Tag Archives: sewing

A time to reflect and make plans

Standard

pencil-918449_1280

I’m not the biggest fan of new year’s resolutions per se, as we so often make them, stick with them for a few days or weeks, and then go back to the way we were before when we realise we have been too ambitious, and other things get in the way of that punishing exercise schedule which seemed such a good idea before we went back to work after the holidays.  It’s so easy to get discouraged and then give up altogether.  But I do think that this is the ideal time to have a look at the year we have just lived through, at the achievements we have made, however small,  and consider how we would like to take them forward.  And not just our achievements, but also our failures, the lessons we have learnt this year and which we can use to help us in the coming year.

When we stop to look over the past 12 months, we might be surprised by how far we have come.  We might not have changed the world, exactly, but we may have taken our first baby steps towards something incredibly important in our lives.  So whilst I have not yet become self-sufficient in making my own clothes, I have started that process and made a few items, and whilst invisible zips are still a bit scary, I can imagine that they will keep getting easier with each garment (I hope!). I’ve made most of the birthday cards I’ve sent and all of our Christmas cards this year, so hope to continue this next year.  I have continued my daily yoga and meditation practice, and have resumed my writing after quite a long – and unintended – break. I have bought a Nutribullet and most days I’m  drinking a delicious and homemade smoothie full of healthy fruit and vegetables.  I  completely quit sugar last year, and then resumed it to some extent, but now Christmas is over I’m already looking forward to my January cleanse.  Mindfulness of eating has become too ingrained to overindulge for long!

So even if, like me, you have previously been discouraged by unsustainable resolutions, don’t despair.  Look at how far you have already come, and then think about what small and achievable steps you could work towards next. Optimism is great, but try to be realistic too, so that, come the end of  January, you haven’t given up altogether.

 

Advertisements

Finding clarity

Standard

wave-64170_1280We live (most of us, anyway!) in a rushed world.  Just take a look at the drivers around you next time you’re in a traffic jam, or watch people walking in a busy city street.

As a yoga teacher, people often tell me they would love to have a regular practice, or they would love to meditate, but there just isn’t time. They are busy at work, with their families, and so on – and I get that!  Me too! But sometimes taking a few minutes out to calm and quiet our minds can be just what we need.  It takes us out of the constant whirl of our minds, in which it can be hard to find clarity. If you take a bowl of water and swirl the surface, you have to wait for the water to settle back into stillness before you can see clearly into the water again. Our minds are often swirling like that bowl of water, agitated and dashing from one thought to another.  I heard once that while we try to remember something we have forgotten, we will forget another 5 things.  That’s a whirling, distracted mind for you! (And it’s why I like making lists!)

Some people rarely stop to experience a still, calm mind.  They are either awake, dashing from one thought to another, one task to another, or asleep.  Or watching tv to block out their thoughts. But we also need time to relax whilst still being fully alert.  In a poised, alert, yet relaxed stillness, we start to see the clear water beneath those swirls, as the thoughts settle and calm down.

There are no doubt many things that can give us that space and stillness, a little mental clarity amongst the hubbub of our lives. For me, it’s yoga and meditation mainly, but also cooking, sewing or knitting.  Even a nice bit of peaceful ironing from time to time!

One of my lovely students told me this week that her yoga seems to give her the opportunity to reach decisions.  Often tricky ones, that can go round and round, being thought about continually without becoming any clearer.  During yoga, that thinking process –  the swirling waters – can be sidestepped, and answers can appear as if from nowhere.  All the surrounding thoughts and their associated emotions start to settle, allowing us to see more clearly and find more creative solutions.

So being busy may be one of the worst reasons for not doing yoga or meditation.  (If that’s not your thing, substitute your own activity that you love but don’t manage to do). We may become more productive and creative  – and, by taking those few daily minutes, we may save ourselves far more time being stuck in an endless and unhelpful cycle of thinking.

It’s been a while…

Standard

Yes, I’ve done it again!  The past almost year has flown by and I’ve not been writing.  Or nothing significant enough to post here.  Life got in the way – again!

It’s a familiar enough story. Each missed week leads to another, and then suddenly it’s been months. Those months haven’t  been empty. On the contrary, they’ve been very, very full.  Teaching, reading, walking, holidays, cooking, time with family, time with friends, sewing, knitting (yes, very relaxing, apart from when it goes horribly wrong!), yoga, meditation, treatments, just being…….the most important of all!  The spring and summer have all rolled by, and now here we are in autumn, and there’s been no writing at all!  A few weeks ago, my son saw this pencil case in a shop and said I should get it….

http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0658/4527/products/small_pencil_case_-_front_no_swing_tag_1024x1024.jpg?v=1440414019

I didn’t, but it has been in my mind ever since – time to start writing again.  It’s not that it leaves a gap – of time – in my life (far from it!) but that it leaves a more indiscernible gap,  that I can only ignore for so long before I find I must start again! This time, to some extent, the creative gap has been filled by the attempt to refresh my wardrobe with handmade clothes – 2 skirts so far, plus some sailor trousers for my son’s school play, plus a dress and a jumper on the way – and the using-my-brain gap has been filled with studying for a certificate in mental health awareness – but really there is no more putting it off, I need to write as well.  About the things that matter to me, health, wellbeing, yoga, meditation, creativity.  More than 24 hours in the day would be nice, but I at least promise to myself to try to fit everything in.  And when I don’t (that’s daily, then!), to at least make sure it’s not the writing that gets pushed out every single day.  And then maybe I should consider this pencil case instead!