Testing long held beliefs!
The importance of travelling by yourself at least once in your life!
It’s amazing how the human mind can ‘prevent’ you from achieving what we seem to think is the impossible within our own constraints. Our belief systems shape our reality, we conform to what we think is socially acceptable within our own lengths, in the aspect of what we can and can’t control. What we think we believe is best for us might not always be.. it may take us to lifestyle or repetitive mental habits we know don’t serve us any form of growth, until we get to a point where we know we need something different.. that something different is our ability to be able to remove and do something that is best for us!
When working with clients I’ll take them through a meditation that I like to basically call, the “Happiness Meditation” I’ll go through the basis of slowing down, getting mindful and tuning into your inside needs rather than your outside tangible needs. 80% if not 100% of the time our happiest place is most commonly in nature, slowing down, doing something for us out of the hustle and bustle of modern living. So how to implement this in every day life? Get yourself to a retreat or off the grid, allow yourself the mental time to rest and re-coop!
For me I hit this point just before the end of last year (2017) I was working and creating content for the sake of creating, not passionately doing it. I was run down, tired and boarder line about to have a mental break down, which made me begin to question my job preference! I was definitely not practicing what I preached! After slowing down and getting clear on what I wanted, over the past couple of years after much trial and error, I’ve learnt that time off is OKAY! The ability to give back to yourself in some way or form will open you up to much more opportunity within your life, whether it be your work, family or other relationships. If you’re not happy or content with yourself how can you be happy or content with other aspects in your life?
I’ve done a couple of yoga retreats in Bali, but lucky enough this year was able to attend the amazing Aro Ha retreat, with the tag line “Adventures in Wellbeing” and let me tell you they are not wrong!
The day before I left I found out, a mole I had cut out a week earlier, came back positive to Melanoma. All in good timing I knew this was exactly where I had to be. My focus for myself was to be present in every element within my days, with the focus to not worry about anything I didn’t have any knowledge of, but to simply ‘be’, fully embracing where I was in order to not escalate my everyday into something I couldn’t physically see.
Arriving at the gates of what was the most awe inspiring natural landscape I had ever seen I knew the week ahead would be challenging not only physically but both mentally and spiritually. When ever a confronting situation is present but you have no knowledge of the outcome.. Repeat to yourself “What ever I can’t see in front of me is not worth my energy”, this will allow you to connect to your present moment, not a scenario that your mindset escalates for you!
We were at a disconnect, I turned my phone on aeroplane mode for the next week making the commitment yet again to being present and wholesomely immersed in the moment without any external cues affecting this. This was tough but also refreshingly testing to see how much we all relied on our devices for satisfaction, when boredom or awkwardness hit the fore front of our days. We were held personally liable to slow down and create our own content without the accessibility of internet or the outside world for the instant contentment. Which after a couple of days, really proved to show how minimally fleeting social media satisfaction really is!
A very diverse range of humans filled our group, all coming together for multiple different intentions for personal growth but with one main connection being personal, passionate growth in itself.
The whole outlook I got from our days was to focus on creating a presence of being in all that we were doing. Having no concept of time for a week was probably the most refreshing and grounding experience I had for years, it became clear that a day has so much time. It’s about what you bring to every second, rather than rushing for a continued aspect of success or a time period considered to be better than another. It’s the small things that create a larger learning process or outcome!
Our physical bodies were tested far beyond many of our normal routines, especially for myself, considered to have a consistent yoga and exercise regime. It broke the concept of how we ran our mornings/days and rather opened ourselves up to exploring a different path one we personally had no control over. Waking up to the sound of a delightful gong to begin our morning yoga class, then onto breakfast where we would have nothing but our specific portion size. This became a test for many including myself, creating a mindset of truly tasting and ‘becoming one” with our food and incredible ingredients. Yet again bringing about connection and presence to something most of us rush, we began the process of the art of physically smelling, tasting, observing and chewing. Practicing mindful eating myself, the portion sizing with out creating a mindset of over indulging or being deprived, created a thought process of what I have in front of me is all I need plus “I will always have enough”.
The amount of energy exerted over the week was immense! Hikes ranging from 20km to sometimes 30km + in a day, but the picturesque landscape made it that little bit easier, or a lot easier! We were repeatedly told that this was not a race but simply that.. “The view would always be the same no matter what time you got to the top”. We were yet again nourishingly reminded to slow down, to not try and skip the present but to simply be with it, but most importantly be with yourself. Coming back to the topic of this post, to be with yourself! The biggest test for self development is testing whether you can happily and authentically sit with yourself without the constant need to rush off to the next best thing, in order to not simply sit and deal with what ever it is you are going through! Test your boundaries kindly, commit to yourself and what you need to do!
Each day presented itself differently. By mid week, we were all tired and quite sore, then received the option for a juice cleanse plus close to 40 hours of complete and utter silence! It was quite amazing to see the reaction from every individual, how are we supposed to communicate? Considering myself a quite content and quiet person, I thought this would be a breeze.. it was and it wasn’t and here is why; It became quite clear when we feel as if we need to fill a void with conversation or fill space where we think it is needed due to awkwardness or the need of continually having connection. This was probably the most testing day for all, no food but simply juice, no conversation but pure silence. We were in the most pure element of slow there could be, no concept of time but authentically being in all that we were doing with ourselves.
Here is what I noticed; The things we choose to bury away will come up sooner rather than later when we finally allow ourselves to progress, feel and make change for the good of ourselves. It becomes very clear the ways in which we continue in life patterns that make us feel depleted, rather than lift us up, but most of all no one can limit you more than YOU as well as in comparison no one can encourage you more than YOU can! That day we achieved movement, rest and content all with out the connection of technology, a significant other, communication or food to fill our voids, we were completely and utterly connected with ourselves.
Testing your boundaries kindly where they need be, opens you up for exploration, not just for where you are when you make change, but to personally be held liable to take these aspects of change into every element of your days. Being immersed in nature, connecting with people you usually wouldn’t as well as finding compassion for yourself and your process is the first step. I want you to stop and honestly ask yourself, “Am I content with where I am right now?”.
Comforts are cosy but also confining, get out explore and do something today, that tomorrow you will be thankful for. Break your awkwardness, test your boundaries kindly and make the commitment to yourself! The only person holding you back is you!
The biggest element of change or “awareness” that occurred for me during my time at Aro Ha, was that not everything has to be done in a day, each second counts and presents within it a lesson to shift perspective to be! Commit to pushing long held boundaries and belief systems, nothing is truly as bad as it seems, it’s simply the ways in which you choose to see it or feed into it. Create a belief system of content!