29 June, 2016
My Sunday nights have changed dramatically in the last three years. As recently as 2013 I might have been out with a friend enjoying an early movie and Vietnamese pho dinner, or down at the local yoga studio practising yin yoga as late as 9pm.
Since settling in the suburbs with my partner and becoming a mum, Sunday nights, at least on the surface, are a little less glamorous. Now I stay home and get organised for the week ahead. Recycling is separated from rubbish, the old vegetables go into the worm bin and last week’s schedule on the whiteboard planner is wiped to make way for a new batch of appointments, groceries, and ‘to dos’.
Like many of my peers in the western world, a recurring issue for me has been my tendency to live up in my head – thinking about where to next, scheduling, planning and controlling my existence.
Some weeks start with enthusiasm. Other times my body yawns even contemplating what needs to be achieved. Something that has taken me a long time to fully appreciate since the arrival of our son two years ago, is that motherhood is a full time job requiring a great deal of attention. It demands a level of commitment greater than a full time job. On top of this creative project, I’m also responsible for organising our household and running my yoga/life coaching business. Balancing these different roles is the source of constant personal and spiritual development.
Since my life started to look like this, the Sunday nights seem to roll around at lightening speed. Any day might start with me hanging out washing, then dropping off at crèche, and next I’m meeting a client for a one-to-one. After buying groceries and cooking, next I’m writing a blog post, later I’m playing in the grass with toy cars. I crawl into bed, content but often wishing I could have retained just a little bit more energy for myself. This vulnerability has become a source of curiosity. After listening to many of my coaching clients – purposeful, compassionate woman – I hear a very similar story played out with different characters.
In our pursuit of ‘having it all’ we can lose touch with an inner balance, a delicate ecosystem that needs to be nurtured and loved with the same enthusiasm we put into any creative pursuit. Whatever journey you find yourself on – whether it’s writing a book, developing a career you’re passionate about, renovating a house, building a marriage or raising children – if our own energy container is brimming first, serving these other projects comes effortlessly.
Through my practice of yoga and meditation, I have experienced first-hand the power of aligning oneself with an innate core of equanimity. When we find ourselves drifting away from this, what action can we take to bring us back to harmonious ground?
For the weeks where we’re feeling out of beat and not fully present to what life is throwing at us, here are my top 6 coaching strategies to help restore our flow and bring us back to centre.
Release the attachment to busyness. Somewhere along the way, we as modern woman have found monumental pride in being The Busiest. Relaxing and allowing time for us has become the enemy of achieving. If your busyness only achieves more stress, recognise the habit and find ways to counteract it.
Uphold behaviours that bring you back to a state of flow. For me personally this is practising yoga and meditation, writing, getting a massage, playing with my son, philosophising with my partner – but everybody is different. To discover yours, all you have to do is think about the times in your life where you’ve felt the most connected, happy and alive and emulate those experiences.
Developing space within for greater joy. In our pursuit of ‘wanting it all’ we are constantly looking outside of ourselves for security and contentment. Once I have the money/tall dark and handsome/fame, then I can be happy. A revolution occurs when we embrace the fact that nothing external to our own being can bring us permanent happiness. Permanent love is only available at our deepest centre and comes from us, to us.
Analyse your habits around nutrition, sleep and exercise. These three behaviours are pivotal in improving the neuro-plasticity of the brain. When you find the right diet, sleep and exercise requirements for your constitution, you can dramatically improve your energy levels and find more motivation to maintain your life while creating your purpose.
Dream, discuss and visualise your purpose. Do not dumb it down. Dream audaciously and find the courage to share – even if just with yourself initially or a close friend – how it is you’re going to change the world.
Be in the body. To overcome the challenge of being ‘up in our heads’ from day to day, grounding practices like walking around on the grass in bare feet, eating more protein and regular physical exercise will definitely help. If you’re up for it, I highly recommend rock climbing!