A Year of Living Mindfully: Week 19. Being Present in Mind and Body

BEING PRESENT IN MIND AND BODY

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Technology has taken over basic human interactions. Instead of admiring a sunset with a loved one, we take a picture of it and upload it to Instagram. We watch movies with friends and spend half the movie with our heads in our phones updating our news feeds. When we are somewhere else mentally, we might as well not be present physically. When we are not present with someone, they may feel neglected and ignored. 

At Christmas time, my phone got robbed and I was forced to use an old block of a phone with a grey screen and a memory that could hold 20 messages in my inbox at a time. But it had internet access….. NOT. I spent 3 weeks without internet access on my phone. If I needed to check emails, I logged onto my laptop and done it the old fashioned way. I spent a lot of time in my own head. I learned a lot about myself during those 3 weeks. I realized how much I “thought” I needed my phone and how much time others spent on theirs.

One evening my best friend came to visit and we sat down to watch a movie. She stared at her phone for the first 30 minutes. I could feel my blood boil. I asked politely for her to put her phone away as I thought it was rude of her. She laughed it off and continued watching some random Snapchat story on her phone. I didn’t understand why she even bothered to come visit and watch a movie if she was going to sit on the couch on her own for most of the night. I never felt so alone. That was me before my phone got robbed. It made me realize how many amazing opportunities or memories I had missed because I was on my phone or I was busy taking a picture of the memory. From that night on, I always tried to make more of a conscious effort to put my phone down when others were talking or when I had allocated a time to do an activity with someone.

This weeks exercise wanted me to stay present with friends, family and colleagues with these simple steps: 

  • Turn off your phone and put it out of sight. Having it on the table next to you gives a message that something may take precedence over your time with this person.
  • Notice where your mind goes. Every time you are aware of it drifting off, bring it back in the same way as you do when you meditate.
  • Notice whether any particular emotions are arising- perhaps restlessness or the wish to be somewhere else. Whatever comes up, acknowledge it, tune into the body, and explore any sensations that accompany it.
  • Practice Listening Mindfully (Week 10’s exercise).
  • Reflect on how being present with someone both physically and mentally affects the encounter and the relationship. What do you notice?

Reflection:

The same friend came over again the other night and I purposely left my phone upstairs. We didn’t watch a movie, we just sat there and chatted and it was amazing. We laughed loads and spent genuine time together. At one point I had to go grab my phone so we could double check a date for the next time we were planning to spend time together. We just sat there an listened to each other. I was nice not having any distractions for a while and I felt grateful that I had someone who wanted to sit there and be present with me. I was worthy of their time and they were worthy of mine.

Work colleagues on the other hand, I just cannot stay present with. It is much harder to stay present and actively listen when you and the other person and worlds apart and you have genuinely no interest. That’s kinda mean but that’s what goes through my head. I do try stay present as often as a I can but my mind drifts off and I get easily distracted or reach for my phone. I must try this exercise with a work colleague and report back. It is hard though when you’re working a 13 hour night shift and the same person is speaking to you the entire night. How can someone hold concentration for that long? ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………………….

Goal: 

Must try stay present at work. Stop being rude and staring at my phone in the company of others.

 

J x



 

劾Meditation: Developing Loving-Kindness Week 1

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As the submission date for my thesis approaches, I decided to take up a new hobby that would keep me grounded and focused, MEDITATION. I searched the internet for the most appropriate and inexpensive course I could find and came across a ‘Mindfulness and Loving-Kindness Meditation’ five week course every Wednesday morning from 10:30-12:45 at the Dublin Buddhist Centre. For under 25’s the course costs just 55. BARGAIN!  and for everyone else see the price list below:

170 for waged
135 low-waged
95 for unwaged, students or OAPs.

Who better teach me how to meditate than the Buddhist Community! The early mornings suited me because I do a lot of night duty so it meant I could just go straight from work.

Week 1:

  • Introduction to meditationPosture workshop
  •  Body Scan

Mindfulness and the Mindfulness of Breathing meditation practice

Week 2:

  •  Exploring aspects of mindfulness
  • The four foundations of mindfulness

Week 3:

  •  Exploring friendliness
  • The Metta Bhavana meditation practice

Week 4:

  • Working with the mind: distraction and absorption

Week 5:

  • Taking meditation into the world
  • Keeping your practice going after the course

I’m going to write about what each week entailed and give a little personal reflection on how I found the class and how I got on with the homework on and off ‘the pillow’.

Week 1:

 This week introduced us to meditation, its origins and what meditation is not. I have just written down the notes they gave us on these topics below to give you an understanding on what we learned.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a means of transforming and changing our minds for the better. It helps us change the way we relate to ourselves and the world around us. If we experience difficulties, meditation can help us to work creatively with those difficulties. If life is already good for us, meditation can deepen our enjoyment and appreciation of life.
Buddhist meditation techniques offer a way of encouraging and developing positive states of mind. We can use it to cultivate calmness, clarity and awareness, and also can help us to develop emotional positivity. It can help us let go of ways of being that limit us, and allow us to go beyond a limited sense of ourselves. It can even help us to see more deeply the true nature of things.

The main thing we learn when we meditate is that we have a choice about what we think and feel. We tend to think of our personality as being fixed. We tend to think that the thoughts and emotions we have are somehow inevitable, and outside of our control. But actually our emotions and thoughts are much more fluid and ever- changing than this. And even though much is beyond our control in life, we can always take responsibility for our own states of mind and choose to change them for the better. Meditation empowers us to make this choice.

Buddhist Meditation

Over thousands of years Buddhist meditation techniques have developed to help people work with their minds. The foundation of all these techniques is the cultivation of a calm and positive state of mind.

The meditation practices we teach cultivate this calm and positive state of mind. They consist of two simple but effective practices drawn from the Buddhist tradition, originally taught by the Buddha himself over 2,500 years ago. The pair complement each other and can be learned by anyone.

The first practice is the Mindfulness of Breathing, which cultivates clarity, awareness and calmness. The second practice is the Metta Bhavana, or Development of Loving Kindness practice, where we develop friendliness and loving-kindness for ourselves and others. (We also do sessions of body awareness, which we call the Body Scan.)

Both practices are Buddhist in origin, but one does not have to be a Buddhist to benefit from them. After all, you dont have to be German to drive a BMW! That said, if youre interested in Buddhism, learning these two meditation practices is a great starting point.
Through learning these meditations, we may not find the meaning of life, but we can certainly find ways of living a life with more meaning. They are called foundation practices, but you can go a long way with them! They can profoundly transform your life for the better.

What meditation is not

It is worth saying what meditation is not. It isnt escapism: if you want to escape try watching lots of reality TV, getting drunk, doing drugs etc. They are more effective ways to escape your experience! When you sit down to meditate what you get is your experience, sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes not, but always very real.

Neither is meditation about controlling your experience; it is about becoming aware of your experience and encouraging it in positive directions. In any case, you cant control your experience; you can only choose how you respond to it.

Finally it isnt about your mind going blank, or going into some trance! When you sit down to meditate, you get yourself, just as you are.

Meditation posture 

It also showed us the best postures to hold whilst we meditate. I chose the seiza position which entailed sitting on the floor with a mediation pillow and two blocks under my ‘sit bones’ (basically take your two hands and move the two sides of your bum cheeks to either side) and wrapped myself in a blanket where I could rest my hands. For those who find this one uncomfortable the chair was recommended. The lotus position is my goal. Very majestic

Why is the position in which we meditate  important?

The position in which we meditate is very important to keep the spin in alignment with the pelvis. Usually when we are in a seated position of any kind our pelvis and spine are curved which eventually leads to slumping and becoming uncomfortable. In order to remain comfy and cause no strain or discomfort to our backs during meditation, our spine needs to remain straight. When our pelvis is in a straight position, the spine follows it. The pelvis is considered the anchor of the spine. When we move the flesh to either side of our ‘sit bones’, we allow the pelvis to become aligned with the spine creating an upright comfortable posture. You literally just take your two hands and pull each bum cheek to the side and sit. This means that the top rim of the pelvis is neither rocked backward nor forward.

In order to enjoy meditation and sit satisfactorily in chairs, we must also pay attention to the position of the thighs. One of the problems with most chairs is that they force us to sit with our thighs in a horizontal position, or worse yet, with our knees higher than our hip sockets. As soon as we raise the knees to the same level or higher than the hip sockets, the pelvis tilts backward, and the lower back rounds. This position causes strain on the muscles and discs in the back causing pain. It was recommended that you place a block or two under your sit bones and sit on the edge of the blocks to help direct your thighs downwards allowing them to be placed below your hips. As you become a regular meditator this position will become easier and the muscles will begin to stretch leading to your knees automatically falling below your hips. This can take a long time so don’t beat yourself up for needing like three blocks and a blanket. Everyone has to start somewhere. There are loads of hip opening exercises you can do to help you with this position. We do a lot in yoga class but I won’t get into details on this post. The position of your ankles and feet whilst in a cross legged position is also important. I always thought you literally sat on your ankles and feet when crossing your legs but I was informed this would just cause pain and discomfort. Which it did. Again the correct position for sitting cross legged takes time.


Your head is obviously attached to your spine and therefore it’s position is essential. Position the head so that you are looking straight ahead, then slightly drop the skull so that the eyes fall about three feet in front of you on the floor. Some meditation systems teach you to keep your eyes open, others keep the eyes closed. Whichever you choose, this position of the head will be comfortable. We were taught to close our eyes and imagine a hook is pulling our head towards the ceiling. I had just finished night duty this day so I was advised to slightly open my eyes and stare at the ground if I felt I was falling asleep. It is not ideal to fall asleep during meditation as your brain and concentration becomes lazy and impacts on the benefits and purpose of the practice.

The position of the arms and hands are another one. Tie a blanket around your hips and place your hands inside the front and there will be less weight pulling through the arms and straining the shoulders and neck. You can also place your hands on your knees or thighs with the palms facing up or place your hands in a mudra position.

The first half then finished with a body scan which they encouraged us to do before beginning of every meditation as it helps us to become aware of our inner and outer worlds.

Reflection

It was difficult to get comfortable at first and my feet are pretty stiff so I moved around a lot trying to find the best position. There was complete silence which was I have always liked a guided body scan as it keeps me focused and engaged as I find it hard to concentrate and stay focused during without Guidance. We reflected together as a group and then had some tea and chats at the break. Our teacher encouraged me to try and figure out why I find it harder to sit with myself without guidance. Something I will figure out as the course goes on I thought?

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In the second half of the class we were taught about mindfulness and were introduced to a simple ‘mindfulness of breathing’ meditation. We practiced this for 20 minutes and again reflected on our experience as a group.

Mindfulness

Central to meditation is the practice of mindfulness. When we are mindful, we are aware; we notice what is going on around us and inside us.

Mindfulness is something we can practice when we’re on the bus, when we’re waiting in the queue at the shop, while we’re eating. It’s not abstract or esoteric it’s simply about paying attention to what’s there with an attitude of interest and exploration.

Through being mindful, we learn that small things can have a big effect. Becoming aware of our bodies, our emotional life, our communication with others, helps us to live a life that flows into a rich tapestry of awareness, imbued with beauty and appreciation.

From a Buddhist perspective, mindfulness even includes an awareness of ‘how things really are’ – an awareness of the true nature of things. By being mindful, the Buddha says, we become more wise and more free. It’s because of this that he said that ‘mindfulness is the direct path to freedom’.

The Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation Practice
In this meditation practice, we are, quite simply, mindful of the breath, aware of the breath. We bring more and
more of our energies to bear on our experience of sitting here breathing.

Why meditate on the breath?

Its always with us, its free, and its beautifully simple.
Its internal, so were less and less dependent on external stimulation.
The breath offers way into our state of mind. Awareness of it takes us deeper into ourselves and how we
are feeling.
The breath can be a refined, pleasurable experience, which can be very enjoyable.
The breath offers a meditation on life. It has a poetic quality: to be alive is to breathe.

We breathe from our birth continuously until our death, when we draw our last breath. By focusing on the breath, we become aware of the mind’s tendency to jump from one thing to another. The simple discipline of concentration brings us back to the present moment and all the richness of experience that it contains.

But also, by being aware of the breath, our energies will gather around the breath and our deeper energies will unlock and integrate, rather than remain scattered. By practicing the Mindfulness of Breathing regularly, we can experience ourselves becoming more free, at deeper and deeper levels of ourselves.

How do we practice?

We do this practice by being aware of the body breathing, being aware of the breath in the body. In other words, we bring this quality of mindfulness to our breathing.
Were not thinking about breathing, but rather feeling it. Were exploring the breath, being curious about the breath, being interested in the breath. Its not an idea about the breath, but an experience of the breath itself.

The breath is an organic process, so we dont force it or try to control it. Instead we simply be aware of it, and let it happen in its own way, without trying to change it.

Stages of the practice

To help us be aware of the breath, and to encourage a deepening and refinement of our awareness of the breath, the practice is in stages.

Stage 1

Mindful of the breath, with a subtle count after the out-going breath

Stage 2

Mindful of the breath, with a subtle count before the in-coming breath

 Stage 3

Mindful of the breath

 Stage 4

As you breathe in and out, mindful of the sensations at the point where you first feel the breath enter the body

The count in the first two stages is a gentle guide to help you stay with the breath the practice is not mindfulness of counting! In each of these two stages, we count the breaths, up to ten, and then start the count again at one. This also helps us to notice if our minds wander off.

If the mind does wander off, dont worry. This is quite normal! Given our busy lives, its not surprising that this happens. The main thing here is not to give yourself a hard time, and instead respond with kindness. Accept with kindness that you have wandered off, and then simply return to the breath in the body and resume the practice again. In a way, you should really celebrate when you notice youve wandered off, as youve just moved from unawareness to awareness!

Reflection

I found this much more difficult as it was not guided and my mind wandered a lot more than in the first one. I did notice I was a lot more comfortable in my posture though as I realized having my feet slightly hanging off the pillow I was knelt on was much nicer. If you’re doing this meditation at home and find your feet are a bit ‘stiff’ you can easily fold up socks and slip them just under your feet near your toes or even a small blanket? Same applies if you have trouble with your knees. When I’m at home I use a giant cushion from my couch to kneel on so my feet can hang off the back. I sit on two blocks and one pillow and use my dressing gown to keep me warm whilst placing my hands in the pockets to keep my posture intact. My mind usually wanders off so I started to label them as they come about. I imagined a conveyor belt with my thoughts going by on it ‘WORK’, ‘HOLIDAYS’, ‘PHONE BILL’. Others like visualizing their mind as a sky with their thoughts as the clouds constantly changing and moving through your mind. Whichever works for you!

HOMEWORK

Homework for week 1 was to practice the body scan and mindfulness of breathing meditation every day. I managed to do it for 4 days. I didn’t set a time for it and always felt I was ‘too busy’ to fit it in. I found it hard to concentrate on my own and not with a group. The support from meditating in a group is amazing. You’re not afraid of someone in your house walking in on you sitting on a pillow meditating thinking you’ve lost your mind. Although, people in my house wouldn’t even bat an eyelid because they’re used to me doing random ‘hippy’ things as they would call it. So big things this week were definitely not giving myself the time and space and not setting a time for it every day. Some days I forgot to meditate and felt guilty then going to bed without doing it. You shouldn’t ever feel bad for not meditating because that is just counterproductive! I was also working nights for half the week then off work for the remaining half. I always find when I have no routine I am extremely under productive so that would explain the lack of consistency and laziness towards the end of the week. Leaving my ‘meditation station’ set up was a big help. I didn’t have to put in any effort to prepare the area, I just sat straight down. I found meditating before sitting down to do my assignment extremely beneficial. I felt I had more energy and did not get all ‘FML this thesis will be the death of me’, I remained calm and focused. That’s like the main aim of meditation, being calm and focused HURRAH!

J x

Tis’ the season to be Kind and Grateful

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The Law of Attraction

Most people have heard of ‘The Secret’, a book that was written about The Law of Attraction. What is The Law of Attraction? Do good things to others and good things will come to you. Visualize what you want in life,let it manifest and it will be attracted to you. Basically, like attracts like. Think or do negative things and you will attract more negative things. Think or do positive things and you will attract positive things. There is one flaw though. If something tragic happens to you like a death or major life event, you could feel like you are responsible for it and you have attracted it to you. This is still one concept of the law I am a bit iffy about.

The Law of Attraction teaches you how to take control of your future. It consists of many different exercises to help you do this. As Christmas is just around the corner, I have decided to focus this post on two of the laws exercises,kindness and gratitude. It is a time for giving presents, love, hope, joy and being grateful for what we already have. Christmas presents are piling up and we are all busy trying to finish our last bit of shopping, wondering if you have bought the kids enough gifts and forgetting the real meaning behind Christmas. Christmas is a time were friends and family gather together to give thanks for the year that has past and wish hope and love for the future. I understand Christmas has a different meaning for everyone If you want to experience a truly magical Christmas, you must start withthe basics. Kindness and gratitude should be on your daily to do lists but sadly some people just leave them until Christmas when they are forced by tradition to buy presents for people and say thanks.

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Kindness-the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. A kind act.

Kindness is certainly something we are good at at this time of year. We give presents and cards to those whom we love and care about. But what if there was other less expensive ways to show kindness and bring a little more magic into your Christmas? Here are some suggestions of some random acts of kindness you could do this Christmas:

  • Visit someone you have not seen in a long time. Surprise them.
  • Visit old neighbours. See if they need help with shopping or chores around the house or maybe just a bit of company.
  • Buy someone a thank you card. Tell them how much you appreciate them.
  • Buy a small present and give it to the next homeless person you see.
  • Do a little extra around the house to help out your Mam or your partner or roommates whatever.
  • Say “I love you” to someone you love.
  • Say “please” and “thank you”and really mean it. Don’t just open a card or present and not look the person in the eye when saying thank you. Or throw the card to one side and scan read it.
  • Forgive. Forgive those who have done you wrong. Forgiveness is a difficult thing to do but the sense of relief from letting go of those negative grudges is worth it.
  • SMILE- Smiling will radiate positive energy from you and pass it on to the next person.
  • Pay for the persons behind you in the queue’s coffee.
  • Give back to those less fortunate than you. Volunteer with the elderly people around your area or the homeless.
  • Make someone a cup of tea without them having to ask you first.
  • Throw someone a text or give someone a ring you have not spoke to in a while.
  • Make time for friends and family. Try be a bit selfless this time of year. It will attract better things for you.

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Gratitude-the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

There is a key step in the Law of Attraction that people often forget to use. They get so wrapped up in making lists and visualization that they forget one of the most important and easiest parts of the Law of Attraction. Even when they do remember it, they dont use it correctly. This important step is gratitude.

Gratitude is a powerful Law of Attraction exercise. It raises your vibration and brings you into harmony with the energy of the Universe. Gratitude can immediately transform all areas of your life.

Every day you see people whose lives are wonderful and those whose lives could be better. The ones who could have a better life have one thing in common they lack gratitude for what they already have. They cant gain more so long as they fail to appreciate what they already have. Their lack of gratitude closes them off from receiving more and they arent grateful for what theyve already received.

No matter how bad someones life may be, there is always something to be grateful for. As soon as they find it, their life will improve.

Complaining is focusing on what the mind perceives to be a problem. The Universe knows there are no problems. Everything was created by you and you can change everything you have created for better or worse.

If you want to lose all the wonderful, amazing things in your life夷f you want your days to be harder夷f you want to struggle to pay your bills夷f you want to feel unloved or lose relationships地ll you have to do is COMPLAIN.

If you want your life to get better in every possible way夷f you want more than enough money夷f you want incredible, loving relationships夷f you want to be happy and fulfilled地ll you have to do is be GRATEFUL.

In a world dominated by technology, the simple act of saying thank you, showing that you appreciate what has been done for you or given to you by someone, is being left behind. We can simply hit a “like” and favourite button and not have to think about sayingthank you in real life. Christmas is not the only time of year we should show gratitude but here are some suggestions:

  • Write someone a note or card to tell them how much they are appreciated. My brother and I leave sticky notes on each others bedroom doors on random mornings.
  • Listen and show interest. This can make people feel heard and understood. It may seem small but it can have a positive impact on someone. Let people know you are there for them if they need to talk.
  • Like kindness, gratitude is about saying thank you also.
  • Take the time to appreciate the small things- be mindful when drinking your cup of tea or eating your mince pie. Take it all the flavours and thoroughly experience it.
  • Be enthusiastic about your work colleagues and family members. If they complete a task, show them how much you appreciate it being done. Send a kind email saying thank you.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. All it requires is noting one or more things you are grateful for on a daily basis. No fancy notebook, no computer program required.
  • One activity involves writing a gratitude letter to someone who had an impact on you whom youve never properly thanked.
  • Share the days grateful moments around the Christmas dinner table this year. The conversations that follow may give you even more reasons to give thanks.
  • If you identify something or someone with a negative trait (the cold conference room), switch it in your mind to a positive trait (the conference room with a great view).
  • When you find yourself in a bad situation ask: What can I learn? When I look back on this, without emotion, what will I be grateful for?
  • Vow to not complain, criticize, or gossip this Christmas. If you slip, keep going. Notice how much energy you were spending on negative thoughts.
  • Sound genuinely happy to hear from the people who call you on the phone. Whether they respond with surprise or delight, they’ll feel valued.
  • Be genuine. False praise is easy to spot, and it undermines your trustworthiness.
  • DONT brush off a compliment given to you. Its like returning a gift.
  • Start a gratitude jar and write one thing you are grateful for each day. Open it on New Years Eve to read about all the things you were grateful for throughout the year.

 

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I hope this post has brought an extra bit of sparkle into your Christmas. It’s nice to be important, but its important to be nice!

 

J x

 

A Year of Living Mindfully: Week 12

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Appreciating the Good

They say we can ‘redress’ our natural bias towards negativity by focusing on the pleasant and positiveexperiences. Because there is no survival benefit to enjoying pleasant experiences, they usually happen momentarily and are gone.

Mindfulness is all about being able to bring that small experience into awareness for as little as 60 seconds in order to save it in our long term memory. (Have we all seen ‘Inside Out’ the children’s movie?). These small pleasant experiences are usually appreciated and made more aware of by the young. In the movie ‘Inside Out’ they explain how aware children are of small happy moments and how such small things can impact on a child’s development. These happy moments are stored in their long term memory until bigger emotions take their place. This could be as simplistic as when the first time their Mother made them laugh or the first time they tried to eat jelly. The feeling of happiness children experience usually sits with them a lot longer than in adults. As we grow older these experiences go unnoticed because adults are usually preoccupied with more ‘important’ things in life like how they are going to pay the bills or who’s turn it is to take the bins out. The minute happiness occurs in an adult they have already jumped onto a new feeling or a new thought. Children are the most mindful of us all.

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BANKING THE GOOD

Sometimes people are surprised at they way a seemingly insignificant experience creates a strong sense of pleasure, which they experience again when they reflect on it- an added bonus. Our natural negative bias means we usually forget a transitory pleasant experience- the warm sun on our face, the scent of a flower, the smile that lights up a child’s face when they see us- but if we pay attention to the experience, noticing its different elements, we “bank” it in our long-term memory and life starts to feel richer and more fulfilling.

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This weeks exercise wanted us to make an intention to be more aware of those fleeting moments of pleasure. Do it every day for a week (or more). At the end of the week reflect on any new discoveries or insights.

What was the experience?

What thoughts occurred to you?

What felt sensations did you notice in the body?

What emotions were you aware of?

What are you experiencing now as you answer these questions?

This week I reflected on several positive experiences, one of which was particularly positive. Now its not every day or week I do this but as its coming close to Christmas I felt a bit emotional and giving. During the week I was shopping in Marks and Spencer’s and when you spend over 75 euro you get a free gift (a box with wine, Christmas pudding, biscuits, sweets etc.). I was delighted and immediately imaginedmyself and my best friend sitting on the couch having a nibble and a glass of wine. I was bombarded with shopping bags that day. I walked by sooooo many homeless people sat on the cold ground looking miserable. I decided F**k this I have enough treats at home, I’ll give this gift box to the next homeless person I see. So that’s what I done. And Wow. I have never seen someones eyes light up as much as this man’s did. “Thank you so much, you don’t realize how much I appreciate this. Seriously, Thank you”. My god I certainly would not have appreciated it as much as he did. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude (I had a little cry, as usual. I am an emotional being). I felt so happy that I had made someone look and feel the way he did.His happiness with the gift lasted a lot longer than mine would have. He sat there staring at it with joy, whereas I would have had the whole thing eaten at that stage. I reflected on how much I take for granted in life and how I need to start appreciating the little things more.It was a positive experience that will certainly be entering my long-term memory. Even reflecting back again writing this, all the same emotions I felt that day come flowing back. I received great happiness and pleasure from this small act of kindness. I also reflected on other small moments of pleasure throughout the week but this was one that stuck out for me.

What small moments of pleasure can you remember from the week past?

J x

The act of Self Love: 歹 Part 1

 I first came across the act of self love around Christmas time last year. Myself and my best friend felt we were in a bit of a negative cycle. We were bitching about everyone, being depressing f**ks, and just being very negative towards ourselves. We decided enough was enough. 

 I began to research how to love yourself, how to be more positive, and just how to be happy in general. Self love popped up several times so I decided to look into it further. I had heard Khlo矇 Kardashian speak about it before so of course I was extra interested. If Khloe does it then I need to do it? Along the way I came across Charlie Chalpins poem and Gala Darlings book on Radical Self Love. There was endless blog posts on how to love yourself and step by step guides. After reading everything there was to read, I came up with my own idea of self love. In a recent post I described simple steps to loving yourself and introduced you to Charlie Chaplains poem. I decided to write about my understanding of self love and how I have incorporated it into my daily life. I will seperate the post into parts as I don’t want to bombard you’s with a lot of information all at once. I could write for days about self love so trust me this way will ensure you won’t get bored half way through.

I believe the goal of self love is to become your own best friend. Treat yourself like you treat your best friend. If your best friend was having a bad day you might organise something fun to do that they like or you might just go around to their place and have a cup of tea and a chat. If you feel yourself having a bit of an off day, listen to yourself, bring yourself on a nice walk, put on your favourite movie to cheer yourself up. All the relationship advice you’ve give your best friends over the years, give the same advice to yourself. Stop going back to that same guy who’s treating you like sh**t and have more respect for yourself. Practice what you preach and all that jazz.

 Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with some relaxation like booking a spa treatment or having a bubble bath. Go to yoga or do some meditation. Do something that relaxes you and takes your mind off the  hussle and bustle of life! Go for a long walk or go hiking. Try to do something nice for yourself at least once a month. Give yourself something to look forward to. Practicing mindfulness is also an act of kindness to yourself. You’re allowing yourself to get the most out of life. I’m currently doing a 52 weeks of living mindfully challenge so have a look over my previous posts if you’re interested in learning more. 

 Stop judging yourself and stop judging others. The more we criticise ourselves and others, the more negative energy we create within ourselves. Our thoughts and emotions are connected. If we think negative thoughts how are we supposed to feel happy? Friends who sit around screenshotting ugly photos of people on Facebook and are constantly judging others, are people you should try limit contact with. It’s like indirect bullying really. Negative friends like this will create negative energy and this energy will be passed onto you once you’re in contact with them. As I always say, self awareness is key. If you feel you’re speaking about someone or even yourself in a negative way, try stopping in your tracks and thinking: Is this comment really necessary? What good will come of speaking bad about this person? Like don’t get me wrong, if someone has been mean to you and you’re feeling angry and upset at what they’ve said or done to you, then by all means vent. But if all someone has done is post an innocent picture of themselves, is it really necessary to comment? Probably not. Tabloids and magazines are constantly judging celebrities so it’s no wonder we all do it. Social media has turned us all into hypercritical lunatics.

  Why did no one like that picture I posted? Oh ew I’m not liking that picture she looks ugly. Omg I can’t post that look at my eye. My face looks fat in that delete it! 

I suppose self criticism stems from having low self esteem which I have discussed in detail in a previous post. I have also given tips of how to improve your self esteem. I don’t want to repeat everything again in this post so do have a read back over it if you are interested. Improving your self esteem is defiantly all part of love yourself. How can you love yourself if you think negatively about yourself? Makes sense really. 

I’m going to leave it at three main points for this post as I don’t  want to bore you to death. Keep a look out for part 2 歹
J X