So I have been missing from social media. I have shut off a lot of forms of technology that I finally realized were taking away my connections with the outside world. Don’t get me wrong, I have not disappeared off the grid entirely (obviously you know that by this post) but I have limited my time scrolling. At night I would lay in bed and have Netflix running on my computer and I would be mindlessly scrolling through Facebook then move on to Instagram then on to Snapchat then on to anywhere else that would occupy my mind at the time.
I am not sure where to really start when talking about this change I have made. I am famous for making changes. I think subconsciously I love a challenge and to see whether or not I can do something. I was sure by significantly cutting back on social media and technology use I would feel some sort of withdrawal. Pathetic maybe, but true because I know it can be just as much of an addiction as anything else. To my utter shock I have not had that expected anxiety and need to know what is going on in everyone’s lives and what pictures people are sharing on snapchat. I did not give myself the chance to wander into that area of boredom that would cause me to start scrolling. I actually brought myself back to a place that I had abandoned for quite some time. I have drowned myself in books and learning and questioning. I have read article after article of things that interest me and I keep studying more just to learn. I have nerded out and I absolutely love it because there is so much in the world I want to know about and experience. I love technology, don’t get me wrong, it is something beautiful that has allowed us to learn about so much outside of ourselves at a rapid speed. I have significantly cut down on my computer and social media time but I do admit that cutting back on texting has been a challenge. I love and hate texting. It is such an easy and quick way to communicate with someone but it also takes away all form of emotion. The amount of misunderstanding that happens by sending just one little text can be purely maddening. I have heard over and over again (myself included in saying it), “I just hate talking on the phone.” I am old enough to have been around before cell phones were really a thing and talking on the phone was what you would look forward to. Now, we all become anxiety-ridden thinking about having to have a conversation over the phone. Why is that? I believe I am good with people in person and have average, if not above average conversational skills. When you talk on the phone you are able to hear the inflection in someone’s voice and you can talk quickly and not have to abbreviate your thoughts. So, why is texting now what we do? Why have we grown to hate talking on the phone so much? It is so strange to me but that is something I could go on and on about forever.
Anyhow, back to where I have been at for the last few weeks. Without trying to sound unbelievably cliché, I have been finding myself. About 4+ years ago I had a friend introduce me to Alan Watts and how our Ego controls us. We had several discussions and at that time I took every chance I had to learn about everything he told me. I was fascinated. I started meditating twice a day and I was so amazed at how different (for lack of a better word) I felt. I felt so much more at ease in my own body and mind. I have always been a very anxious and worrisome person and I started to notice that things started rolling off my back (I was a duck 😉 I was able to release the anxiety as soon as I felt it coming on. I was aware that most of my worries were the “little things” and I really started focusing on the NOW. I became aware that I was allowing the past and the future to control me and one was already gone and one had not even happened yet. Why was I allowing that to happen? It sounds like such an obvious concept but majority of us do it just out of mere habit. My change in lifestyle and mindset and the inclusion of meditation and regular exercise allowed me to focus on the NOW and I can’t really express the way it made me feel. It was incredible. I remember feeling like for the first time I was truly myself. I was not living to please others or rushing to get everything done or worrying about what happened or what might of happened. I was simply living and it was beautiful. As life happens though, I became busy, jobs changed, people came in and out and I stopped being so mindful. I did not become unhappy…I just became more and more unaware of myself. I would say to myself that I needed to get back there but just never did…until now.
I am not exactly sure what pushed me to go back to this place I very much loved. It may have been the New Year coming in or the need and want of a new challenge in my life…who knows? All I do know is that I absolutely love this place I am re-discovering. I have been reading nonstop and sharing my thoughts with others (to those that have wanted to listen) and I have really focused on making not just my mind but my entire body and spirit healthy. I have been told I am one of those new age hippies and maybe I am but I am not a big fan of labeling people’s identities. I just know what feels right to me. I don’t push my ideas and ways of doing things on people (at least I don’t think I do) but I do love sharing my experiences with those that want to hear them and maybe even want to try to experience it themselves.
So what have my days looked like since I decided to make this mindful change? Well, I now wake up every morning early (some mornings earlier than others-I now really listen to my body and if it needs more rest I give it more rest). At night I started putting my phone across the room so I would have to get up to get it in the morning instead of just lay there and hit snooze over and over (because I surely could do that well before). Once I am up I burn a candle (usually my spearmint eucalyptus stress relief candle) and have the lighting in my room lower (there is nothing worse than harsh lighting). I turn on meditation/zen music and I go about my morning routine. I discovered one of Earth’s great gifts…COCONUT OIL! Every morning I do oil pulling (some of you may have heard of this and others maybe not—and the reactions I get to it are always entertaining). I take a tablespoon of coconut oil and put it in my mouth and will chew it up until it becomes liquefied. Once is it liquefied I will “mouthwash” with it for anywhere between 20-30 minutes (this is where I get the “Are you crazy?” reactions). It sounds strange and I thought it would be difficult to keep a liquid in my mouth for that long but it is not. I just continue doing my usual things in the morning while I do it. If you haven’t heard of oil pulling I recommend you look it up because the health benefits are insane. While I do my oil pulling I will wash my face (which I have been more strict about and I use coconut oil on my face every night and it is unbelievable how much my skin has cleared up and looks so much healthier), get dressed, prepare my coffee and lunch for the day. By the time I go through all of these things it is time to spit it out (I use a plastic cup because spitting it down your drain can wreak havoc on your pipes). I then brush as I usually do. It is as simple as that. Crazy as it sounds it is worth it for all of the health benefits. I then sit at the end of my bed with a pillow propped behind my back and I will spend 10-15 minutes meditating. I try to focus on my breathing (deep breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth). Meditation can be a little tricky because the point is to clear your mind which can be difficult, especially in the world we live in today. When I meditate I repeat a mantra in my head (I can’t tell you what it is because mantras are sacred to each person for their own personal reasons). I will find my mind wandering and when this happens I do not beat myself up for being unable to focus but instead I just go right back to the mantra. This may happen 3 or 4 times or 40-50 times. Either way I go back to being centered and focus on the mantra and my breathing. Nothing during this time is forced. I am simply just being. When I am finished I slowly open eyes and start moving…nothing is rushed. I will then get dressed in my clothes for the day (I try to meditate in comfortable, stretchy clothes that don’t feel binding or restricting). Once I am dressed and ready I will sit at my kitchen table with meditation/zen music still playing and I will enjoy a cup of hot green tea and my morning smoothie or healthy breakfast of choice (toast with peanut butter, eggs, etc.). Before I forget, during this time I have vowed to not look at my phone for anything work related or anything that could bring on any kind of stress. My mornings define my day so by doing this I am starting out calm, happy and relaxed every day. I wait until I am settled in the office to check any emails, bank accounts or reports. I may answer a text if it is urgent or if it is someone I want to talk to (only positive things allowed at this time). While munching on my breakfast and sipping my tea I take out my notebook (I designed a special notebook to include positive affirmations, daily stretches, lists of books I want to read and goals I would like to achieve-I will share more of the specifics about this at a later time). I flip open to the newest, fresh page and I put the date and proceed to list 5 things I am grateful for. Some days I am grateful for the start of a new day and the beauty that surrounds me and other days I am thankful for chapstick because my lips had been dry. I am grateful for so many things and I don’t focus on everything being in depth…I make sure I take note of the little things too. After I make my list I read a few pages of something inspirational/motivational. Some days feel easier than others to take in everything I am reading or writing but I do it knowing that it starts my day better than being rushed or bombarded with emails of a million different problems. I start my day at ease and to be honest I have found most of my days to flow with ease (maybe not quite so at ease around the time that my hormones were surfacing..haha…but still at ease). I catch myself when I start getting judgmental or start letting things get to me. I do what I can to stop myself from letting it get out of hand. It is not always easy but just being aware of it makes a huge difference.
Right now I have been writing for quite a while and my thoughts have been pouring out of me but I feel like the thoughts are becoming a little jumbled (a little tired, sick of looking at the screen) so I am going to depart for now but I plan on continuing documenting this journey and I hope you decide to join me for the adventure!