but what is self care, and what is self love? What’s the difference?
I am not the kind of person who believes that each word needs an absolute definition, we can all have our own opinion and meaning behind words, but what I do believe, is that we need to ask ourselves about the time we take for ‘me time’… Whatever words we use to describe that ‘me time’, there is work we can do on ourselves both internally and externally, to help improve our mental and physical health.
Look at it like this….
Self Love = Internal
Self Care = External
so what is self love? How can one practice self love?
I spent the day having a ‘self love Saturday’ at a yoga retreat yesterday, at The Bhaktivedanta Manor in Watford, Hertfordshire. I worked on my fears, my hopes and my appreciations. Self love can be practiced in many ways, but the basis of self love, is internal work… Until 2016, when I was 25 years young, I had never heard about the term ‘self love’…
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-5:
The above passage applies to our relationships with others, but do we apply this to the relationship we have with our own self?
So what is self care? How can one practice self care?
Self care is the external work we spend on ourselves, like the food we eat, the physical activity we do, our personal hygiene etc…
I made up a face scrub from ground coffee beans and coconut oil and massaged into my face to remove dead skin cells. Coffee as we know, is full of caffeine which helps energise our skin. After a steaming hot flannel to remove the waste, I applied fresh avocado and honey to calm and moisturise my skin. Honey contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties which is great for reducing pores and blackheads.
So Self love vs Self care, who wins?
Self Love & Self care should work hand in hand….Like adding milk to an English tea..
However, on social media, reality tv shows and the mainstream media, it would appear that many people practice self care, they get their hair done, present themselves in clean clothes, nails and make up done, but how many are actually practicing self love?
According to The Mental Health Foundation, every week, 1 in 6 adults experiences a common mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression and 1 in 5 adults has considered taking their own life at some point.
How can Self love help this?
What I found growing up, is I spent most of my time, working on my external image. To get the attention of others, to boost my confidence I even paid for plastic surgery, I bleached my teeth, I bleached my hair, I went on sunbeds, I applied false eyelashes, mask loads of make up and had plastic nails applied to my own, but didn’t wear very much…
What I now know, 8 years on from this photo below, is that, that smile wasn’t a genuine smile of contentment or happiness, that smile was how I wanted to feel inside, but was instead a cry for help, because my inside world wasn’t where it needed to be. I sought the attention of others to feel good, I wanted to be in the limelight, the centre of attention..
I don’t bleach my hair anymore, because it grows too quick and it’s too expensive, I don’t use sunbeds anymore, because I know about the harm they can cause, I don’t bleach my teeth anymore because they are what they are, I don’t get my nails done, because i’d rather redirect the spend elsewhere, as for false eyelashes and makeup, I can’t be bothered. My personal hygiene is all I care about, the natural way of living is right up my street, less time consuming, especially in a time when we seem to have no time…
That being said, of course, there are times you will see me wearing makeup, getting my hair done and maybe a fancy outfit, but they’re not my priority anymore, now I have sussed my inside world, I realise how unnecessary focusing on the outside world really is..
Under pressure, whether in your job, or with family, or with friends, in your personal relationship, or with finances, feeling under pressure can be a very overwhelming feeling, especially if you feel under pressure in all of these areas!
One of the biggest pressures I have noticed that I feel, is responding to text messages and WhatsApp messages, phonecalls and voicemails, emails and instagram messages, facebook messages and tweets. Digital contact as we know, is instant. Unlike the days of just knocking on a friends door, waiting for them to get ready, meeting someone somewhere and trusting they’d just arrive. Digital contact is overwhelming, because we feel the pressure to respond instaneously. Especially with apps showing when someone has apparently ‘seen’ it, or if they’re apparently ‘online’. We can then feel disheartened, or ignored if we do not get an automatic response. I know all to well, because i’ve done it.
‘expectant of someones time’.. someone once said to me…
but who are we to expect?
Expectations, what are they? Every single human is unique. Whether raised by a straight Mum and Dad, 2 lesbian women, foster parents or in a care home, we each have an experience of an upbringing. Expectations will come either way and everyone expects different things. That doesn’t make anyone right or wrong, they are expecting, based on their experience of life.
It seems to me, based on my own experience, is that expectations are formed by our priorities. Let me elaborate…
If your priority in life is making money, you’ll mostly focus on activities revolving around earning money, investing money and or saving money, in turn, you will have certain expectations on how and what you spend your money on. It is then very likely, that your expectations of others, is probably to do the same and when someones priorities or expectations do not mirror yours, you may think they are ‘wrong’ or ‘weird’. This can cause conflict and i’d say, you would be fighting a losing battle if you were expectant of others to have the same priorities/expectations as you. Remember, everyone has a different experience of life, embrace uniqueness.
Priorities and therefore expectations though, can change. As we experience life, we grow and as we grow, we require different needs. For example, a 3 month old baby, requires milk to grow, if you feed that 3 month old baby solid steak and chips, it wouldn’t go down too well. The same as feeding a 33 year old purely milk, wouldn’t go down too well either.
Let me explain how priorities/ expectations can be formed; if someone is raised all their life, being told that money is the answer to a happy life, that someone will probably go about their life earning money, investing money, saving money in order to accumulate more money. On the other hand, if someone is raised all their life, being told that spending time with the people you love is the answer to a happy life, that someone will probably work less hours to achieve this, they may not even bother to get a job at all… Neither of these situations is right or wrong. They’re formed by someones upbringing.
Again, these outlooks on life can change, dependant of your life experience. If you stay living with said parents/guardians all your life, you will not know much different. However, if you take the time to go off ALONE without said parents/guardians, you are able to form your own priorities/expectations based on your own life experience.
Expectations are totally okay to have, the issue, is expecting others to have the same as you.
Next time someone doesn’t respond straight away, they read without responding, or they post something to social media without replying to you, it may appear that at that moment in time, they have other priorities.
Do not expect to be someones priority. Do not judge someone for their priorities.
When I was in Australia, I thought I was in love with a guy, I was obsessed with him, then one day, a Brazilian girl said to me something along the lines of the Buddha; love is like a flower, “When you like a flower, you just pluck it. But when you love a flower, you water it daily.”
If you can take 1 thing from this blog, learn to water, rather than to extract,
What I have come to realise in life is that, sometimes, we do have to do things that we do not want to do, but it’s down to us to realise, whether it is to work towards something worthy. Let me give you an example…
In England where I live in Hertfordshire, if you want to be able to drive a car on public roads, legally you have to have a license. To get a license you have to pass 2 tests, a theory test and a practical test. I don’t particularly like tests because I feel under pressure, because I know that I am not in control of the outcome, i.e. whether I pass or fail. I actually failed my practical test twice before I finally passed third time lucky.
So what can we learn from failure? What we first must recognise, is that failure is inevitable if you want to achieve anything new. Whether it is failing a driving test, or failing to get the job, or failing at making a relationship work, or failing to catch a flight (i’ve failed at all of these by the way) we can always learn something; ‘how not to do something’…
The easiest thing to do when we fail at something, is to blame someone or something else, so easy in fact, it’s too easy, which is why so often we blame others for making us unhappy, or for ruining our life or breaking our heart, or we blame others for making us feel guilty, or that we’re not good enough, or we’re not deserving, we blame something which made us fail the test or not getting the job. Instead next time, when you fail at something, why not ask yourself “what did I do to make me fail at this?” and “what can I learn from failing at this?”
5 years ago, it was early 2015 and my relationship came to an end. I was in a relationship with ‘my childhood sweetheart’. I’d know this guy since I was 14, he was the guy who’s initials I doodled on all of my school planners. We went out together and he was my first boyfriend at 14 years old, it was fun but there wasn’t much more to it, we were young.
Over the years he’d pop up in my life somehow and thats exactly what happened in 2013. In 2013, 22 years old, I was in a relationship with someone completely different and that didn’t work out and low and behold, my childhood sweetheart came back into my life. I told myself “it’s meant to be” it’s fate, after 8 years without each other, we’ve reconnected, “it’s meant to be”. We kinda ran with it this time, travelled to Asia together and moved in with each other. I was working in central London earning the most money i’d ever earned (£30k a year for the interested ones) i’d gotten myself a little convertible mini cooper and I thought I was set for life, I felt like, i’m doing all what society teaches us, the boyfriend, the job, the car, the boyfriend, so what’s next?
A break up of course, after all, this is life…
So that’s what happened in 2015.. I lay on a blow up sofa in Devon or Dorset, I never know, but that’s kinda part of the mystery to my story. I could feel the warm sun on my skin and I just gaze watching the clouds, the planes, looking into the blue sky. I asked myself “what now?” I had all that I thought I was supposed to have and now i’ve literally lost it all. I moved out of the house we lived at, I had moved in with my Mum and Step Dad at 24, really? “What now?” I thought to myself, if I get another job, oh because I also lost my job at the same time, I thought to myself, if I get another job doing what I was doing, i’ll just get into another relationship and i’m wondering, is this really all there is to life? Theres got to be something more to life, I feel it, I crave it. So that was it, decision made, although I was never the type to pack 1 bag to live out of and book a 1 way flight, that’s what I did. All the way to Australia.
What i’ve learned from them all is just life experience and how not to do things again, in my life anyway, because for sure everyones life is different and it’s never for me to comment how you should live your life.
So what is the moral of the story? 1 thing I will say, is if you do not feel like you are fulfilled at the end of the day, what you do doesn’t give you warmth in your heart and joy in your belly and you find yourself drinking alcohol or taking drugs or eating excessive amounts of food to try and fill that void, you need to ask yourself the question, “is what i’m working towards worthy?” Yes, we do sometimes have to do things in life we do not want to do- like work, but if you can find what you love, I promise you, that you will never work a day in your life. Moreover, if you are not in a relationship with someone who you trust, or who you can talk to, open up to, if you are not in a relationship with someone who brings out the best in you and who you bring out the best in them and if you do not feel like you are wanted and if you feel like your love is not equal, i.e. you feel like you put in more than they put in, you may also want to ask yourself the question, “is what i’m working towards worthy?”
I am no relationship guru, or life coach, but 1 thing I do have, is a lot of life experience, I try new things, I fail, I fight, I fall, I cry and then I get my ass back up again and I carry on. Who would have thought that 5 years on from the breakup, from the job loss, from the year in Australia that i’d still be living with my Mum and Step Dad? Really?! But who also thought i’d be running my own Mental Health business, teaching Meditation & Yoga?
If I can say 1 more thing, if they were the last words I could utter to my one day children, I would say “Look inside of you, everything you need is within you” and just as Michael Jackson said it “if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change”
I have been working all day in the library today and I decided to take a stroll from the library over to Costa for a nice festive hot chocolate. As I crossed at the lights an old man with his walking stick said “it’s lovely to see someone smiling” we walked together and we talked together, I told him that life is what you make it and he told me how he wasn’t always wise, he said I was never a bastard, although I was born one and he chuckled telling me he how he never knew his dad and was raised by foster parents who were horrible, I mentioned how it’s not about the cards were dealt, it’s how we play them, he also told me something so funny about death but i’ll keep that one my little secret 😛
After that I noticed a dear old man in a wheelchair who had no legs trying to get up the hill, I stopped, looked, stepped forward to Costa and then walked over to him to ask if I could help, I wheeled him up to Halfords and had some fun as I couldn’t get the door open and push him in, so a lovely girl saw me struggling and I held the door open whilst she wheeled him in, turns out she was lost and her phone ran out of battery, so I directed her on and then finally got to my festive hazelnut hot chocolate (pmt cravings) 😀
To gain balance in our life, we must learn to give and to take.
When you arrive, you then pay a £5.00 cash donation per person, where 100% of the proceeds are donated to ‘Mind’ Charity.
I present to you my next venture, my first ever public charity fundraiser event ‘Christmas Crafternoon with a sprinkle of Mindfulness & Meditation’… The charity behind this event is ‘Mind – for better mental health’ as a health and wellbeing business who is a huge advocate for ‘better mental health’, I thought this was just a perfect match.
The event is being held at Sherrardswood School and will be a lovely christmasy creative afternoon with a sprinkle of mindfulness & meditation. I have been in contact with Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose, WHSmith & Hobbycraft to stock us up on arts & crafts to make cards and all sorts.
I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas time, even as a single pringle, it’s all about what you make of it, isn’t it?
Expect Christmas music, glitter, colour and fun!
If you are available on Saturday 30th November and would like to ‘give’ some of your time, the event is from 2-5pm and I would love to host this event with your help to make it a special day. ‘Life isn’t about collecting things, it’s about collecting memories.’
As the day closes in, i’m nice and cosy in bed with a cup of tea and a hot water bottle, taking a moment to reflect on my biggest audience event yet, my business birthday, marking 2 years since I started ‘stress less, relax to the max’..
This time last year, I celebrated 1 year since I started my business and I remember coming home and feeling really deflated and I remember I ate a big beef burger and glugged bag a large glass of white wine…
Since then, I have gone sober. You know, after years of self reflection, I realise that 1 thing I am, is easily influenced, but 1 thing I also realise, is that I am very focused, but, if I do not have a firm boundary in place, I have no focus and i’m easily influenced. 1 thing that really bugs me, being in the ‘health & well-being’ industry, is coming across people who teach yoga or meditation or whatever therapy it may be, but they do not have the ‘healthy’ principles set out in their own life and as teachers, we should be setting the standard. “Practice what you preach” and all that.. Maybe that’s just me being strict or controlling with myself, but i’m struggling to find the positive effects of alcohol on our physical and mental state. Who knows, but a British tea seemed to be my best option tonight, along with the other half of the sandwich that I didn’t get to finish earlier, which my beautiful friend bought for me, as I didn’t have time to stop for dinner…
I hadn’t stopped all day, from the moment I got up at 07:45 i’ve been on the go until now. Printing, reading, writing, packing, unpacking, setting up, setting down, phone calls, texts, emails, running errands, but boy was it worth it. As I stood before (I can’t say exactly how many until I check the guest list) but maybe 50 people, as they attended my ‘Health & Well-being, Mindfulness & Meditation’ event to mark 2 years in business. I have literally had the best time, I honestly had so much fun, telling stories, being vulnerable, smiling, laughing, chatting, hugging, talking, listening, sharing and taking, it’s been literally the best birthday I could have wanted.
People from all walks of life, men and women, came together, on a dark and cold night, below 10oc and decided to spend their Monday evening within the community, learning, I just love that. A huge part of my business journey includes learning time, attending seminars, workshops, trainings etc, to enable me to be the best version of me and to help me be the best teacher I can be.
Running a business, is by far the most challenging thing i’ve ever set my mind to. It takes all my strength, my courage, my money, my time, but my word is it worth it? Yes!
Thank you so much to each and every person who took time out of their day today to ‘Connect, Be active, Give, Learn, Take Notice’ You achieved all 5 ways to well-being, I hope you’re feeling it! Thank you to Angela, Louise & Fiona who tirelessly gave their time to help me set up and pack away the venue. Thank you to every single person who attended, for making me feel safe and comfortable to open up and share what I did today, I hope it has improved your health & well-being in someway <3
Friday night and the lights are low….. Pj’s on, everyones out, cuppa in hand, let’s get talking…. I did actually start writing this blog on Friday night and it’s now Sunday afternoon!
I have been studying numerous courses this year and Deepak Chopra Inspired me to study one of them, which is; Ayurveda (the sacred life knowledge or the science of life), Remember Ayurveda is an ancient Indian philosophy, Sanskrit being the traditional Indian language, so some of the words will sound odd to the average English speaking person, as it won’t be understandable to read, so I have added the English translations.
Ayurveda believes that there are 2 causes for an imbalance (disease) when it comes to our health. Let’s talk about the second cause …. The second cause of imbalance or cause for disease when it comes to our health, is an imbalance with the “Tri-gunas” – ‘karmic causes’. Karma is based upon our actions in life. So simply put, Ayurveda says, imbalance (dis-ease) in our health can be caused by our wrong doings in life.
Some of you may think that’s rubbish, that only an actual disease can cause us imbalance, but the dis-ease has to start somewhere, so let me explain…
Ayurveda works with the 3 bodies of a human; ‘Sthula sarira, Suksma sarira and Karana sarira’ translating into English as; physical body, mental body and emotional/spiritual body. If you can agree we each have a physical, mental and emotional part to the human experience, then this should help you to understand that imbalance (disease) isn’t just in the physical body, nor the mental body…
So this word karma, it gets thrown around a lot, you may never of heard of Ayurveda before, yet many of us seem to say; ‘what goes around comes around’ that’s the definition of karma. Karma as I mentioned, is based upon our actions in life, which is why you may hear ‘what goes around comes around’ because it’s basically teaching us what we put out, is what we will get back.. You know when we say, ”why me?” Well think about, why me? What wrong doing’s have we done in our life?… “Every action has a reaction”..
Ayurveda says that these wrong doings require some form of sacrifice or atonement – rectification and suggests the practice of yoga, spiritual therapy in the form of gem use, prayers, mantras, rituals, and meditations for healing to take place. These types of healing take into consideration the subtler aspect of ones being, that is holistic and goes beyond the physical, as I mentioned disease can happen beyond the physical.
Over the past 4 years, I have actively been participating in all of the above holistic therapies in the form of; Yoga, Tai Chi, Reiki, hypnotherapy, I spent time in church, I spent time in a mosque, I spent time in a Buddhist temple, I spent time in a Hare Krishna temple, I have bathed with crystals, I have prayed, I have chanted, I light incense and meditate, I also study some of these therapies and I teach some of them too…
See, I didn’t use to stick bindis in-between my eyebrows, or put crystals in my bra, or close my eyes and meditate on my breath or chant ‘hare krishna’ in my bedroom… Actually quite the opposite… I used to stick false eyelashes on my eyes and I went as far as plastic surgery to fill my bra, I used to sing along to sexual innuendo songs and dance in the same way and I wore more perfume than I did clothes…
Karmic causes of disease can also stem from a person who is not living his/her life purpose, or not being aware of his/her spiritual will in life, the sanskrit name for this is Dharma, let me elaborate…
I remember my moment like it was yesterday. The year 2017, I was sitting stationary on a train at London Kings Cross train station, waiting to go home after a day at work. I was working for a managed office provider and I was managing 20 office buildings around London, I was based at our head office in East Castle Street, which is just behind Oxford Street. I loved working in London, I had 3 other jobs around London prior to this one, 2 of them were working in the same role, assistant centre manager and centre manager for serviced office providers. I loved the buzz, the different cultures, the mix of a bit of nature and lots of grand architecture.
Until this one day…. An epiphany some may say…
I was just sitting alone, minding my own business, looking out of the carriage window, observing the passers by, rushing, on their phones, carrying bags and then as they came in they buried their heads in a book, or a newspaper or a phone. Now, before I go on, let me just say, I read books, I use a mobile phone, I don’t buy papers but yeah, the point is, I do not disagree with doing these things. However, the situation I was witnessing was one I witnessed every morning and every evening, everyday, Monday-Friday, with the very rare occasion that you may hear a couple chatting to each other. Friday evenings were the loudest, because many were intoxicated and indulging in fast food on their journeys back from London.
So what i’m trying to say, is I was witnessing this separation, this need to hide away, this disconnection from the people around them. I was seeing people looking tired, constantly rushing for trains, uncomfortably squished on trains, these people didn’t look happy and I wanted to help them…
A few days later I quit my job, I had no other job to go to, I had no other income, I had no idea how I was going to make money, but I felt like this moment was so powerful, the message came to me so clear, I don’t know if that is what is meant by God speaking to you, but all I did know, was that I just couldn’t waste anymore time at a job where I wasn’t appreciated or bettering the world…
My favourite movie of all time, that I could watch over and over, is ‘eat, pray, love’ and there is a beautiful passage i’d like to share.. In the movie, Julia Roberts plays a lady names Liz Gilbert and she says; “When I was in Italy, I learned a word – It’s “tutti” with double T, which in ltalian means “everybody.” So that’s the lesson, isn’t it? When you set out in the world to help yourself, sometimes you end up helping Tutti.
What I didn’t realise at the time, was that, by quitting my job and starting up on my own, I was actually setting out to help myself alone, because when I was looking out of the carriage window at others, what I was actually seeing, was a reflection of my inner world… Let me share a beautiful poem with you… (not my words)
I Wanted To Change The World
When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world. Author: Unknown Monk 1100 A.D.
So like I say, when you change your inner world, you change your outside world… she says; “When I was in Italy, I learned a word – It’s “tutti” with double T, which in ltalian means “everybody.” So that’s the lesson, isn’t it? When you set out in the world to help yourself, sometimes you end up helping Tutti.
So let me go back, Karmic causes of disease can also stem from a person who is not living his/her life purpose, or not being aware of his/her spiritual will in life, the sanskrit name for this is Dharma….
What I discovered on that very average day, sitting on the train, looking outside of the carriage window, stationary in London Kings Cross, is my Dharma. I have now been running my own business for nearly 2 years, it has taken hard work, immense dedication, a lot of tears, a lot of money, a lot of planning, many emails, phone calls, texts messages, attending trainings and seminars, but the reason I was actually wanting to write this blog, is because, I found it comical, because as I started writing this blog on Friday evening, it was after i’d sat down and washed all of the pillow cases for the pillows which my students lay on in class and the reason I found it comical, is because, just a couple of years ago, when I was working in London, if I had to work overtime (which I wasn’t paid for) especially on a Friday evening, into my weekend, I would be complaining and so annoyed that I had to work beyond my working hours.
But the morale of the story, is that, now that I run my own business, inline with my Dharma; my spiritual will in life, I actually get fulfilment going over and above for other people, because that’s what happens, “when you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”
I’ve just popped on some headphones and put on a ‘fireplace crackling logs’ soundtrack on youtube. Saturday night, chilling in at home, I haven’t picked up my mobile phone since 08:45am this morning, as I left off to Bhaktivedantor Manor, which is a Hare Krishna temple in Aldenham, which is the UK’s largest centre of the ISKON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness). The temple was donated by George Harrison of The Beatles back in the 70’s.
I went to the Bhaktivedanta Manor today because I had booked onto an Ayurveda & Yoga retreat day. I felt like I needed time out, do you know that feeling?
I had been to the manor 1 time before, as we went on a school trip when we were in secondary school, year 8 or 9, which i’m going to guess would make me 13 or 14, I even found a photo of us all dressed up, I am second row from the top, 4th girl in, wearing a pale pink/purple coloured outfit…
I wanted to go on retreat today at the manor, because I am fascinated by the Indian philosophies, such as Ayurveda, Yoga, Meditation, so much so, that my travels took me to India last summer to learn about these topics further, so any opportunity to be around this culture I am all over it! There’s something to be said about being in an environment where you are around likeminded people, an environment where you can totally be yourself and flourish..
So about this culture…
I felt inspired and pulled to write this blog because of 2 reasons really…
1. Because, I attend a lot of workshops and a common conversation that comes up, and that came up just this week when I attended an addiction workshop held at the university of Hertfordshire, put on by Hertfordshire public health Connect on Wednesday, which was the confusion over what we should be eating.
As I mentioned earlier I am fascinated by Indian philosophies which includes Ayurveda. Ayurveda translates to ‘sacred life knowledge’ and can be traced back some 5,000 years in the vedas. It is a holistic science focusing on promoting a healthy lifestyle, health meaning, the absence of disease and a balance emotionally, physically and mentally. Should an imbalance i.e. disease arise, Ayurveda looks to heal the imbalance i.e. the root issue, as opposed to modern medicine prescribing medicines to treat a symptom, which often brings side effects, therefore cannot be called healing as it brings further dis-ease.
What’s happened over here, for example in England, is that, we have all these fad diets and different studies showing what we should and shouldn’t eat and people are left feeling confused. I asked Dr Prabodh Raghavan, who is a Consultant Ayurvedic Physician, at today’s retreat, “why is it, that we are so confused here in England?” Dr Raghavan replied and said, Ayurveda has been around for circa 5,000 years and it remains the same, nothing has changed. It is an ancient science. Whereas we in England seem to follow the constantly changing stream of media and have no idea what we should do now, with so many mixed messages, we are left feeling confused.
The retreat was lovely, we started with Yoga, then an Ayurveda talk with Dr Prabodh Raghavan where we were given work sheets to work out our Ayurvedic constitutions. We then did some singing along with musical instruments as our retreat host played guitar and we then we had some lunch. After lunch we had a cow tour of the grounds and then I caught up with our Yoga instructor as i’d told her I have a pain in my left ankle for some reason. She really kindly sat down with me and massaged it for me and as we were talking she told me a little story, which I found so profound and actually very funny. Which is reason number 2 for being inspired to write this blog…
The story was originally told by A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who was an Indian Spiritual Teacher, born in ‘Kolkata’ in India in 1896, who established Bhaktivedanta manor in England in 1973 at the age of 77.
He said that when England invaded India, they took all that they wanted, everything, but 1 thing….. You know what they didn’t take?
I already knew the answer before she was telling me the story, because I knew what was missing here in England, by travelling to India myself. The best part of the story though, which to me, just magnifies the culture. Is that when A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada came to England, he said he came to give England the 1 thing they didn’t take and The Bhaktivedantor Manor was born.
This lovely selfless yoga teacher then asked me if I wanted to head over to the main manor, as we were on retreat in a separate barn. I was flattered that she wanted to give me more of her time and guess what?! We even saw a Bride and Groom in their colourfully glory as the’d just wed! We went up to the living quarters of Swami Prabhupada which was amazing and had such a wonderful energy, apparently George Harrison spent time their too. We went over to the bakery and gift shop where I bought some cookies and gifts too.
In England, as the darker evenings creep up on us sooner, the mornings starting cooler, as I sit in a nice comfy armchair writing this, inside the summer house in the garden, I can hear the distant sound of the train over the Digswell viaduct, crows squawking, the gentle sound of the chimes blowing in the wind and the smell and crackle of the neighbours bonfire, we prepare ourselves for the last weekend of summer and what a summer it has been…
It is so easy for us to see what is over, what is finished and what has gone, but instead if we can change our perspective of looking at things, it will alter our state of mind from a negative one, to a positive one.
The NEF came up with ‘the 5 ways to well-being’, they are; keep learning, take notice, be active, connect and give. If we can ensure we do all 5, just like eating (at least) our 5 portions of fruit and veg every day, we will be on our way to a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.
Keep learning – from a book, an online course, school, college, uni, work etc
Take notice – taste, touch, sight, sound, smell – take notice of what you experience
Be active – walk, cycle, swim, run, dance, yoga, tai-chi etc
Connect – to a friend, family member, colleague, someone new
Give – something without expectation of receiving something back
The 5 ways to well-being, are a bit like a cake recipe, you cannot miss out an ingredient, hoping it’ll work.
I personally feel that the first 4 are quite self explanatory, but for someone who is feeling let’s say, lonely, financially broke, un-well etc, the last way to well-being; ‘give’ can be very off putting. How can you give when you feel that you have nothing to give?
As i’ve been paying off a mountain of financial debt for the past 3 years, when I found out I had to give, I thought to myself, are you kidding me? How can I possibly give? I need people to give to me!.. Then, when I realised, giving isn’t just about money, it made me realise how many ways we can give to others…
I qualified this year as a mental health first aider and what I learned, is although i’ve had bouts of depression, or anxiety, even suicidal thoughts, I found out, through learning, but also interacting with other people who have diagnosed mental health conditions, is that, there are others who need help and support, so to make sure I put this ‘give’ into practice everyday, 5 days per week, since January 2019 I have been teaching online meditation tutorials.
Up until this week, I was using facebook as my platform, because it doesn’t cost me or the user. However, what I have figured upon reflection, is that, using facebook leaves me helping only a finite audience, as many people are not on facebook. Getting crystal clear with my mission, which is to help an infinite audience means I need to up my game. The reason, my mission is to help an infinite amount of people, is because, I have found so much support and help in other people, who I have never met, have no idea who they are, who also tirelessly give their time, by creating videos online.
The first day of Autumn 2019 in England, Monday 23rd will mark the start of the infinite game, as youtube becomes my new platform…….
If you suffer with bouts of depression, anxiety, have suicidal thoughts or any other mental health conditions and you want to find a natural way, to ease and help overcome your anxiety, depression, stress etc, why not learn about meditation?