Tag Archives: Mind

Are You Running Out of Memory Space?

24 Sep

“Low Disk Space”. My laptop has been popping up this message for several weeks. Until today, the thought of having to go through all of my files, in order to delete anything unnecessary, seemed like a chore and a waste of time. Wouldn’t it be easier just to transfer everything onto a hard disk drive, instead?

This morning, however, the words spoken by a sophrologist, at a trial class that I attended yesterday, rang in my mind: “How can we make space for the present, for the new, when we are holding on to the past, to the old?”

My laptop needs space to save new files, to perform new functions. My old documents, photos and music are blocking it up from being able to serve the purposes for which I need it today. It is asking for my help to clear it of the unnecessary junk that I’ve been storing all these years.

As humans, clearing up our system of the past is crucial to a fruitful, productive and fulfilling life in the present. Unfortunately, unlike the laptop, we are not programmed to recognise a file overload (until it reaches a critical state). We have to look into ourselves on a regular basis in order to understand this.

Our past fears, frustration, grudges and negative emotions do not serve us today. They are in the mind; they exist only as thoughts and memories. Today’s reality is different to yesterday’s. In order to live fully today, our mind and body must be in the present.

“Think of an acorn”, the sophrologist said. “It has only one thought – to grow in to an oak tree. It has no awareness of the past and no concept of the future. But it knows what it must achieve today: to grow. So everyday it focuses on growing, looking only at the present circumstances – rain and sun – to help it do so. When it can grow no more, it dies, and is recycled into a new life-form”.

Today, I will free my laptop of old and unnecessary junk. Today, I will connect to myself and recognise the thoughts, beliefs and emotions from the past that hold me back from living fully today.

Happy Laptop

What unnecessary thoughts are blocking up your mind?

What beliefs from the past do not serve you today?

What negative emotions, based on past events, prevent you from moving forward?

What excess baggage, emotional and mental, do you carry around, not noticing its heavy weight on your life?

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Return to Yoga

7 Sep

“I haven’t done any exercise for five years”. I think of my friend’s words with horror as I practice yoga for the first time in two months. My muscles are tight, my joints creak and my limbs just refuse to bend into place. It’s clear that my body has not appreciated being abandoned during the summer.

My yoga journey between spring and summer was full of discoveries and disappointments. I experienced the joy of my first solo yoga practice, as well as the frustration of not being able to find a suitable yoga teacher. I tried half a dozen classes, but none of them gave me the feeling of peace and well-being that I treasured so much in my previous schools. I settled for a class with an experienced teacher who had trained in India. With her, I learnt perfect alignment, but I learnt this through harsh discipline and fear; she would raise her voice at our ‘mistakes’ and would rarely return a smile.

By her last class in July I was tired, frustrated and disconnected from my physical and spiritual states. I had lost all interest in yoga. I couldn’t even remember why I had enjoyed it in the first place. Did it once really make me feel good? Did it really have such an important role in my life all these years? I did not practice once in the two months that followed and even felt repelled when simply thinking about it.

However, yesterday, something shook me out of my slumber. After a whole day slouching and stressing in front of the computer I could feel my body yearning for just one thing. Without further thought, I rolled out my dusty yoga map onto the bedroom floor…and suddenly….I remembered!

I remembered how amazing it feels to S-T-R-E-T-C-H.

I remembered how satisfying it is to let your body tell you exactly what it needs.

I remembered how relaxing and refreshing it is to go with the flow of your breath.

I remembered how satisfying it is to heal your body with every pose.

It was the most natural thing to let myself be guided by my body; it knew more than my mind about my current state of health and spirit.  During that practice I needed no explanation for why I love yoga. In my mum’s words, “It’s not about how far you can stretch; it’s about how you feel in the stretch”. With new yoga classes starting this September, I will choose a teacher with whom I can connect on the spiritual level, and for the rest I will listen to my body for guidance.

Life Above All

4 Aug

“Things I have learnt on holiday this week: …(point 10) I would prefer to rest and to listen to the sea rather than to carry on writing.”

Journal entry 26/07/11

This summer, I am blessed to have beaches to walk on, seas to swim in, villages to visit, films to watch, books to read, dinners to cook, friends to host, bikes to ride, mountains to climb, cards to play, wine to drink, sun rays to catch, photos to take.

This summer, my mind has remained passive and my body has become active. I want to feel, not think. I want to experience, not analyse. I want to participate, not create.

This summer, I listened to my whole being,which asked for mental rest and physical activity, and I ignored the voice of ‘shoulds’, which told me that I “should read and write and keep up intellectual activity”.

I’m glad I didn’t listen to this nonsense or else I would have missed out on some pretty awesome moments.

Red Sky over sea


With thanks to Meredith for the inspiration!

Start the Day by Doing Something You Love

18 Feb

When we start the day by doing something we love, the rest of our day is utterly transformed. By doing something we love first thing in the morning, we set our mind and soul into a positive mode. We dedicate a moment of pleasure to ourselves, before dedicating the rest of the day to less enjoyable activities. This leaves us more relaxed, as we are not constantly worried about “getting some free time” to do what we want later on.

Setting aside even ten minutes for yourself in the morning will have positive results. This week, before starting work, I have been reading poetry or an article in my favourite magazine, I have been updating my blog, and I have been taking some extra time to pamper myself.  Any of these activities take as long or as little as I choose, but it is not their duration that makes a difference, so much as their simply taking place.

When we start the day by doing something we love, we are more likely to approach our daily tasks with calm and concentration. At work, we stop watching the clock to check how long we have left until we will be free to go; we stop worrying about the fact that we never have the time to do what we love; and we stop being frustrated when, in the evening, we are too tired to do something for ourselves.

By doing one small thing that we love at the start of the day, we are giving ourselves permission to enjoy life, to regain our sense of self and to see the rest of the day in a more positive light. There’s nothing better than waking up and knowing that we have something interesting to do!

Think Locally

18 Jan

We don’t necessarily need to move to a different city or different country in order to change our lifestyle: sometimes, all we need to do is change our current habits and a whole new world will open itself up. For those of us living in the city, one thing that could have a colossal effect on our lifestyle is simply choosing ‘to go local’.

In a cosmopolitan capital like London, we are constantly taught to think globally. We are encouraged to expand our vision of the world so widely that we are always aware of what is going on across the globe. Yet despite having such a good knowledge of the larger picture, Londoners  often don’t have a clue about what is happening in their own neighbourhood. We put so much importance on the big things, that the small things seem insignificant.

As a student, all of my activities took place in central London. I would go into town for lessons, for coffee with friends, for shopping, for a walk, for dance class, for language class, for bars and clubs and all evening events. The only time I spent in my area was to come back home to sleep! It seemed like central London contained the world, and I yearned to discover bigger things than my calm residential area could ever offer. Or so it seemed.

For the past four months I have, voluntarily but subconsciously, been keeping my movements very local. And I was amazed to recognise the effects of this choice. I am calmer and more sure of myself; I have discovered my natural routine, in which I have more free time than before; I have saved money and drastically reduced my consumption. Simply spending more time in a more peaceful area of the city has remarkably slowed down my pace of life, and this in turn has given my body time to rest, my mind silence to quieten and my soul space to breathe. I feel more stable, more comfortable, more together. Empty streets, calm movements and disengagement from time have helped me rediscover my individuality.

Regaining a sense of individuality is probably one of the best things that being actively present in the local community has given me. I no longer feel like just another face in a mass of people on the tube, just another employee on the way to work, just another consumer being carried in a crowd. I am an individual who makes a noticeable contribution to the things around her. Working in the bookshop I give honest recommendations, I can put a smile on someone’s face or engage in an interesting conversation. I have got to know the sales girls at the local food store by face, and our exchange is the warmer for our small acquaintance. I always share a joke and have a chat with the guys in the local wine shop. I often recognise the people who pass me on the street, from having met or known them at some point during my time in the neighbourhood.

In the capital we are always being encouraged to make a difference, to do something good for the world, to ‘think big’. But in order to have any grasp at all of the bigger picture, we must understand the small pieces that hold it together. It is by making a constant positive contribution to the things that are closest to us that we will be able to move on to bigger things. As the proverb goes: charity begins at home. If we learn to live lovingly and peacefully with the people and things in our vicinity, then the rest of the world won’t seem like such a big challenge. If we take notice and make a contribution to what is available locally, we will not only make positive changes to our own lives but touch the lives of many others far more deeply than if we were trying to save the entire world. Our most precious things are at our fingertips.