I love the fact that at Fresh Air Fridays we explore Space and Celebration in December. Whilst many people can see the celebration side, quite often the “space” bit seems completely unrealistic, “nice in theory for those people that have time, but they don’t have the stuff I have to deal with!”
Your Beliefs Matter
I love this sentiment, attributed to Ghandi, “when I have too much to do I meditate for twice as long”. At the end of my morning yoga practice, there is a breathing exercise that I find helpful. Very occasionally, the thought flits through my mind that I don’t have time for it today. The exercise takes about 90 seconds. Irrespective of the benefits of the exercise, starting the day with the belief that I can’t take 90 seconds for myself doesn’t serve me.
Find the Space in your mind
I’m reading a gem of a book at the moment called “The Five Invitations” written by a Zen Buddhist, Frank Ostaseski. Frank has spent most of his life running a hospice and the book shares five lessons he has learned from spending 30 years with people at the end of their lives. His 4th invitation is to “find a place of rest in the middle of everything”.
I experienced exactly this recently. A good friend of mine, Andy Bradley, had asked me to write a testimonial for him. I was sitting on a busy train with a group of enthusiastic people and it was noisy. For a moment I thought,”this isn’t the time or place to write this”, but then I pictured Andy, who is one of the most calming and space-holding people I know. As I brought him to mind a little space and calm opened up and, despite the racket around me, I found stillness. Where do you need to go in your mind to find that space? Perhaps picturing the sun above the clouds, a desert island beach or watching your dog play.
Physical ways to find mental space
There are other ways I find this calm eye in the worst of storms. Sometimes I am able to take myself out for a walk or stand under a tree. A picture of an expansive view can have the same effect. However, I find the simplest and most readily available space is to simply notice my breath. One deep breath or a moment of watching its natural rhythm creates a little opening. “I am here, this is me”. You may find your space running, fishing, singing – we are all different – but if you take a moment to tune in, you will know how you can create space for yourself.
Why bother to take that moment?
My experience is I feel calmer, more peaceful, perhaps less stressed, I gain perspective, I can find things aren’t necessarily as bad as I thought, I find a moment’s rest, I can find clarity, I become more creative. Those are just a few of my experiences and I don’t know what yours might be. I would recommend you give it a go because, for me, those tiny moments of calm make my life much more enjoyable, me much more resourceful and life much easier.