The paradoxical process of wellness

learning to dance

Set the vision then let it go. Allow what is and trust the process. 

You may notice a number of contradictions in my blog posts. One day I may post about the Law of Attraction and benefits of positive thinking whilst another day I might discuss the healing power of allowance and complete acceptance of what is, warts and all.

The reason for exploring opposing ideas is not because I’m changing my mind all the time,  but because I believe a wellness mindset involves utilizing a variety of tools, even when they are seemingly contradictory.

For example consider the process of learning something new, lets say hip hop dance. You’ve decided you want to learn to dance and so you register for a dance class. Pre class you get a bit nervous fearing that you might look silly or fail to pick up the steps easily. To deal with that you might think positive encouraging thoughts like “it will be great exercise no matter what” ..”a bit of nerves is normal as I haven’t danced since I was a child” .. “it’s just a class and it’s good to give things a try.” You may even visualize yourself street dancing and busting some rad moves. You get your self psyched enough to walk through the studio door!

Say when you’re in the class you find you’re messing up the steps way more than everyone else and feeling like a bit of a douche..  at this stage there’s a division between what is (your messy confused dance attempt) and what you would like to be (a rad street dancer busting some slick moves).

Here you might find it more useful to go into allowance mode, be present with what’s happening and try to be open and receptive to the instructions without the evaluation mind getting in the way. If you were to focus too much on your goal, or the conflict between what is and what you would like to be in this instance, you might continue to feel crappy and sad when you mess up a step…. because it may take time to become that vision.

I think focusing on the goal and going into allowance are both useful, just at different times. You pop in and out of perspectives depending on what’s more effective at any given moment. Does that make sense? Or maybe I am speaking the obvious here. For some reason I had to take some time to wrap my head around these contradictions! .. and it’s still a work in progress.

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Krishnamurti debunks McMeditation

quote-my-only-concern-is-to-set-men-absolutely-unconditionally-free-jiddu-krishnamurti-244773

Jiddu Krishnamurti was a philosopher, speaker and writer. In his early life he was groomed to be a guru and world teacher but later renounced and disbanded the cult organisation built around him. Nevertheless, he continued to give talks on topics such as psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation inquiry, human relationships, and bringing about radical change in society. He died in 1986.

Krishnamurti, often called “K”, was renowned for exploring mediation from the perspective of “choiceless awareness,” and popularised the saying “the observer is the observed.”

K believed too many fraudulent gurus had corrupted the word “meditation” over the years and grossly profited from their various “McMeditation,” novelties. But true mediation, according to K, can only occur when all seeking and effort comes to and end. When the mind is choicelessly aware of it’s own confusion, contradiction and disorder. That is the beginning of meditation.

His talks are slow going, but I think that was the point, to slow the mind, boil things down to their most simplest fundamentals, and encourage inquiry until that time where insight, stillness and space occurs naturally.

It took me a while to grasp his message as sometimes it seems to be going nowhere but eventually it fell into place and I started to appreciate his ideas. They definitely grew on me.

In this video he explores the question what is meditation and where does it get you? It isn’t something you can take a quick look at. It will bore you to tears if you try that. If you’re interested I recommend taking some time out to really give it a chance. The book “Freedom from the Known” is also a good place to start.

http://www.jkrishnamurti.org/krishnamurti-teachings/view-video/what-is-meditation-part-4-of-4.php

 

 

6 dollar remedial massage

chlorine is my perfume

Swimming some laps is as good as a massage – and the aftermath.. parfum! 

I woke up this morning feeling stiff and achy, like my body could use a decent remedial massage. In an ideal world I’d get a remedial massage once a week for the ultimate chillax factor. However, being the frugal lass that I am I find that swimming achieves the same end result. Plus it has additional health benefits like building endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.

It’s been several months since I visited the pool for a swim. Being the heart of winter it can be difficult to convince yourself that it’s worth the effort. But today my body was like, “just do it, I really needs some respite from this whole gravity business.” .. and it worked …

mermaid

I don’t know if it’s the exercise, regimented breathing or the chorine fumes but I always feel pleasantly spaced out after swimming laps. I came home ate dinner and then fell asleep on the coach.. the kind of sleep that feels deeply restorative.

I have a friend who swears by swimming and goes religiously every friday night. He says it’s the only way to “stay sane in an insane world”. This is a poster he has hanging on his kitchen wall.

Moral of the story! Go swimming. It’s only 6 bucks (or thereabouts) !!

swimming

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Comparison isn’t logical

“Have you got any regrets” … a friend of mine was asked this recently at a school reunion, after discussing her brief career as a sales assistant before becoming a full time mum. “Didn’t you ever want to get a degree?.. but don’t you regret that?” said the douche bag former classmate.

Seriously, some people really have no idea about kindess. My friend Claire (not her real name for privacy) was in tears afterwards and expressed a deep sense of hurt and shame to me the next day.

everybodySo Claire doesn’t have a degree. Who freakin cares. Except she does. She cares what people think… and it spins her out of her every day contentment and into a headspace of questioning her own worth. Thing is she’s happy being a mum and whilst she’s thought about getting a degree it’s never been an all encompassing urge. So why should she? Just to please douche bag Judgy Judy?

If I was at a school reunion I’d probably get sucked into comparison too except instead of it being about degrees (been there done than and honestly it means jack all to employers these days) it would probably be about why I’m not partnered and settled with kids. LOL and like Claire I just never had the all encompassing situation to get hitched and start breeding, although I’m sure it’s got it’s advantages.

Why do we compare? It can be an insidious force that diminishes our sense of growth and the pace that’s right for us. We need to compare to some degree, for a sense of context but rarely do we really look at these comparisons logically.

We are born into an uneven playing field; with different genes, parents, diets, family dynamics, religious faiths, illness predispositions and generally different overall circumstances. Some people are born into advantage; wealth, love and caring environment and others are born into disadvantage.

There are so many factors that make up who we are. It’s not even and it’s certainly not fair.. unless you believe in Karma. Whilst there’s a lot that similar about us, there is so much that’s different also.

So why do we compare? Why do we think we should be as good as so and so? Why does Claire feel she should have a degree like her classmates? Like she’s somehow defective if she doesn’t? We can go through the logic of all of this but still that powerful sense of comparison will continue to permeate our being at times regardless. It’s seems very deeply rooted and difficult to be truly free of comparison.

I suspect it’s because we’re conditioned to compare and compete from a young age. It’s very much part of the modern education system that we have been raised in. It’s often our default modus operandi. But I wonder what it would be like to stop comparing ourselves and start treating ourselves with the kindness and compassion we really deserve? Based on who we truly are and our own unique journey?

I watched this documentary last night on an alternative education school based on the philosophy of the late J. Krishnamurti. Similar to Steiner schools Krinshamurti schools offer a different style of education that is less about academic achievement and more about fostering learning that is right for each student. No student is forced to take an exam until they are ready and as such there is very little stress and pressure. It’s also a great environment for creativity, uniqueness and self-directed learning to thrive.

There are Krishnamurti schools in England, Switzerland and India. I could really see it taking off here in Australia also. If you watch this doco perhaps consider how we might apply the same ideas to our adult lives in our various workplaces or leisurely endeavors.

100 followers! woo

Taking a moment to celebrate 100 followers. Wooooo

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With a little celebratory dance!

Okay so it’s not 1000 followers, or 10,000 followers like some of you good folk have! But I’m actually really happy with this so far! Even if only one person is reading this I’m thrilled because I love journalling, I love ranting and enjoy analysing and evaluating various mental health and empowerment concepts. If some of you find that useful to read also then BONUS! Woo what else is possible?

Thanks so much to everyone who has stopped by so far and participated in the discussion. I’m really grateful!

What’s next?

What ideas and insights can I contribute to the world of mental health?

What would you like to read about?

Thanks again everyone! xx

 

Do you have to be happy to help? Questioning this quote

not happy not helping

I came across this quote today which ironically you might find a bit depressing, especially if you’re not on top of the world right now. But is it true? Do you have to be on-top-of-the-word, top-of-your-game and brimming with joy and vitality to help someone?

In contrast is another quote I came across today. (I swear I’m not just quote reading all day lol.. seeing this repeated theme is a happy coincidence)

help people

According to this article in Psychology Today studies suggest that helping others contributes to our overall well-being. In particular people who do volunteering report better health and more happiness than people who do not volunteer.

Are the volunteers mentioned in these studies happy to begin with before feeling called to do good deeds or does volunteering ignite those positive feelings? My guess is probably a bit of both but more so the latter.

One of the major criticisms I have about some new age and new thought thinking (e.g. the first quote) is that it discourages people to take action in areas that might result in a happy win win for all. I know for myself a sense of having to feel great before I embark on a new activity or endeavor has held me back at times, yet when I’ve challenged the idea I’ve often found it works in the reverse way. Happy comes after the good deed.

It’s like Anthony Robbins says “feel the fear and do it anyway” .. this could be applied to helping people also “feel a bit average but help someone anyway.”

Having said that if you’re really unwell, there’s a time and place for good old fashioned R n’ R. There are probably instances when you have to fill your own cup first before filling others and where being a good samaritan just ain’t gonna happen. And that’s perfectly okay too.

Do whatever you feel is best for you but don’t get too caught up into the new age idea that you have to be enlightened before you can help anyone. I don’t buy into that. Just my point of view.

 

 

 

 

Escape the matrix or learn to play it

Treechange, seachange, or mechange? When going though tough times drastic life changes can seem appealing. Perhaps you’ve dreamed of escaping the matrix to move to the beach, quit your job to start a hobby farm or take some leave to enrol in 10 days of silent meditation in the Himalayas. Whilst drastic changes might call you at times, it’s often just as powerful to start from within. If you’re mind is stuck in destructive and self-loathing patterns you could find yourself creating the same limitations no matter where you go or what you do.

We’ve all had times where we want to escape the rat race and change things up, but sometimes the best thing we can do is embrace reality and learn to work it’s magic! Reality can be your friend if you learn the tools to play the game.

 

playing the matrix

There are a variety of teachers offering this kind of approach including Mike Dooley famous for his bestseller “infinite possibilities”.

What I’ve learned from teachers like Dooley is that you can really get stuck in the limited mindset of probability thinking. Of course we have to make common sense decisions every day and try to predict what actions will lead to the best outcomes. But sometimes playing it safe is our worst enemy keeping us stuck under the vail of the known. What about the unknown? How do we explore what’s truly possible rather than just what’s probable? How can we incorporate elements of this mindset into our lives?

I noticed Mr Dooley is offering an online course called “Playing the matrix” and the intro videos really made sense to me. He talks about hitting rock bottom when his first t-shirt business failed and how he rebuilt his life from that desperate place. I always love a good transformation story.. and what I like about this guy is that even though he’s a dreamer he’s not delusional. You’ve got to put in the hard yards too!

Check out the online course here.

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