I have a new challenge! Maybe you are thinking ‘Why a new challenge again? Wasn’t there just a new one a few weeks ago? What happened to that one?’ Well, life changes and what works for a while might not work all the time. It’s important to adapt to the ever changing life situations and find the balance again and again. For many weeks I’ve spent my evenings without phone (this was the last challenge). I created a lot of drawings and it felt great to be so creative. But then things slowly started to change.
I started doing my language course on my phone every evening and one thing on the phone let to another. Then the lockdown started here in Portugal (about 4 weeks ago) and that initiated change too. With those outer changes happening I also noticed inner changes coming along. I was less motivated, felt bored easily, missed having a project, wanted to created something but didn’t know what. Of course I was still enjoying many beautiful things here in Portugal. But this low mood was always there, like an undercurrent that would sometimes surface.
Until one evening when those feelings surfaced again. I decided to put my phone down, take pen and paper and start journaling. Journaling has always been a part of my life. It’s the process of writing that helps me to shine a clear light on the situation, look at it from a different perspective and find a more nourishing way to deal with it. Once I heard someone say, it is like vomiting words on paper, and while this is very graphic explanation, it says it well. It’s about getting it all out, no filter, no holding back, just letting all the feelings out as they are in that moment. And that’s what I did. I will spare you the details, but essentially by seeing my feelings written down I realized that these are just feelings, they are not the truth, they will change, they always change and things are not that black and white anyway.
The next morning after my yoga practice I did journaling again starting with the question: ‘How do I feel right now?’ And I just kept writing, no editing, no filter until the page was full. Putting it aside I closed my eyes and sat in meditation for fifteen minutes. It was amazing what this simple addition to my morning yoga practice did. I felt so energized, motivated and joyful. I spent the whole morning working on the computer doing things I had been putting off for a long time. In the evening I skipped the language course and instead I started another yoga practice, just twenty minutes of stretching and relaxing. Followed by sitting down with pen and paper again. But this time I decided to do a gratitude practice. I know it sounds simple but it’s very powerful. I just wrote down what I felt grateful for. Anything that came to my mind, big or small, anything. And I realized that there are so many things, which I had taken for granted or even neglected for a while. Then closing my eyes again for another meditation session.
It felt like my body and mind were remembering all the retreats with all the hours of mindfulness and meditation. It felt like coming home. Coming home within myself and remembering it’s from inside myself that I can find joy, happiness and peace. At these retreats there was also nothing to do and nowhere to go, just a bit like the current situation might feel. Okay, now there is a lockdown, less social life, no travelling, less stuff to do, but that doesn’t have to define my mood and my well being. It will however affect my mood, if I don’t take good care of myself. It’s easy to get carried away by the circumstances. But at the same time we have everything we need to feel joyful and calm inside of us. It’s already there, inside of us.
But we have to choose which ‘wolf’ to feed. Do you remember the story of the two wolves? (if not you will find it at the bottom of this page) I told it many times during savasana at my yoga classes. ‘Which wolf are you feeding today?’ It’s important to be aware of the choices we have. We can choose what to read, watch, listen to, talk about, and it will directly influence our well being. With my new daily routines I actively choose to feed the wolf of compassion, joy and love. And as this wolf gets stronger, I see those qualities coming back in many areas of my life. You might want to take a moment after reading this and reflect: Which wolf are you feeding? And how do you do that?
I noticed that a simple yet powerful daily routine is very helpful for me right now. So this is what I do:
Morning: Yoga & Journaling & Meditation
Evening: Yoga & Gratitude & Meditation
And a daily walk at the beach or cliffs
You might choose something very different depending on your life situation. I might be doing something different in a few weeks too. Find out what works for you now and remember: life is always changing, everything comes and goes, listen to your heart and take good care of yourself.
I’m sending you a big hug and lots of love.
The story of the two wolves
One evening an old man told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘there is a battle inside of us, a battle between two wolves.’
One wolf is anger, jealousy, regret, greed and guilt.
The other wolf is joy, love, hope, kindness, generosity and compassion.
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’
The grandfather simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’
Each and every one of us has these two wolves running around inside us. Both of them are fed daily by the choices we make with our thoughts and actions. What you think about and dwell upon will appear in your life and influence your behavior.
The question is ‘Which wolf are you feeding today’?