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A bunch of meditatey things that aren’t colouring in or sitting in battle with your thoughts.

My name is Jodie and I meditate daily and I love a good OM. I have always felt a bit irky telling people about it though, because it felt woo woo or overly spiritual to chat about.

The time has come though for me to share with you lovely friends some meditatey goodness.
Why? Because it’s actually fucking amazing and everyone needs to know about it.

AND 

Because traditional meditation doesn’t work for everyone and you need to know that that’s ok.


 

I meditate because I have an anxious, overactive and over excitable mind. My thoughts come and go faster than Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory as the Flash and are usually just as odd. It’s not just me though is it? So often I hear people say they can’t meditate or they suck at it because they think too much. Not being able to switch off your thoughts is probably the number one reason people give up on meditation. Because they can’t, right?

Meditating is not always easy. We are conditioned to be ‘on’ all the freakin time! Constantly thinking about 10 things at once, the groceries, the washing, the huge work thing and a bajillion other things flowing through on high rotation. With all the exciting technologies at our fingertips its common (especially at my house) to have the laptop in front of me with 20 tabs open, while the telly runs in the back ground and I check snap chat and Instagram on my phone. It’s not surprising that many of us have turned into anxiety riddled stress pots!

We need to switch off sometimes. We need to reboot. We need to rest!!! However for many of us, sitting for 20 minutes in meditation just isn’t accessible and quite frankly is not always necessary.


 

Unless you have been living under a rock the last few months then I am sure you would have come across the latest trend in mindfulness – adult colouring books. Not for me thanks… I see the appeal however my Fashion degree background makes me highly strung when it comes to colouring… if it’s not perfect I will crack it and I am fairly certain that defeats the purpose.

So sitting in traditional meditation isn’t working and colouring stresses you out? Well you are doomed to be highly strung and miss out on all the calm feels then.

Kidding! There’s a buttload of meditatey things you can do that don’t involve colouring or battling with your thoughts to chill the F*** out.

  1. Sit down and have a cup of tea. That’s all. No telly, or phone or computer to play with. Just a cup of tea and maybe a blanky.
  2. Extra long showers – the kind where you run out of things to think about except the smell of body scrub and the feel the toasty warm water washing away all the gunk… both physical gunk and mind gunk. Extra points if you use some essential oils or light candles.
  3. Look for the moon. It’s fucking stunning. Every. Single. Night. It’s not hard to spend a few moments checking out its magnificence. Same goes for sunrise and sun set – fucking magical.
  4. Take a freakin breath every now and then! Seriously! Take 10 seconds where all you think about is taking a deep breath in and a relaxing breath out. It’s like hitting refresh on the mind chatter and its lovely.
  5. Get a journal and write stuff. Write whatever you feel like, you never have to show anyone. Write all the mind jumbles, nonsense and even things to do later if it helps.
  6. Running… so I’m told… people who run tell me that it’s meditative. I do not run so I make no comment.
  7. Water the plants. Pull some weeds. Listen to the birds. Just go outside once in a while.
  8. Bake with love (ideally for no reason. Don’t be using your Sister’s wedding cake as the opportunity to bake meditate, I just don’t see it ending well). Whisking can be incredibly therapeutic.
  9. Sun sals baby!! Get some slow movement happening with one breath for each movement. Might I suggest some cat cows and forward folds? Perfect meditatey dreamy yoga. Ooh and child’s pose – that’s a good’n!
  10. Whatever the fuck makes you happy. As long as you happy enjoying the moment (not thinking about 20 other things at the time) then you are good as gold!

Do you have a fave meditatey thing to bring you back down to earth? Let me know so I can give it a go! Unless its running… 😉

3 Words I am squeezing out of my default vocab

I went to see my Naturopath the other week and when he said “How are you?” I said “Oh I’m so tired!” He smirked at me and then told me an obscure story about how our thoughts become our reality which ironically at the time, I was too tired to give a shit about…

He did get me thinking though about the language I use and how often I speak without consciously considering my choice of words.

The other day I watched this youtube clip of Tim Ferriss and Chase Jarvis talking creativity. Among other things they talked about creative parameters and how even setting simple rules for yourself can challenge your default setting and bring fresh perspective to creative projects.

Lately I have been making an effort to say and do things more consciously so I took this as an opportunity to set some vocab rules for myself.


3 Words I am aiming to squeeze out of my default vocabulary.

Tired

I can’t even count how often I say the words “I’m tired”. Am I actually that tired all the time? Because if I am then something needs to change. Realistically though, I am probably not… I have gotten myself into the habit of saying that I am, and so am probably making myself feel more tired than my body really is. You know, what you think you become. I had been thinking myself tired.

I tested this out for myself by consciously not using the word ‘tired’ to describe myself. It was interesting to see how often I wanted to throw it out there just as a conversation filler if I didn’t have anything else to talk about and I noticed how often I used it as an excuse. I also became aware that I used it if I thought I should be tired, rather than checking in with how I actually felt – like the time my cat woke me up by stepping on my throat in the middle of the night. It seemed logical to me that my sleep had been ruined by my murderous cat and I should be exhausted. So I carried on as though I had been awake all night when really it was probably only a few minutes before I was snuggled back into my pillow fast asleep.

Although I can’t prove it, getting rid of ‘tired’ has given me more energy and more motivation. I feel as though I have less dragging me down and I have more time and energy to enjoy my day.

Just

As in “Just do this and this and this”. I don’t like it. I feels like it’s designed make things seem less daunting, which is fine if you are setting step by step goals, however I also think that it discounts what actually has been done and devalues achievements. Check this out “I just created this blog” vs “I created this blog”. “I just cooked a three course meal” vs “I cooked a three course meal”.

Somehow removing the ‘just’ makes the statement so much more powerful. Don’t you think? I don’t know about you but I don’t want watered down achievements.

Unless I literally just did something, in a time sense (e.g. “I just arrived”) then I plan on rethinking my use of the word.

But

But is a fluff word. It seems like something we use to cover up for what we actually mean and perhaps soften a blow. “I like you BUT…”

I think we all need to man up a little bit, think about it carefully, consider the consequences and then say what we really mean. I’m not suggesting we all go gun-hoe and tell everyone what we think of them. I am suggesting that we need to be more mindful of how often we use filler words like ‘but’ instead of actually thinking of a response.


 

What about you loves? Do you have any default words you’d like to cut from your daily life?

Jodie xx  

 

 

Don’t forget to Breathe

We have this new thingy on the work computers that tracks your keystrokes and mouse time to see how much time you spend working (hello computer stalkers!) and suggests regular breaks. Sometimes it just pops up with a little message asking you to check your posture or runs you through a two minute stretch break. I like it, it’s funny how often I need the reminder to stop hunching or get up and take a break.

The other day a work friend started laughing at her screen, it had popped up with a super helpful message of “don’t forget to breathe”.

She thought it was hilarious for the obvious reason that if she wasn’t breathing she would most likely be passed out on the floor. We all had a little chuckle at the silly message but then it struck me that I didn’t feel as though I had taken a decent breath in ages.

In fact, I hadn’t taken a decent breath, or let my shoulders drop, or even let my jaw relax all morning and I was starting to feel pretty wound up from all the tension I was holding on to so tightly.


 

Have you ever noticed how your breath changes simply by focusing on it? Our bodies are pretty friggin clever in the way that they will continue to breathe without us having to pay any attention, but by taking even just a few moments to consciously breathe can have a profound effect on our body and mind. Even by focusing on our breath, we often slow down our breathing and begin to settle the body.

In Yoga, Pranayama is the control of the breath. Prana is life force and through control of the breath one can control the vital energy and literally enhance life.

Conscious deep breathing helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which triggers a relaxation response in the body. Often our everyday breathing is shallow and rapid and instead of filling our lungs with fresh oxygenated air, we only replace 10% of the air in our lungs. Doesn’t sound too refreshing to me…

Deep breathing oxygenates the blood, spreading vital energy to nourish each cell, release waste, toxins and (80% of) stale air from the lungs.

Conscious deep breathing also helps us –

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower heart rate
  • Stimulate digestion
  • Balance our glands
  • Balance the reproductive system
  • Balance the immune system AND
  • Relax the mind.

A couple of things to think about…

How does your posture change with conscious breathing… when we are hunched or slumped at a computer screen our lungs are restricted and we begin taking in less oxygen – less vital energy! Test it out – let yourself hunch over and then try and take a nice deep breath. Then sit up tall and give your lungs some room, take a breath and see how different it feels!

Breath is the gateway between the body and the mind. When the breath is focused, the mind is focused. Concentrating on breath aids concentration, soothes the nervous system and settles a swirling mind. So, next time you feel like your mind is a whirlwind of thoughts and your head might pop off, close your eyes and with each breath in repeat (either out loud or in your mind) “I am breathing in” and with each breath out “I am breathing out” and when your mind wanders – coz trust me, it will – gently come back to the breath. Repeat for 10 breaths or so. Simple as that! You might be surprised by how effective this simple tip is at settling your mind.

Another option is to add counting to the breath. Inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts. Increase or decrease the count depending on how comfortable if feels for you.

Breath shows us what is happening in the body. If the body is comfortable, this will be reflected in the breath. If the body is straining or struggling then breathing becomes more rapid and shallow in response. This is particularly important to keep in mind when practicing yoga. If you feel like your breath is getting away from you and you can’t keep up, then it’s time to slow down and let the body and the breath catch up to one another.
It works the other way too, for example, when I go to bed at night, my husband’s breathing changes within minutes. His breathing becomes deeper and more rhythmic as his body settles for sleep (I usually have a small window to fall asleep myself before he starts to snore).

Our nervous system loves it. Controlled deep breathing sends a signal to our nervous system that everything is A.O.K. Which is important because otherwise it gets busy planning our fight or flight response and shoots out unnecessary stress hormones which unless you actually do need to run from a bear, are not going to do your hormones any good.


 

I recently realised that I am a bit more of a stresser than I thought… and one of the ways I am managing my stress is through breathe work. Because I love breathing practices so very much I am hoping to share a couple of little videos with you over the next few weeks. 

Woo for breathing!

Love yas, 

Jodie xx