Getting out of Quicksand
Growing up, in Ireland, quicksand featured heavily on my television screen. Villains were slowed down by it, women in distress were caught in it and cartoons ended with it. My dad had to remind me that this was not a thing in Ireland, and no, that muddy puddle over there would not swallow me up despite my best efforts.
One morning this week, as I lay in bed, I imagined my body being sucked into an abyss below my mattress through quicksand. I knew that I had three video calls in quick succession. And while I was excited about these, I simply did not want to get up and start the day. I was, dear reader, in a bit of a bad mood.
I have been working from home for three years now. When I started, people asked quizzically, how I could work for myself from home. It was a very novel concept for many people in my town. And while I love the solitude of it, many don’t. Now I talk to people about how to work from home better. Last week, I delivered training to companies in Washington D.C., Seattle, and one here in Ireland. (isn’t technology wonderful)
If you go online and look up “How to work from home effectively” you will get a lot of advice that I won’t give you here.
My number one tip, whether you work from home or now, is to WAKE UP WELL.
Well, as I am a lover of mindfulness, guess what….
Yes, it’s a mindfulness practice.
Studies at Harvard and the London School of Economics consistently identify that the root of happiness is having rich social bonds and meaningful relationships. Right now, our relationship with ourselves is more important than ever. Dr. Richie Davidson, has research to show that we can train our minds to improve our wellbeing. (This does not minimise the conditions some people are living in and with.) The research shows that we all have a setpoint and certain activities correlate with better wellbeing.
One is how we start our day.
Remind me, what is mindfulness?
A mindfulness practice is where we cultivate and reshape our minds over and over. We are learning to notice, notice, notice.
Noticing what comes up.
Noticing where we are grasping at things.
Noticing moments of joy, pain, awe.
Noticing our inner-critic, dreamer and believer.
And we notice these things with gentleness, curiosity, and kindness.
Put simply, a mindfulness practice, can give you, you as your best friend.
Wake Up Well
How are you?
Many times, we answer this on autopilot, we answer it how we believe people want to hear it. But if you ask yourself this, upon waking up, you raise that muscle of awareness within you. It perks up, (without the need for coffee) and takes notice that you’re checking in with yourself. “Ahh” it tells itself, “You’ve started to tune in”. Ask yourself this question a few times a day, stick a note on your computer screen, on a cupboard, across your mirror, in big bold letters to remind you. This consistency develops your muscle of awareness and absorbs into you. When you ask this question, you begin the day with direct kindness towards yourself.
How can I make this a good day?
Name one simple commitment I can make for myself, today?
Keeping it simple, drop in and appreciate the positive commitment you’ve made to yourself.
I will be on time this week. I will eat fruit this morning. I will look at my children with appreciation before I wake them.
Whatever it is, try it. And….. As you read this, notice the reaction it brings up IN you. Are you reacting against this or with this? What sensations can you feel in your body as you read this?
A new Hobby
Look at this as a new hobby. Something to approach with fun, creativity and a sense of awe and wonder.
Starting the day this way gives you a stable, steady, and deliberate presence in yourself. And when I looked up how to get out of quicksand, the instructions are the same.
Find stability, be steady, and make slow, deliberate movements.
If you think your friends might like this, why not share it with them.
Thanks for reading