Do you let yourself breathe and slow down?

If there is something valuable the time during lockdown reminded me, it is the value of being SLOW 

Here in Melbourne, after several months, the lockdown has finished. It kind of feels a bit funny writing that. For a few reasons. I know there are all sorts of challenges going on in different parts of the world, we might be all “in this together”, but also we all have different circumstances, so I just want to say… my heart is also with you, and I send you strength and courage.

By the way, we still have some restrictions in Melbourne and Victoria, such as mask wearing and limits on the number of people in groups.

I don’t know about you, fellow Melbournians, but I was extra gentle with myself emerging from lockdown. I have continued with the things that I found beneficial during that time, however these things now take extra commitment to “make the time for oneself”….my personal Yoga and meditation practice and study, walking where I live (Lilydale and the Yarra Valley), spending time in nature, reading books, writing (I’m especially finding benefit over the past many months with stream of consciousness writing!), and embracing “slowness”.

A fellow Yoga teacher friend of mine, Claudia, wrote how when she was out walking by a place near her home,  she burst into tears. She wrote: “in the depths of lockdown that was where I took my kids for their daily outing…I felt sad for them and for how small our lives were”

I have had similar feelings. Especially on behalf of my children.

I wrote about how I had befriended a flower, just near my place, I would greet it each day, I looked forward to the chance to see it, admire it, and yeah maybe it sounds a little crazy. (If you follow my instagram you may recall, I shared a photo of the flower)
 Life felt very small… and close… and quiet.

I remember contemplating what life must have been like for my ancestors, who didn’t have many options to travel (pre-planes and pre-cars), and the wonderful art of old-fashioned snail-mail letter writing may have been the only option to stay in touch with family or friends. No phone, no email, no internet.

I still walk that way often, where I befriended the flower, but the flower is no longer blooming…it was beautiful, I felt connected to the land right there, in a way I haven’t before. As Claudia wrote, it felt small. Almost inconsequential, and yet it was important to me. A sense of okayness. A nearby friend who was there.

For those of you who have watched the movie “Castaway” with Tom Hanks (yep re-watched it during lockdown and my kids watched it for the first time) you will remember “Wilson” beloved basketball friend. Not that I was stranded on an island eating coconuts to survive, but you get the feeling. 

I think honoring our feelings is a gift we give to ourselves

And that is being self-nurturing

A little while ago, I received a beautiful book from a lovely Yoga student of mine, Kerry, and I love this book SO MUCH, it’s called “The four principles of Self-Nurture”. Here are some words from it that I would love to share…

 “The need for gentleness with ourselves is a lifetime commitment. Start today. Notice how fast you are going, breathe and slow down.” 

“We find the courage to face the difficult things in life, not by pushing ourselves hard, but by being very gentle and nurturing ourselves.”

When I am guiding my students in class, I encourage them to listen within. It is from within  that we can honor our feelings. It is from within that we have the opportunity to really find the true strength and balance and equanimity….. and that is never about pushing or forcing ourselves.
Usually the word “should” is a big give away as a time to question really how one is treating one-self, and to then perhaps re-assess.

My own practice of meditation, yoga, and reiki continues to teach me every day, and I truly believe in the power of SLOWNESS and NURTURING myself.

So for those of you reading this who are like me, in Melbourne, now feeling a bit “out there” with allll the options of shopping, cafes, and friend/family gatherings, remember it is okay to stay within your own little cocoon any time you want to.

If you want to.

Listening to yourself. Enjoying slowness. Honoring your feelings.