Let me ask you a question. When something isn’t working right with your TV, computer, iPad or myriad of other electronic devices, how often have you tried that age-old solution ‘switch it off, then switch it back on again’? Et voila, problem solved, working again. And how often do you recharge all those gadgets you can’t live without? Daily? Would you leave the house and go off for the day with your iPhone sitting at 10%? Or would you make sure it was fully charged, so it wouldn’t run out? Ok, so that was five questions.
Just like our electronic gadgets, we humans run on energy. So how come so many of us treat our gadgets better than we do ourselves? We religiously charge them, or switch them off to reset a fault, but how often do we recharge ourselves, or switch ourselves off? Is it any wonder our poor minds and bodies struggle to cope when so often we run them down to the last few per cent but expect them to keep going?
I’m writing this from Cornwall, where I’m spending the half term holidays with the hubby and kids. I wake up each morning and go to bed each evening with a view of the sea from my bed. I’m not sure there’s anything more relaxing than watching and listening to the waves lapping – sometimes roaring – onto the shore of the beach.
I’ve sat on the beach meditating. I’ve watched surfers riding the waves and my kids mucking about in the shallows. I’ve felt the breeze on my face, I’ve stopped to look at the exquisite fragile beauty of wild flowers, I’ve felt the sand beneath my feet and the sea water between my toes.
And every moment I’ve felt my body, mind and soul softening and letting go, connecting to the earth and recharging through nature’s subtle but powerful energy.
It’s taken me a lifetime to learn how to really relax and recharge myself – and I’m still learning. I have to remind myself constantly. This week is a complete contrast to where I was mentally and physically last week. I was emotionally drained, my head was a fog of tension and my body was exhausted. But during the last few days I’ve felt more alive than I have in weeks. I’m still taking care of my physical energy limitations and am resting frequently but I’m also recharging my mind and soul by making sure I get outside and do the things I love.
There is far less room for my dear friend anxiety to come knocking at my door when my mind is being calmed by nature, or I’m in the flow of painting.
My wonderful meditation teacher (Linda Hall – seriously, please look her up on YouTube and try her guided meditations, they are bliss) says that we are as much a part of nature as every living thing – we’re made of the same stuff, the same minerals. But we spend so much time indoors, on our devices or locked in the busyness of our minds in this crazy world. Spending time in nature recharges us, reconnects us to what we’re made of, and takes us out of our minds and into our senses, which gives our minds space.
Give yourself permission to just stop and recharge. Yes a holiday or a day out in nature is great but find a way to build recharging yourself into your daily life. Whether it’s sitting outside for five minutes to meditate (even if you have to wrap yourself in blankets!), standing barefoot on the grass or even just stopping now and then to take a few deep breaths, there are so many ways to make looking after yourself as much a part of your daily routine as plugging in your iPhone.
So yes, it seems Ferris Bueller had it right back in the 80s (yikes how old?!). Taking time out of the busyness of life, to really appreciate it and all that we miss around us each day when we’re blindly rushing through it, is essential to living our best life.
Slow down. Look around you. Stop. Breathe. Feel your feet on the ground. Smell the roses. Your body and mind will thank you for it.