August has been pretty frantic… and awesome too.
I spent a lot of time in the company of one of the most amazing people I know: Jay Barlow from London. He has a string of degrees and diplomas behind his name and knows more about the human psyche than anyone else I know. I organised for him to run coaching workshops in Cape Town and Johannesburg – and I learnt so much (more of which I’ll tell you later…)
Then we spent a few lazy, relaxed and stress-free days in Imfolozi Game reserve. It was here that I observed a bird with built-in shock-absorbers!
As we went on a late-afternoon drive, we spotted a brown-hooded kingfisher sitting on a low branch close to the road. It was a hot (41 degrees!), dusty and windy day . My husband was photographing it when he suddenly exclaimed “Look how still he keeps his head”. Then we saw it too: his head was dead-still. The rest of his body moved up and down as the branch was blown about in the wind. It was quite an extraordinary sight to see!
Makes sense too – that kingfisher (which eats insects!) would have to keep its head pretty still to focus on the insect it was about to swoop down upon.
Fancy that! A kingfisher with shock-absorbers.
Imagine how useful it would be for us to have shock-absorbers so that we can keep our focus when life is blowing us about in the wind (and even when its not).
Well we can…
Here are 3 activities you can introduce to your daily life that’ll help you deal with light, moderate or stormy winds in a way that keeps you focused:
1) Half hour morning reflection: I know an hour is ideal, but even ten minutes is better than nothing. Use this time to journal, pray, reflect, visualize or meditate. It never ceases to amaze me how this time sets the tone for the whole day and how I cope much better with the trials of life when I do this regularly.
2) Take care of yourself: When your needs are met in terms of your health, your mind and your soul, you are able to give so much more to your life and the people in it. Make an effort to put those activities into your life that count towards your own care. After this upside down month, I can’t wait to get back to regular gym and intend to go for a massage to iron out these knots…
3) A night-time routine that ensures sleep: DO NOT answer emails/ work just before you go to bed – unless you enjoy spending half the night processing work issues. I encourage you to stop working before dinner. Then truly switch off from the work-day. It helps to write down all the things that are bothering you or irritating you and then putting the list away, promising to deal with it tomorrow. Now do the things that relax you. Avoid TV too close to bed-time too. It really works to have a bed-time routing that you repeat before you sleep every night. This helps your mind and body KNOW that it must sleep now. It could be something like: Have a warm drink; bath/ wash and brush teeth; turn off lights in rest of house; get into bed and read a novel (NOT work stuff) or write in your journal; sleep…. Getting a decent night’s sleep ensures you are ready to face your life in a constructive way.
These shock absorbers are important. By practicing these, you can keep your focus,even when the wind is howling. I know that these work for me, and when I don’t do them I start to feel ungrounded and hugely stressed. As soon as I put them back into my daily life I feel grounded and focused again.
Of course, you may do something else that works perfectly for you. Why don’t you share the rituals that help to keep you focused so that others reading this blog can benefit from your ideas too? (and me…)