NOW AND ZEN

1988- Post rehab, very early days into  my personal recovery, hallmarked   the end of disconnection and beginning of being in community.  The  antidote to self-obsession is generosity of spirit and commitment to thriving.  I volunteered @ the Manhattan Centre for Living. A life changing health initiative founded by Marianne Williamson & Louise Hay for AIDS and cancer survivors.
Connecting with others in healing communities is wonderfully confronting, challenging and life-changing. Cultivating compassion  and fearlessness in the face of uncertainty  in the presence of   people who personified dignity, grace, and humility  in the shadows  of death and dying.

When a close, long term recovery friend, Lorna Kelly  was diagnosed with breast cancer her smile lit-up the universe when I gifted  her a bold red Chanel Lipstick, and a bright pink scarf to wear when she went onto lose her hair, confidence and esteem  to the ravages of chemotherapy.

In 1989 I  met  Louise Hay, author  and so much of  “You can heal your life.” Feeling negative,  promotes a downward spiral into victimisation,  Addiction is isolation, disconnection and alienation from our family, peers and community. Recovery is being in community. Surrendering the negativity on a daily basis is rejecting whatever gets in the way of  feeling love,  happiness , grace and gratitude.  So Hum – I am one with the Universe.

Positive mental states…we breathe approximately 20,000 time a day. Learning how to breathe in a way that fully opens up the torso is fabulous for an instant vitality burst. Whenever you observe feeling increasingly stressed you can in the present moment you can change how you feel and think. The technique to cease ruminating on the past, or projecting into the future is by focussing on your breath. Remember it takes time, patience and practice to breathe efficiently.

For those of us who live consciously conscious – our faces reflect our inner calmness, acceptance and happiness. I once shut down a discussion about “what is beauty?” by saying the happiest, most beautiful people I know are deeply spiritual, intelligent, compassionate positive people.

Harvard Medical School (2013) study revealed people who meditate daily are happier, live longer, maintain healthy relationships, and have longer telomeres – shortened telomeres are linked to accelerated ageing.

Now and Zen: Daily decompress with a 15-minute guided meditation. I have guided meditations or podcasts on all my digital devices. Perfect for longer distance train or bus travel.

I begin each day with breath work insight meditation in my favourite ego-surrendering salutation-yoga posture: Child Pose. The mind graciously bowing down to the heart. Easing into the stillness anchors me in setting my daily intention. The benefits are that throughout the day I can bring my mind back to my intention…helps keep me centred, focussed and present.

Raise awareness, inspire change by regularly checking in with where you are holding onto stress in the body. Frowning. Tightened lips etc are instantly distressed by breathing. good breath practice is regularly checking in with YOU…. breathing in deeper, counting up to 10 and down again…for 10 to 15 minutes to revitalise the mind and body.

Allow your breath to find its own rhythm.. slower, easier, visualise sending your breath to that area on your inhalation. Imagine a knot loosening as you exhale. Repeat this cycle with each inhalation and exhalation. Do a body scan for 10 to 15 minutes. Find a comfortable seat or lie down. Close your eyes and breathe, hold the breath for a few seconds, release, and repeat. First, focus your attention on your feet. Notice any tension, pain, or stress. Take deep, slow breaths helps you  you focus your awareness on any  area of your body that feels tight, and or stressed. As if you are scanning your body with light, move your attention slowly upward.

Bring your awareness to how each part of your body feels as you continue to slow your breathing, from the top of head, the back and sides of your head, your neck and shoulders – particularly when we are sitting at the computer, or in the car/train or plane for long periods of time…I was taught at a very young age the importance of good posture.

Robust digestion: compassionate nutrition  means we have a healthy relationship with food, from planning, prepping to making whatever it is we are eating look gorgeous. I love beauty, grace and elegance. We eat with our eyes, my nature is that whatever I am doing: “Let the beauty we love be what we do.”

There are so many ways too reduce stress. Proven to bring instant relief is a mind/ body realignment technique that returns me to a state of happiness in the moment. Pause. Breathe. Straighten my back. Open my torso and instantly be connected, restored and renewed.

Want to look and feel younger, stronger and have abundant energy. Change your breathing. Stress ages our bodies, as does pollution, too much sun, smoking, sugar processed foods and an absence of insight mediation.

Our breath instantly detoxifies us. Releases any tightness and toxins which left unattended to impacts the quality of sleep, and our bodies natural ability to self-regulate. Breathing increases the flow of energy.

We can go without food for 40 days – and without water for three days. When our breath is impacted by sudden onset illness or an accident we have a few minute window in which to get help and even less if we are flying and the plane loses air pressure. Which is why it is always recommend putting on your oxygen mask first, then help your loved ones…

Meditation and mindfulness breath work focus upon the activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which brings us into a safe. comfortable calm relaxed state and soothes the overly stimulated sympathetic nervous system fight or flight mechanisms.

Just remember you can do this. You can heal your life. One breath at a time. One day at time. It is a universal truth that when we are happy we attract happiness into our lives. I create my reality. Love life and it loves you back.