by Carl J Ashley
So like pretty much everyone else, just lately, under virus lockdown here in the west of Ireland, I have had a little extra time to reflect.
As a meditation practitioner, small business owner, startup partner, a father of four, an advocate for mental health awareness and the benefits of wellness and wellbeing, it strikes me that we could all be using this time to reflect upon how we usually spend our time.
Obviously, there are those for whom these current times do not mean they are staying home under lockdown. And not just nurses, delivery drivers and key essential services staff, but construction workers, electricians and cable technicians rolling out 5G, whilst people are mostly at home.
Anyway, if you are reading this online, at least you have internet. If you have food, a roof over your head, clothes, warmth, maybe someone to share time with, maybe pets and animals to mind, or even if you are lonesome, there may always be something to be grateful for.
Which is a key thing to remember at any time, but perhaps more importantly, during these current times.
Practising gratitude, or introducing gratitude into a daily practice of contemplation, reflection, or meditation, can make a significant contribution towards attracting more abundance and happiness into your life.
Just try it. Right now. Inhale deeply, close your eyes, softly, and allow yourself to pick five things to be grateful for. Connect with your self, eliminate distractions, and just spend a few moments focussing on the breath. Exhale and inhale deeply once again, settle yourself, and know the feeling of being deeply grateful.
Right now, in the present moment.
It could be silence, serenity, calm, your breath, your partner, your laptop, a cup of tea, shade, shelter, money, food, clothes, sunshine, rain, time with someone, peace of mind etc etc etc.
And practice this at least once a day. Some say after waking or before going to sleep, when the mind is settled, is the best time to meditate.
I also like to turn off the news. For about the last twenty years. Highly recommended. Okay, so I run the risk of not finding out some bits of information which can usually be found elsewhere anyway, but for the most part, I have always found it to be nauseatingly biased, negative, depressing and unhealthy.
Same for newspapers. The mainstream media has had its day. In the hands of a corrupt, elite minority, the mainstream news channels have been shown up for what they are – simply a tool of those who wish to control public opinion. Scrutinise everything you hear from a mainstream media source and ask – who benefits? They lack credibility, accountability, and neutrality.
Therefore, there is no need to risk your peace of mind, by tolerating someone else’s idea of what you need to know, whether it is the truth or otherwise. But we can choose to filter out that which doesn’t serve our highest ideals, right?
Obviously, getting some physical exercise, even if its just to go out for a walk, and getting some brain exercise, it need not be chess online with people all over the world, like I do, but a puzzle of some kind to get the grey matter busy, are crucially important anyway, but again, perhaps more so during quarantine and virus lockdown.
Thinking, exercising, practising gratitude, and turning off the news.
Ah, yes. Toxic people – avoid them.
Within the circles I usually mix in, I meet a lot of people who are small business owners and financial controllers of small businesses.
Additionally, through my other work, and personal interests, I meet a lot of yoga teachers, psychics, wellbeing advocates, mediums, and generally what you might regard as ‘spiritual’ types. Strangely enough, even in these circles, there are no shortage of toxic people, who haven’t spent the necessary hours, days and weeks even years, doing the inner work, on themselves.
Not what you would expect from advocates for wellness and wellbeing, but as the saying goes, people can only meet you, as deeply as they have met themselves.
We live and learn.
It needn’t necessarily be someone in the so-called ‘spiritual community’, but even if you meet people who project themselves as not being authentic, it could be a family member, a colleague, or someone who you find that their behaviour makes you feel unhappy to be around them.
Simply avoid those people, for they do not deserve your time or energy.
One final tip, and again this applies before we had a little more time on our hands, is to take up a new hobby. It could be arts, crafts, sewing, painting, carpentry, or anything which involves us seeing the fruits of time and dedication – even a jigsaw puzzle!
The idea is be creative, allow the creative juices to get flowing, and return back to a childlike mindset of wonder and awe, gratitude and appreciation for simple and basic creativity. As adults, we sometimes lose the ability to reconnect with our inner child. Taking up a new creative hobby, can help us to not only overcome boredom, but realise we have hidden talents that deserve to come out on display!
So, to summarise, our virus lockdown, social distancing, work from home, self-care ‘Surviving to Thriving’ kit might include:
- Thinking; read a book, do a crossword, solve a puzzle
- Exercising; talk a walk, go for a hike, spend time in nature
- Practising gratitude; once or twice a day meditation
- Turning off the news; or any unreliable, negative news source
- Avoiding toxic people; who drain your energy or behave unkind
- Take up a new hobby; where you are tapping into creativity.
See how it goes, and let us know if you have some further ideas!
GoodLife Wellness will be broadcasting online via Zoom, and podcasts via Anchor, and generally getting our heads around some newish technology, to help share some tips on wellbeing, whilst we all pull together to not only survive, but thrive, during the virus lockdown.
Stay safe and well,
Carl J Ashley