Slow down and breathe …

What’s going on?

Why the rush, the impatience, the rudeness, the lack of tolerance?

 

Competitive bus queues, 

Barging in the street, 

Car horns blaring,

Waiting in line, fuming.

 

Everyone in a rush

They’ve left it too late

Time Management an alien expression

Slow down and breathe… please.

 

Courtesy “out of the window”,

Blood pressure peaking,

Heart rates soaring,

Connections to meet

 

Eating on the go

No time for a break

Texting whilst running

Headphones at peak 

 

Everything urgent

No space to reflect

Adrenaline pumping

No manners to detect

 

Slow down everybody

And appreciate the journey

There’s much to see and enjoy

You will be pleasantly surprised

 

What you are truly missing …

 

Who’s running this? …

Last week was manic.

Totally mad.

I was exhausted.

Too many meetings (nearly all self inflicted I admit), too many unexpected events, too much rescheduling needed to claw back some free time.

Non stop racing against the clock and running so fast just to stand still.

I rarely get stressed.

Last week I was stressed.

It was a very strange and unexpected sensation.

Didn’t even have time to talk to one or two dear friends who I could have relied on to talk sense and help me through the options.

My reaction?

Sit down, breathe (it helps) and calmly work out what needs to change.

I have just made next week’s activities more manageable.

Fewer meetings.

More invitations and opportunities declined.

More free time with nothing in the diary.

I will fill some of it of course with some personal stuff I have wanted to get done for ages but this time without any outside pressure on deadlines.

Lessons learnt?

I need to stay in control of my weeks ahead.

Every week.

Saying “No” to people who always expect me to say “Yes”

They will just have to cope.

They will.

Deferring meetings or projects that can easily wait a week or so.

Without the world ending.

It won’t.

It’s a nice feeling realising it’s really down to me.

I’m running this delightful life.

I just need to consistently manage people’s expectations …..

and perhaps, more importantly, my own. 🙂

Life Cycling …

We had decided to go.

Despite the scorching heat.

Once we commit to a cycling trip, we commit.

So off we both went heading towards the shaded tree parks and then onwards towards the duck pond complete with wooden seats where you really appreciate wearing padded cycle shorts.

After one minute of cycling we suddenly stopped.

This bench here looks nice.

We can look out over the field and watch a few people go by.

And there we absolutely capture what the cycle ride is about.

We are out in nature.

We meet and greet fellow explorers in the very hot sunshine.

We chat. We laugh.

Constantly.

We avoid dogs on extended leads and people who perhaps should be.

We see things we don’t see sitting indoors reading the papers.

This is really the upside of outdoors.

We did reach the pond…. eventually.

The ducks gave us a look which said “What kept you?”

We said “What’s the rush?”

They understood …😎

Well, that was unexpected …

When my back hits the mat, it knows.

It knows that for the next hour this journey is not strictly under my direct control.

My mind and the yoga session take over.

The journey starts with some soothing music and then I’m gone.

It doesn’t take much nowadays for me to be “gone”.

I feel like I’m flying solo through the Universe.

Lost in my own space.

Watching the stars go by, slowly, as they flash into view against the black backdrop.

It feels a little like looking at the Star Wars opening credits.

It’s normally a gentle journey and it’s always different.

But this time there’s something going on.

Something unfamiliar.

I feel a twinge of intense sadness as I fly through space.

What is this?

This is unexpected.

What’s causing this?

Is it the thought of suddenly missing a few friends and family members who are no longer on this journey with me?

Is it the music?

It’s certainly quite moving and hypnotic.

I know I am alone here (just guided by my teacher’s voice) despite the room being full of fellow students.

I’m even more surprised that when I come out of the final meditation I have a few tears in my eyes.

That’s definitely not what I was expecting.

Perhaps I really need a few more of these “lost in space” journeys …..

Striking a pose …

For the last two weeks our regular yoga teacher, L, has been away on holiday.

A substitute yoga teacher, F, has stepped in to run the class.

I’m sure that we all like the consistency and comfort of a familiar face, a familiar routine.

So F had to run the sessions in her own style and give it her best shot.

And I’m sure she detected the slight body language change as the group noticed, when she walked in, that they now had a new, unfamiliar coach.

She was very enthusiastic and gave us two very different yoga sessions.

She was definitely hands on, to the extent that she would demonstrate the poses at the back or side of the class, on occasions, for those who were deliberately far from the front (like me) and perhaps could not see her clearly.

She had the magic mix of energy and enthusiasm that certainly inspired and helped the group.

Towards the end of the sessions, where the meditation kicks in, she started to recite some words which I initially thought were just random thoughts on her part.

It turned out that, for each of her sessions, she read out some extracts from written poems she had brought with her which really made the sessions special.

So every week we seem to be gifted with amazing coaching and continue to develop and grow with the diversity of the content.

We just need open minds and let the experts guide us.

Our yoga sessions are in good hands… and, I’m pleased to say, so are we.

Unexpected journeys …

I have just finished reading a science fiction trilogy.

Over about 2 years I’m afraid – I’ve never been one to rush.

I often get diverted by other books that just wing their way into my life.

Gifts, recommendations, bargain prices.

The issues for me are often continuity and memory.

Can I remember, as I continue through the trilogy, what happened in the previous book?

I cheat, of course, and scan read the last few chapters of the previous book I read often a few months back. This helps retrieve the story, the characters.

That science fiction trilogy was simply awesome.

Full of great characters, full of nasty pieces of work, full of concepts and ideas that make me continually sit back and wonder.

How can anybody write this stuff with such imagination, flair and purpose?

How gifted are those that can deliver those gripping words and paragraphs with such skill and consistency?

Thank you science fiction trilogy author.

You have taken me somewhere I never expected to go.

And I am so delighted you did.

Simply incredible ….

Friendly exchanges …

Sometimes my meetings with friends are delightfully unpredictable.

They always seem to be mutually beneficial too.

What starts as a nice informal update, (time has passed and we need to catch up), can divert into any subject at all.

No agenda or subject listing necessary.

No end time set.

It invariably starts with

“How are you and what have you been up to?”

Our meetings are a safe, confidential, tell me how it is environment.

We can share stuff that we didn’t expect.

You can play devil’s advocate, you can underpin the sentiments expressed, give advice, receive advice, disagree even.

The key for me is to just listen (always a challenge, my mind throws out question after question and I have to hold them back!) and concentrate on what they are saying.

Follow up questions are allowed of course if it provides that additional detail needed to understand each other better.

Yes, all you need is a special friend or two who can empathise, support, challenge nicely and encourage.

And we prefer to meet face to face.

Text messages can’t do it justice (too short, too ambiguous) and calls, although better, lose the body language.

Yes, that’s the gift of special friends.

I’m grateful I have those who can do this with me, whenever needed, just a phone call away.

I hope and aspire to do the same for them.

My phone is always on …

Noise on the line …

I survive on lists.

If something needs doing it has to go on my list .

If I forget to put it on my list I just forget the task.

So my mind is a constant stream of what I need to do and looking ahead for the next deadline.

Ask me what I did last week and I will have no chance of remembering.

So my regular, Saturday morning, 60 min yoga class (yes, it is on the list) has become a protected space in my diary.

The class yoga teacher, L, is just incredible.

She speaks to us all throughout the session backed by some low volume, spiritual, music track and asks us to forget everything.

Except her guidance throughout.

Her very pleasant, almost hypnotic stream of words gently guiding us through the session.

“Push away those outside thoughts and distractions ” she says.

I get lost in the delightful music.

But I can also easily get lost in yet another dreaded to do list item which can easily drift into my consciousness.

L’s commentary gently manages to help me push it away and my mind behaves.

The Saturday session always puts me back on track.

It’s essentially you, with 20 others, adrift on your mat, in the half light, with eyes closed, just doing what she asks with no pressure or judgment.

It provides a much needed break from lists, from rushing, from deadlines, from a busy life.

It’s just you, L, your yoga mat and a space to breathe.

Bless you L.

You are a much needed guide and inspiration.