thrive. I have survived an emotionally abusive upbringing, unloving and difficult relationships with men, a highly demanding and stressful corporate career and many challenging personal situations. These are all advantages of having a strong self image driven by a strong ego. I have thrived by employing and relying on my ego, rather than being transparent and showing my true nature. This has worked, but only so far. My relationships, my wellbeing, my sense of self, my contentment, what makes me feel happy and fulfilled have all suffered because of my ego. I lost myself along the way and suffered from worry, stress and anxiety.

A strong ego has many pitfalls and disadvantages. The negative side of the ego manifests as arrogance, pride, vanity, judgements, and prejudices. In the more extreme cases, it emerges as the need to control, the lust for power, fanaticism, or an obsession with materialism. I regret to say, in the past, I have often fallen foul of these unloving qualities and still do, if I am not careful.

So, I have been spending time in awareness of my ego and watching it like a hawk. If I catch it taking over, displaying those parts of me that are not the ‘real me’, I take action and come back to my heart, the centre of who I really am.

The more I meditate, the more I use my breath to connect to my centre during my physical yoga practices, the more I can let go of my ego and just be, knowing I am enough.

With time, with sustained practice, I hope this will become easier and I can take the feeling of being the ‘real me’ with me wherever I go.

I have discovered I can let go of my ego self, knowing that high self esteem doesn’t come from a massaged ego, but comes from cultivating spiritual values of truth, beauty, love, compassion, creativity, inner peace and bliss.

Being myself, being yourself is the ultimate form of self worth.

I am enough.

You are enough.

We are all enough.

How then is this linked to my writing?

Writing is a creative art, a form of self expression. I write because it helps me discover, what I think, what I feel, what I am grateful for, what I want to be in this world and how I can best serve. It is helping me discover my purpose and the true nature of who I AM.

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.

Emerging

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Emerging is a process.

For many weeks now, I have been pondering how I will emerge from this extended period of personal isolation.

I have written previously about my contentment during the period of forced isolation and how I have welcomed the time to reflect, heal and consider my own life and how I can make positive changes in the way I live, the way I am.

If the world and all life on earth is going to thrive and survive, then we as human beings need to change because it is us who are destroying this beautiful planet.

Emergence for me is about that — change. I don’t want to ‘go back to normal’. There is no normal. I want to be the change that can help the world. I want to help create a ‘new normal’ — for my own wellbeing, for my immediate community, society and for the world.

I want to be able to see and feel that I have lived through the past seven months and grown and developed as a person. I want to emerge with compassion and love in my heart, with an energetic and joyful body and with a peaceful, calm and alert mind. I want these things not for myself in a selfish way, but because I believe if I can have wellbeing, then I can better serve my community, I can be a kinder person to myself and I will be able to reach out to others with empathy and love. My relationships will be rich and rewarding and I will find peace, joy and fulfilment.

We all make choices, almost every moment of every day, some small, some significant. Even if we do things automatically, at some level we are making choices. The change in us begins to happen when we become aware of our choices, when we become self aware and conscious.

When I consider my own wellbeing, I can recognise that many of my choices in the past, I made when I had very little self awareness. Many of my choices were not beneficial. Now, with full awareness, I can make lifestyle choices that aid my wellbeing rather than hinder.

I have spent much of my time during lockdown focussing on my own personal healing.  The word healing comes from wholeness. To be healed, is to be whole. Healing comes from within and I have been concentrating on self care, making the best choices I can to ensure I maintain homeostasis – an equilibrium in my body, mind and spirit. I have recognised that healing comes from within. With self awareness and consciousness I can heal myself, I can renew my body, mind and spirit and emerge as a new me willing to re-engage with the world in a new way.

So, what’s in store for me and what’s all this got to do with writing?

I have developed a creative life, an artist’s life, a spiritual life and a willingness to take what I have learned, what I have discovered, out into the wider world with the hope of helping others. I have plans and ideas of how I can do this. All I need now is the continued belief and faith in myself, the daily rituals I have established and the trust that I can fulfil my dreams.

As for my writing, I am pleased to have established a writing routine and to have a growing body of work, a store of stories and ideas for stories which will sustain me for years to come. I am grateful to my writing community — my writing friends with whom I have shared work and given and received feedback, Norwich Forum Writers, my writing group and the many tutors and mentors I have engaged with for their continued help and support.

As I emerge from lockdown and my time of self isolation, I hope I can do so with a lightness of being, replacing all fear with love and the sustained awareness to look after my wellbeing and to keep writing.

 

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.

 

Daily Rituals – Part 3

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This will be the last in my small series on daily rituals. Here I explore the feelings I have about how daily rituals can help in coping with the situation that continues to dominate our lives – lockdown during Coronavirus and share a few more of the rituals I follow.

Pause for a moment and consider your routines. We all have routines we follow, many on a daily basis. Notice I have used the word routine. The difference between a routine and a ritual is the feeling behind the action.

Routines are often things we feel we have to do (like brushing our teeth, making the bed). Routines may seem dull and boring, but in my own experience I have found routines to be soothing and comforting as I believe they help ground me and keep me experiencing what’s happening in each moment. They help keep me mindful and self aware.

For me, I am convinced that my sub-conscious mind becomes steady and safe through repetitive motions and expected outcomes. I have been taking advantage of this time to expand on my daily routines to fill my days with more creative and joyous pursuits that make me feel good. These then become my daily rituals … routines for joy! They make me feel good  because I believe my habits create my mood and my mood is a filter through which I experience life. So therefore to experience life as joy, I am responsible, it is up to me to make my life work for me and I do this by being in control of my mood. I have been adding daily rituals to my daily life because I choose to live with joy. Finding inner happiness or joy is what we all strive for. For me I find this blissful state by ‘filling my cup’ with rituals that help keep me free from anxiety.

I am living through a beautiful, relaxing time during lockdown and I am convinced this is because I have carefully chosen daily rituals to keep me balanced and feeling grateful for being alive.

Here are my daily rituals:

  1. Creative Writing. You can read about this : here
  2. Practising Yoga. You can read about this : here
  3. Meditation. I practice meditation to go within, to still my mind and to connect with my inner flame, the real me, the I AM.
  4. Walking. It goes without saying the many benefits there are in walking but I am enhancing the wellbeing of my daily walk by taking my time to slow down and appreciate every step I take. I use all my senses to take in the environment and give thanks for nature.
  5. Daily musing on Bliss. It has been wholly healing to mediate on the word bliss and what it means for me. Bliss is where I wish to reside. I have been sharing a few words about how I feel about Bliss and combining my thought for the day with a photograph I take on my daily walk. I post my photograph alongside my words on Instagram. It will be something beautiful I can look back on when lockdown ends and will remind me of the wonderful walks I have enjoyed.
  6. Singing. The wellbeing benefits of singing are well documented and well known. I have found HUGE pleasure in singing for Gareth Malone since day one when he started his Great British Home Chorus
  7. Being grateful. Every day I give thanks for existing.

 

I hope anyone who has read this far (and thank you if you have) finds inspiration to consider their daily routines and  turn them into beautiful, life enhancing daily rituals.

Here’s a link to a wellbeing site where you can read more about the benefits of creating daily rituals. I hope you find it useful

 

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.

Daily Rituals – Part 2

 

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In the second in this series of my musings about daily rituals (see here for my first posting on one of my daily rituals – writing) I will be exploring what yoga means for me and why I have a daily practice.

I am hopeful that everyone is coping well (or as best they can) during lockdown for Coronavirus and I trust that everyone will make careful personal choices as to how they approach life as lockdown shifts to the next phase (whatever that may be).

I imagine many people are discovering that daily rituals feed and maintain wellbeing. In sharing my daily rituals, I hope I might inspire other people to think about building a structure to their day and be careful in choosing daily rituals that keep spirits high and positivity flowing, so they might benefit from this time of enforced social isolation. There are many resources available to help people during this time and to tap into creativity and wellbeing activities could be hugely rewarding and who knows – lead on to bigger and better things once this is all over. One of my goals is to be able to look back to this time and feel I spent my time wisely and it was a wholly positive experience for me.

Yoga as a daily ritual. 

Those who know me well, know that for the last ten + years , I have been practicing yoga and for the last five years, have developed a daily practice.

Yoga is one of my daily rituals.

But what do I mean by yoga? Is it exercise? Is it about improving posture? Is it about gaining flexibility? Is it stilling the mind? Is it breath practice? Is it relaxation? Is it being about being mindful? Is it a meditation?

For me, it’s all of those things and so much more.

Yoga was intended to be an entire lifestyle, a way of living, a philosophy for life. When I first began to learn about yoga, it was a surprise for me to learn that the ‘asanas’ (the yoga poses we practice on the mat) were not even part of what the originator intended. How many people appreciate that?

The birth of yoga originally comes from the Vedas (ancient Hindu scriptures). This dates back between 4,000 to 5,000 years and the knowledge was passed down from teacher to student in the way of verses and poems. It wasn’t until the second century B.C. that a sage named Patanjali outlined what is known today as the Eight Limbs of Yoga (or Raja Yoga).

I have chosen to follow Raja Yoga as it provides a framework and has as its essence the union of ourselves — our mind, body, soul, spirit, and emotions. The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which can be translated into ‘yoking’ or ‘union’. Raja Yoga is far more than a form of exercise and my daily ritual of rolling out my yoga mat to practice asanas has become a metaphore for the way I chose to live my life – what I learn and practice on the mat, I take with me off the mat and into the rest of my life.

To discover more about Raja yoga, this might be a useful place to start: The eight limbs of yoga.

 

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.

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.

Rest and Digest

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In my present circumstances, I have needed to slow down to allow healing to take place. My days are leisurely, measured and subdued – in a good way, allowing me time to become curious about the physical sensations I am experiencing in my body, curious about my thoughts and curious about my feelings and emotions.

To be where I am right now, to be in this state of enforced rest has given me the opportunity to reflect and to be aware of each moment so I can become more aligned to my true self and what is important to me. To know myself; what I think, what I feel, what I believe, what I like, is a discovery. I see this period of resting and digesting as a gift and a learning experience where I am discovering the blessing of trusting the journey.

To be in this state of rest and digest is to live moment by moment and to know whatever  I am feeling is OK. I am where I am meant to be. All is well.

I am learning to trust the journey by developing faith.

I am learning to surrender and to let go and to allow life to reveal itself through me.

But neither faith nor surrender implies apathy or inaction.

Faith is a slow-burning flame that requires time and patience and a constant fanning of the flame so it can grow.  Surrender is an active letting go of deeply embedded thoughts, pre-conceived ideas and beliefs about life. It requires a willingness to give things up. It requires discipline and effort.

As I heal, emotionally and physically, as I rest and digest, I develop my faith and I learn how to trust the journey.

 

“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.” — Paulo Coelho

 

In my writing life, I am developing trust. A trust in my own abilities to be a writer. I trust I will write what I know I must.

 

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

New Beginnings – New Story

 

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Experiencing grief (see my previous blog post Grief Practice) is a process which, if we can practice self-awareness may have many surprising and positive outcomes. I am fortunate to be able to experience my feelings in a moment by moment basis and use various techniques to enquire of myself with the intention to discover the source of, and any hidden meaning, behind the emotions I feel.

Due to my present circumstances, I am currently in a state of a heightened sense of awareness and have been for the last four months. I anticipate this situation will continue for some time whilst my body and my mind continues to heal.

One of the positive outcomes to this state is that I have been pondering change and new beginnings. There is a voice deep inside me which is saying this is the right moment for me to experience new beginnings in my life. It’s calling to me so loudly that I know it cannot be denied. I have no choice (or so it seems that way) to make changes, to move forward in life with a different purpose and to challenge myself in the realms of taking risks, trying something new and releasing chains that hold me back and keep me stuck in old ways of being. Now I feel I am being guided to a new beginning and being asked to let go of things that no longer serve me.

As human beings we have a tendency to be habitual creatures, clinging to old ways of doing things, to routines, to habits and to superstitions past down to us by our parents and other significant people in our lives. We hold on to relationships that may not be healthy for us, familiar patterns in our behaviours that may be toxic for us. We tend to do things in the way we’ve always done things, always writing the same story over and over again which is our life and making the same mistakes. It is common to identify ourselves with our past. We think we are the person who has experienced our past and continue to identify with that person and re-live experiences over and over again, not realising that this doesn’t have to be the way. We can break free and start afresh. Find our own sense of self and live our lives according to our own inner sense of what is right for us.

The good thing is we can choose to re-write our own story any time we choose. We can do this quite simply by cultivating self-awareness into a daily (and ultimately) a moment by moment practice. At the source of everything we do, everything we say, all our behaviours, is a thought. If we can catch our thoughts and change them, we can change our vocabulary and we can change our actions. We can choose our thoughts and therefore speak a different dialogue and we can determine our own actions. We no longer have to live with behaviours, habits and relationships that are to the detriment of our wellbeing. We can go a new way, have a new beginning and write a new story.

In recent months, I have been considering writing a new story. What would I like to read about myself and the life I lead in a year from now? What would it look like? What would I be doing? What would I be experiencing? What would I be thinking and feeling. What would my daily practices be? My passions? My achievements? What would my relationships be like? Would they be fulfilling? Would they be based on honesty and love? Would they be real and enriching? Would I be feeling peace and joy? Would I be living in the light?

To help me re-calibrate, I have been focussing on ‘new beginnings’ in my daily mediation practice Rather than write lists, targets, goals, objectives, I have allowed my mind to ponder ‘new beginnings’ in moments when I have been in meditation, active in creative pursuits like writing and painting, or wellbeing activities like yoga and walking. Using the analogy of planting a seed and letting it grow and blossom, I have been watching what happens when an idea comes to me and settles in my mind. Some ideas haven’t taken root and have withered, whilst other have firmly established themselves and are growly strongly.

Before new beginnings can be established, it is necessary to ‘create space’ for them. Like clearing out your wardrobe of unwanted clothes, purging your bookshelves of books, we can create space in our lives by ceasing activities we no longer enjoy, stopping habits that are bad for us, letting go of unhealthy relationships and releasing ourself from torments of the past. When we do this, we can buy new clothes that suit us better and books that nourish and entertain us.

New Beginnings, a New Story and Creating Space for both – this is my current focus because …

“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” — Paulo Coelho

 

And my writing?

I feel compelled to revisit my earlier projects – my hybrid novel (fiction based on fact) and my memoir. Floating in the back of my mind is the idea of taking the best from both, reframing and re-structuring my writing to craft a new story. I am excited about the possibilities for change, for development and for growth. New beginnings in my writing, fresh growth and a time for trying again is a stimulating and exhilarating prospect.

 

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

Grief Practice

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Today I have been experiencing  grief. Rather than push it away and deny my feelings, or even worst, rather than be annoyed with myself and tell myself to get a grip, I decided to honour my feelings and where I am today and practice self love.

To move through what I am feeling, to give myself the support I need and to give myself a hug, I turned to a yoga grief practice.

Rolling out my mat, settling in, I began by noticing my breath and relaxing my shoulders, working to calm my nervous system and finding a little support from within. I needed to feel held. Not always is there someone around who can do this for me and so I am cultivating a practice where I can ‘hold’ myself. After all, it’s only me who really knows what I need in any given moment. Without rushing, taking my time, one breath at a time I began.

Starting to deepen my breath, connecting to my inner world, I began to feel the emotion of grief and tears threatened to spill. Rather than wipe them away, I allowed them to roll down my cheeks. I was on the mat to take whatever I needed and to leave behind that which wasn’t serving me.

Moving through recent trauma, I know that holding my breath, tightening, being closed, feeling fear have been natural human responses to what is going on for me, so in this yoga practice, I wanted to focus on my breath. Allowing my breath to naturally deepen, to slow down I could feel my body relax, soften and slowly let go. Ahhhhh, sweet relief. With loving awareness I checked in and began to really notice the sensations in my body.

A yoga practice can be gentle and loving, focussed entirely on pranayama, sitting with stillness and allowing the energy to flow. Sitting up straight, my spine long and erect, my hands placed on my heart, I drew my attention to breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 2 and exhaling for count of six. Deep relaxing breaths to balance out.

After several rounds of breathing, I began to add movement with a simple vinyasa involving a small sideways stretch, and a contraction. Turning my attention to my spine, I opened my heart, lifting my arms out to the sides and then exhaling, folding one arm over the other to give myself a hug.

Simple gentle yoga movements, marrying the breath with the movement is deeply therapeutic and refreshing.

As my grief practice continued, my moving meditation, I focussed on staying in the moment and if thoughts came, I gently let them go, coming back time and time again to my breath.

Twenty minutes later, remaining present with what I was feeling, allowing my emotions to flow, not denying, but accepting, I felt more calm, more balanced, grateful for where I am today and with compassion in my heart.

Namaste.

 

Using the tools of yoga is an aid to my writing. I am cultivating a daily writing practice,  concentrating on short stories and flash fiction. Being relaxed and focussed, I can let the words flow.

 

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

I’m Home

16042013

 

The 30 day yoga journey is done and I am ‘Home’.

Of course, I always have been ‘Home’, the symbolism of ‘Home’ being my spirit, my soul which is always there within me, at the centre of my being, my heart.

Sadly, I am not always connected to my soul as I let fear get in the way. Fear I have discovered is (for me) an absence of love. If I love, if I believe I am love, if I know I am loved, then there can be no fear. During these first days of this new year, I have been inviting love into my love. Loving myself first and foremost, loving others, loving all life and the universe and believing I am love. Connecting with the real ‘me’, my spirit, is a nurturing, comforting and healing experience.

Adriene Mishler Yoga with Adriene is an inspiring teacher. Her subtle spiritual teachings through the asanas nudge me along and keep me on my path. My yoga is a daily practice and like mediation always brings me ‘Home’.

I have been practising yoga since 2009, but at the end of last year, a heavy heart, a tightness in my chest, a feeling of doom and a darkness surrounded me. There was no joy and I felt acute fear. I turned to yoga as my guide, to spiritual practices, to healing and ultimately to my inner teacher. I have been comforted and have discovered I have internal strength to face what I need to face. I am grateful.

Namsaste.

And the real beauty is that the journey continues.

 

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

JOHN O’DONOHUE, excerpt from Anam Cara

 

And my writing? During this 30 day journey, I have written a short story and a piece of flash fiction. My writing journey continues.

 

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