A strong rip current and big swell always gets my blood pumping. There were two swimmers ahead of me who took the corner wide, while I ran the gauntlet and hugged the reef where the current was weaker. Luckily I caught a wave in and avoided a few scrapes on the shallow reef. As I waded out of the water I circled up in the shallows with the other swimmers. We had a laugh and a chat about how sketchy it was out there. We realized we had been watching each other.
Sport with a little bit of trouble bonds people together.
Think about all the political anger and outrage that we direct at a politician. What if we focused all that energy on electing someone better.
Imagine if all the @replies, retweets, shares and Facebook comments about the faux outrage of the day were redirected to amplifying good works and inspiring leaders.
Trolls feed off outrage. Their battery packs are recharged with anger and vitriol. Imagine these monsters standing on the top of a mountain in the middle of raging storm and holding a lightning conductor. The more lightning strikes they get hit with, the more powerful they become.
Starve these the trolls, and they curl up and shrink. They can stand on top of the mountain all day on a beautiful sunny day and won’t get one lightning strike. Next time you feel anger boiling up inside of you. Don’t engage. Redirect that energy into something constructive. You’ll starve the nasty beasts and build something great.
The difference between the first time you do something and the next time is incredible. Muscle memory kicks in after a couple of times. Repetition increases confidence and creativity, and it’s easier to get into the concentration flow. With enough repetition you don’t think anymore you just do. In martial arts, this mind state is called Mushin. It comes from the term mushin no shin which means the mind without mind. This flow state is possible anywhere whether it’s hiking, exercising, working, playing. Rinse and repeat.
Here’s a breathing tip
Sit in lotus pose or if it’s more comfortable then kneel on the floor. Relax your body from head to toe, and slowly start belly breathing. Inhale and exhale through your nose.
Imagine a small fire at the base of your belly. Every inhale of fresh oxygen fuels the flames. The exhale relaxes your tummy and lets the light expand. Inhaled fuel the fire and exhales loosen up the body. Grow the fire by inhaling until changes from yellow to orange to blue. The flame is so big now that it needs more space. Your exhales are turn blue as the heat escapes your body and fight more space around you. Keep feeding the fires and feeling you tummy becomes warmer and looser. Wind it down slowly with slower, and longer inhale. Expel the blue flame with your last exhalation. Sit and feel the warm afterglow permeate through your body.
People tend to slump over when they meditate. The head drops and shoulders slump. This posture closes the chest and throat in a moment where you want maximum airflow.
Here’s a quick tip:
Halfway through the session take a moment to check in with your posture and body position. After the check-in, if you are feeling constricted then imagine a soft claw coming down from the ceiling. It’s the same kind of claw that you see in the arcade machine that grabs toys, but the grip is so delicate that the toys end up falling.
Imagine the claw slowly grabs your head and starts lifting you up. Your neck extends, your chest opens up, and your spine straightens. Just like in the arcade the claw slips off your head and retracts away. Your posture is now open, upright and relaxed.
The breaks between yoga poses are as important as the poses themselves.
Surfing is like this too. The first paddle out takes a lot of energy. Especially if it’s a beach break, and timing between the sets is the difference between flailing in the inside section and a fun surf session. There’s a magical moment right after paddling out, when I sit up on my board and look out to sea. The breakers are behind me, and I’m breathing deeply. The adrenalin subsides and it’s quiet. All it takes is a few strokes for me to get over the incoming set waves. That pause gives me time to recharge, get my bearing and work out where I want to be when the next set rolls in.
It’s like the breaks between notes in a musical composition. The notes and the breaks makes the melody.
Kick the coffee. Drink herbal tea.🍵 It’ll regulate your moods.
Drop the booze at night. You’ll sleep deeper and wake up rested
Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.
Exercise for at least 25min every day. Get a balance of anaerobic and aerobic exercise.
Phone a friend and catch up. Don’t text or post something. Phone the person. Connect with them, don’t just communicate with them.
Get lunch outside of the office. It’ll get you walking, and you’ll probably eat with someone else.
Drink lots of water.
Avoid sugar, especially during the afternoon slump. Same with coffee.
Eat oats in the morning. You’ll also lose weight. Avoid toast for breakfast, especially with sweet jams, etc. are not ideal for breakfast. Toast is an efficient food delivery system, so be careful what the cargo is. If you must have toast, then have it with some butter.
Spend time with positive people.
Be kind and shrug off grudges and slights. Grudges suck up a ton energy.
Be thankful for one thing every day.
Be social. We are pack animals. A community is a powerful thing.
Giving is energizing. Be a giver.
Toe breathing? Yup, your toes breath if you concentrate on them. Ready to try?
Okay. Take a pause. Relax your shoulders, eyes, and jaw. Feel the ground on your feet and wiggle your toes, so you know they are there. Take a deep breath through your nose and feel the air enter your body. Imagine the same fresh air coming your lungs, tummy, legs, feet and finally your toes. Feel the body expanding. It’s like blowing up a balloon. Imagine the clean oxygenated air reaching the very tips of your toes and that everything it touches on the way down is cleansed.
Now exhale slowly. As you exhale, imagine your body deflating slowing and breathing out the stale air. All of the aches, pains, anxiety leave the body with that exhalation.
Is like rinse and repeat. Try it 3 times. Concentrating on the toes will make you breath deeper and slow down the exercise. Remember to the breath through your nose and relax the shoulders and face.
Stay grounded today and enjoy.
Here’s a tip on breathing.
Try this the next time you take a couple of deep breaths to relax or wind down from exercising.
As you exhale, imagine you are filling a vessel. Inhale deeply into your diaphragm and then slowly exhale. Relax your jaw and shoulders. Feel the floor holding you up. Wriggle your toes. Relax.
The room. The first exhale fills the room. Imagine your breath as a white mist filling every nook and cranny of the room
The house. The second exhale fills all the rooms of the house. Bedroom, bathroom and kitchen touched and infused by the mist.
The neighborhood. The third exhale fills the neighborhood. Down alleys and into back gardens.
The city. The fourth exhale fills the city. Imagine it happening on a map. Imagine the mist swirling through the city streets, between buildings and under cars.
The exercise will slow down your breathing and it’ll turn the practice into something more than exhaling carbon dioxide.
Relax your shoulders, wiggle your jaw, feel the muscles behind your eyes relax. Take a deep breath and feel the love and support that surrounds you. How do you feel now?
If you need help, then help someone else. If you need support then support someone else. If you need love then love someone else. If you need to receive then give.