How do we find wholeness? Freedom? Happiness? Whatever the word we use for it, the concept is one a lot of us are looking to bring into our lives, but the reality, the feeling of it, can be much harder to find.
Through the last few years I've been working on this in my own life. It started as an alternative to antidepressants and painkillers - I had a gut feeling that there had to be another way out of the dark space I was in, and another way to deal with my chronic pain. I started looking into alternatives, and the more I became open to these ideas, different pieces of information, teachers, and healers, came into my life. Bit by bit I started to get glimpses of this freedom/wholeness, then I'd experience moments of it, and now often longer moments, deeper understandings of what truth and freedom really are. The first years were hard, it was hard to let go of pressure and expectations, hard to be patient - I wanted immediate relief - but each day it gets easier, and even through the hard days now I'm so grateful I gave myself this time, and started on this journey.
This time of year can be a tricky one - family situations can be charged and our hearts can feel heavy with the pressure to be coupled, be successful, be 'having the best holiday ever', or we might be missing family members or friends no longer with us, whatever it is for each of us, it can be hard to navigate.
So I thought I'd share some of my favourite tools, vids and links that have put me back on the path, back in touch with myself and my truth, or brought me some joy on those days when I just needed some fun to pull me out of the dark.
1. Tai Chi - at just 12 minutes this is a lovely intro to mind-body practise
2. Starting a gratitude practise - even starting with super basic, or small things, leads to a focus on what is positive in our lives.
There's a great one in this meditation by D. Chopra (and you can choose to listen to just the first 5mins of guided breathing, and work your way up to the whole meditation). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHBg9bdRkQ8
3. Find James Lemon on Insta - for the light and lolz he brings just being him.
4. Reads: Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. It's a short novel, and when I read it it really spoke to me on the ups and downs, and ins and outs of the spiritual journey. And The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I avoided this one for so many years because it seemed so "self-help-book-cheesy" but when I finally gave it a chance it was epic. It helped me so much with managing my endo pain.
5. Spiritual Teachers. Mine for this year (other than my rad AF femmes) have been Robert Adams, and Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth.
6. Eat whole foods, drink water, and reduce that sugar intake! We see it a lot I know, and I almost thought it was a bit "overdone" to mention it here. BUT this has helped me enormously with my mental health. Now that I've changed my eating habits I really notice the drop in my mood and brain functioning when I do eat highly processed and/or sugary foods, especially if I start my day with those foods rather than fresh veg and whole unprocessed grains and proteins.
7. Get a massage! You're worth it. If you can budget it in, do it often. Not only is this a great relaxation and self-love practise, but if we find the right practitioner, who is able to tune into our bodies, it can help to release any trauma we've stored in our bodies that makes itself known as pain (trauma could be anything from a childhood bike accident, to unhealthy relationships, to an almost-fall at work, to PTSD etc). I've been working with a great practitioner in the last 2 years and it is amazing what a combination of breath and body work can do to release trauma from the body, leaving us more energised and calm.
Peter Levine also has some great talks on youtube about how the body stores trauma and how we can release it from our body, even if we have no conscious memory of it.
3 min watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQcKbRvYXe0
8 min watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hP2KJ3UgDI
8. Memes and cute animal pics. This "sad" Breviceps Fucus frog always makes me giggle, so bloody cute!
9. And last, but certainly not least: DANCE! This fab track that gets me moving every time I hear it.
I hope these can bring you a lil extra some'n some'n and help you on your journeys.
All the best to all your beautiful selves this holiday season!
P.S. If you're having a hard time, please know that you are not alone. You are loved. Reach out. You can get free support through Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Qlife on 1800 184 527, or you can reach out to us via instgram or FB.