Slowing down in a fast paced world

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I recently jumped the ship and left my preschool teaching job. Although I miss my coworkers and those little chicken wings (the kids) it was the right move for me to take me in the direction of my purpose. That being said, life did not come to a screeching halt from taking that leap of faith. I moved to a new home with my partner, I had one week to find a part-time/full-time job, I gained 3 contracts teaching yoga to school children and I was planning out a Goddess Ceremony for a client all while in school.

I hadn’t worked full-time in at least 2 years, so that was something to get used to all in itself. My body ached for being on my feet for 8 hours a day after being used to the lots of rest. I also started commuting together with my partner so we had to come up with a new schedule and routine all together for our completely different work hours.

At first, I was loving the fast pace of my life, I was busy all the time, I felt productive and proud of myself for everything I was accomplishing and I loved being a part of a new company whose mission was to protect and restore the environment. I felt inspired and creative immediately by all the changes around me. Of course, this did not last and I soon saw the enormous rock ahead also known as burn-out. Everything went downhill as I quickly became overwhelmed, stressed out, and anxious. I felt like a chicken running around with its head cut off heading toward a cliff.

I noticed I had been avoiding and resisting the call of yoga for a long time. It was something that had helped ground and relax me in times of emotional turmoil, physical pain and anxiety attacks. So naturally, I went back to the mat. Yoga has so many amazing qualities to it that can help everyone and their various needs. There are so many styles of yoga, free online videos, and amazing classes filled with great community and acceptance that a person can choose from. I chose the amazing healing yin and restorative yoga to bring me back down to earth and out of my head.

Personally, I have found that doing something physical and close to the ground is one of the best ways for me to come back to my body, and live in the present moment through the breath. As a “pitta” dosha type, I am naturally hot blooded, busy, fast paced, and always trying to fill up all my time productively. Because of those tendencies, I can become out of balance leading to digestive issues, anger, and burn-out. My pitta was definitely over heating so the relaxing and cooling effects if restorative and yin yoga were exactly what my body needed.

After being brought back down to earth I made it a priority to find some type of schedule that worked for me. I was doing my morning routine only on the days that I was off (twice a week) so its preventative capabilities were not kicking in. On the days that I commuted together with my partner I had to make a promise to myself that I made sure that I went straight to my morning routine once I got home. The specific time was not an issue for me, but I had to prioritize the routine at the top of my list to ensure that it was getting done.

My routine is always done in a slow and mindful pace so it immediately helped me to simmer down and reminded me to breathe. I begin with oil pulling as I indulge in the ritual of making my coffee. The smell of the whole beans as I grind them up, the soothing sound of the hot water boiling and then the sight of the foaming coffee as I pour the water into the French press or Chemex fill me up with gratitude and joy. Once I’ve made the coffee I let it marinate in my special spice blend as I move into the yoga room.

In the yoga room, I light some incense and chant my morning Gongyo, meditate, and write in my 5 Minute Journal. I also have two books that I read from, “Simple Abundance” and “Find Your Happy: Daily Mantras.” Meditation is a great way to bring me out of my head and back into a joyful reality. Sometimes I am able to sit in stillness and other times I am not, but I also show up to find out. Writing and reading are two of my favorite activities to do, so not only does it fill me with joy, but the specific journal and books that I use are filled with love, reflection, and positivity that always put me in a great mood.

The last soothing activity is to for me to take a shower and wash away any negative energy from the day before. It helps me feel like I have a fresh start to my day. Once I am out I do abhyanga or oil massage on my body, another way to find appreciation for what I have.

These two activities have helped me tremendously when it comes to preventing burnout and overwhelm and I highly recommend them to everyone regardless if you are living a busy lifestyle or not. I also recommend morning pages, in which you keep a journal by your side and immediately write your dreams, take a brain dump and then end with a gratitude list the minute you wake up. It is supposed to help release your mind of holding onto everything going on in there at all times. It also allows you to live in appreciation for what you have. These two are said to combine for the ultimate effect of unleashing your true creative potential.

Nature is another amazing way to help you to slow down. I am lucky to live in an area surrounded by beauty- but have yet had a chance to explore it. Even just talking your pet on a walk in the morning and evening or sitting on your balcony and seeing the autumnal change in the trees or watching the Fall rain come down as you sip your coffee can transform your day. Not to mention, it is free.

The last tip to help you slow down is to embrace the change in the seasons. As we quickly transition into Autumn, it is the perfect time to redecorate and rearrange your home, and add in the relaxing effects of cozying up your home for you and your loved ones. This act of relaxing, warmth and community is called “hygge” and is all about slowing down. Add some warm colored twinkly lights to your balcony or bedroom, light some candles or incense, bring in wood for your first fire of the season and cozy up with your favorite blankets as you drink a hot beverage with your lover or best friend.

I don’t anticipate the world around us slowing down any time soon, but that doesn’t mean that we have to allow it all to swallow us up and wring us dry. You are responsible for your well being and for your life- make it a priority to care for yourself every day and I am sure that you will be able to thrive in your environment and show up as your greatest self.

Thank you for reading today and I will be back soon. Please leave questions or tips about slowing down in the comments box below.

 

Love always,

Mabes

shadow work: overcoming our fears

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Fear is not our enemy, but it isn’t our best friend either. Fear is like a needy and insecure younger sibling.

It took me a long time to change my perspective about fear. For the majority of my life I always sat on the sidelines and watched other people take risks and live as if they had not a care in the world. Then I went through my “experimental” phase in which I used substances to numb and cope with my fears to pretend they weren’t there. After coming out of my depression in early 2017, I went back to being scared of everything, only this time I was hyper aware of my fears so it often turned into episodes of anxiety that would last a few days, making me feel emotionally and mentally crippled.

Due to recent events, I’ve had no choice but to make radical changes in many areas of my life, especially in the emotional and mental well-being department.

This is by far not an easy or quick task. It is unquestionably part of the shadow work that many people in this world avoid or sweep under the rug. But I had had enough, and the screaming in my mind was only getting louder with my ill attempts to bury them alive.

One of the exercises that I recommend is to create a table on a Word document and list out your fears. Then add two columns, in which you mark off whether the fear is rational or irrational (seeing the fear typed out allows you to put it in perspective). The final column is called “reality” and here you’ll write out what the fear really means and the truth of it if any. Not only did this help me tremendously in realizing when I was creating stories in my head and running with them, but it also helped me to learn about myself as I figured out where the fears came from, and I was able to sometimes reveal that I was a lot more self-sufficient than I thought. Definitely a humbling boost to my confidence.

A self-care practice that I had been putting off for months was to get back into meditation. In a different post, I wrote about how I always used to pursue answers and validation outside of myself and how it led to me not trusting myself and not being able to tell the difference between my intuition, my fears or the mind games my brain liked to play. About a week ago my fears were coming at me in full force, giving me anxiety, causing me to feel emotionally unstable and on the verge of panic attacks. Beneath it all I could see in bold letters my body and soul shouting out “MEDITATE!!” Finally, I gave in to that demand and started to meditate again. I started with just a few minutes every day after my morning chanting, or in the car before work, or any other time in which I felt overwhelmed, anxious and fearful-as long as I was able to. Luckily, I used to meditate 3-4 times a day in the past, so slowing down and tuning in comes easy to me. Still, I was petrified. Most times that I meditated was because I had a specific question or fear in mind that was taunting me. I would be close to shaking as I quieted my thoughts and asked my inner being about it. I never knew what the answer was going to be, so it could have well been the exact thing I was fearing. Despite that, I knew that the only way out was through, and I needed to know these answers in order to move on and make suitable choices or changes for myself. In some cases, the trust in myself was so depleted, that I would have to meditate several times about the same fear- at last realizing what my intuition and heart’s desires were telling me along with the fear that was clouding it all and how I could overcome it. After just a couple of weeks of incorporating meditation into my day I am noticing my self-confidence, self-trust, faith, courage and inner strength improving. It makes me question why in the heck did I ever stop meditating in the first place?

Turning to your spiritual practice is another great way to help you overcome your fears. It allows you to put them into perspective as you grasp the bigger picture. It reminds us that we are so small in this world, and our “problems” are not always as bad as we imagine them to be. And if the Divine created us as perfect beings, then that means that we already have everything we need inside of us in order to be our best selves and live our best lives- and that includes the tools to persevere past our doubts. I personally made it a priority to chant during these difficult times, and even though I felt so helpless at the time, it definitely reminded me of who I am- a badass mama who is here to show up fully in this world as the greatest version of myself so that I can help others do the same.

The thing that we don’t realize about fear is that it isn’t there to bring us down or turn us into miserable, mopey victims who never go after their dreams. It is here to tell us something. It is a teacher to us, and it’s intended to show us our areas of improvement, a past trauma that we need to heal or if something in our gut doesn’t feel right. It’s important to embrace our fear, dig into it, feel it, accept it and learn to move past it. This is why we should have compassion towards ourselves when we are feeling fearful and make it a mandatory to be gentle and loving to it in order to conquer them.

Let’s make a vow together that no matter what our fears are, we will do the work necessary to master them so that we can continue on our paths to creating a legacy for ourselves.

Thank you so much for reading, please leave any questions or your own personal tips in the comments below.

 

Love always,

Mabes