Kick back and Relax

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It’s Wednesday morning and here I am in Reykjavík. It’s raining outside. I like that. Many Icelanders tend to have a distorted view of rainy weather. A lot of them think that fog and rain make for terrible weather. I can give them the benefit of the doubt this time, but I find that rain and fog helps me relax better.

That’s what I’m going to be covering today. Two days ago, I pulled a muscle in my back. I was helping my father get rid of two sofas. I’d been working a lot lately and was starting to show signs of being overworked, but I insisted that I was big and strong and could move the sofas with little thought to how I was using my body. Boom, pulled muscle. I had no energy to talk because I was both overworked and in pain. I got better later in the day, but now I feel I need to share some knowledge with you all.

Don’t forget to rest. You need to sleep. You need to say no when you have too much going on. Your spiritual and physical health depend on rest. Unwinding after a long day at work. Calling in sick when you’re actually sick. Saying no to a project because you’ve already got four more extracurricular activities going on. Your health and well being should always be your first and utmost concern. Who said that our short existence had to be an uncomfortable one anyway?

Now say that you’re at a place in your life where sleep is  just sometimes hard to come by. You may work 12 hour shifts with a long commute home. You may have insomnia or for some other reason you just have a hard time sleeping. From personal experience I can guarantee you that the rest you long desire will come easily with mediation. Be it through mantras or simple breathing exercises. Whatever you find most comfortable. It will give you rest.

Here’s one that I enjoy. I sit down and take notice of my enviornment. I breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth for a few minutes. When I’m ready- I close my eyes on the exhalation. I notice all the sounds and sensations I feel. My body pressing into the surface I’m sat atop. Is there a gust of wind brushing across my skin. Then I proceed to look inward. I focus on my breathe for a few minutes before my mind runs wild. I sit back and watch as the thoughts scurry past like unguided sheep without their shepard. I come back to my breath and open my eyes when I’m ready. Give it a go.

I work a lot as I said earlier. A full-time job plus musicianship with lots of extracurricular activities fill my schedule from day to day. Sometimes I’m asked how do I have so much energy? I always give the same answer. I eat healthy, keep active and meditate daily. Once in the mornings and once during the night. 20 minutes each session and I’m ready to take on anything. After I added yoga into the mix I’ve managed to keep myself going strong for a long while, yet as of late I can feel I need to take a break.

An easy going yoga session can relieve so much tension both mentally and physically that you might actually end up sleeping where you placed your mat. We tend to save up stress and negative emotion into various body parts. When the body is relieved of its stress- the mind releases aswell. 10 minutes a day is enough.

Mental and physical exhaustion can creep up on the best of us. We need to take breaks every once and a while. We need to stop and breathe. Some people feel like that if they’re not doing anything then they are being useless. That is so far from the truth. I want to give you a challenge. When you have a day off- go meditate for a while. Do some yoga. Kick back and read a light book. Put minimum effort into whatever your doing and just take notice of your existence. Go through the day and just observe what’s going on around you. Then try to incorporate that into every day. Why should we make things more complicated than they need to be?

Take care of yourself. You’ll be thankful that you did in the long run.

Empathy

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Empathy. Everyone at a point in their lives has picked up on someone’s current emotion and felt said emotion. Being happy around an overly excited person. Feeling sad at a funeral. Feeling calm around a quiet person. We all manage to pick these emotions up from others every now and then. Some more intensely than others.

Sometimes we become uneasy because of that. We could be feeling great and then all of a sudden we pick up an emotion from someone else that changes our current mood. What happened? Why am I all of a sudden feeling very stressed out? Not knowing why our current mood/state of mind changed makes us very uncomfortable and that is what we need to fix. Realizing that we’re picking up emotions from others makes dealing with being overly empathetic much easier.

Empathy is important though. I’m not saying that you should try to get rid of your empathy. Why would we not want to pick up on how someone close to us is feeling? Being able to pick up on others emotions is a talent we should all be thankful to have. The most important factor is that we don’t let the emotion affect us. We know it’s there. Just notice the emotion and don’t give it anymore thought. Let’s not allow it overtake what we are currently feeling. Now that’s easier said than done, but with practice we can turn it into something positive.

A friend of yours is sad, but is hiding that from you. Over some time, if not instantly, you start to feel down. You realize that you have nothing to feel bummed out about so why are you in the gutter? Maybe you start to analyze why you might be sad and make something up about why you could be feeling down. We do this all the time. Maybe you read your friend’s body language and come to the conclusion that something’s wrong. You realize that you’re picking up your friend’s sadness. If you choose not to let it affect you then you will go about your activities as if nothing happened. It is up to us how we react to a situation like this, but we can now come at it from a more positive angle.

Here’s the thing though. You’ve just realized that your friend is sad and is choosing to not talk about it. If he slips up at what he’s doing or makes a mistake; all of a sudden it’s much easier to forgive him because you know his current state of mind is not functioning at it’s best. You may ask him if he’s not feeling well. He might respond with a lie, “Everything is fine, why do you ask?” and you could answer, “I’m just picking up a weird vibe is all” and go on with your day. If your gut tells you that you’re picking up a weird vibe from someone, trust it. We are hardwired to pickup on vibes from others. It’s our intuition that tells us that something is off. Emapthy and intuition go hand in hand and if you’re sensitive to the energy other people are giving off, but don’t realize it, then trust your intuition.

Somewhere along the way we will definitely forget that we are picking up other’s emotions and that’s okay. We aren’t as in touch with our own emotions or capabilities as we once were. That’s why we need to reconnect with ourselves via means of meditation, yoga and general spiritualism to ensure inner peace and happiness. Just imagine if everyone was incredibly empathetic. Let’s say that instead of stress- the main emotion is overall happiness and inner peace. Imagine how great of a world that is. Everyone picking up on such positive emotions. Then here comes the stranger. Sadness, stress, anger, feelings that we generally describe as negative. All of the empaths pick up on this and realize that someone has fallen out of balance. They do their best to assist the stranger back on his path. Not a lot of time goes by before the stranger is back on the horse riding happily.

That seems like a beautiful existence to me.

Vulnerablility – Dropping our front

Dropping our front for a while is such a hard endeavour that most of us end up holding on to it for too long and becoming exhausted on the way. Being genuine and letting yourself be vulnerable are important parts of your spiritual maturity and finding your inner peace.

We tend to try and hide things that we’re embarrased about and try to portray ourselves to society in the most glamorous way possible, yet somehow that real inner core personality and person only seems to show up when we feel either stressed to the bone or if we’re overburdened with emotion on our shoulders. Sometimes we become comfortable enough with certain people and drop our front. Being around said people is a blessing and I’m thankful for that. Those that you show your true self to and stick around are the people who will, more often than not, be in your life forever.
That’s one of the reasons why we need to let ourselves be vulnerable. Making true connections with people. Modern society is becoming more anti-social via means of electronic communication. People are hooked on getting notifications and when we’re confronted with real-life situations we seem to panic, close ourselves off and put up our emotional barrier. Our ego says no to confrontation and now, more than ever, we let it have its way. Which means that out mental maturity becomes stagnant.
Look, no one likes to get hurt. Be it through disagreement, rejection or the fear of making a mistake. If we don’t let ourselves be vulnerable, we will never move forward or make a genuine connection with the people that surround us.
You don’t have to be an emotional wreck when you show vulnerability. You will most likely be uncomfortable at first (see my blog about how important that is), but as you progress you will start to notice how this newfound vulnerability humbles you. You will start to be truthful about how you really feel and your reactions to difficult situations will be mostly positive. Friendships will last, relationships strengthen and your general mental health will improve. I read somewhere that it takes a lot more brain power/energy to lie rather than just telling the truth. Even when we lie- we always have a tell. So why protect our ego with a lie when we can nurture our soul with truth?
Drop the front. We’re not fooling anybody. Let your guard down to see if you actually need it. If you are hard like stone, nothing will get through to you. Soften your heart. If it’s hard, no one and nothing will get through to you and that, in all honesty, seems like a dull and grey existence.

I dropped my front a long time ago. It was just much easier to be my 100% self all the time. Although I never let myself get vulnerable until around a year ago. I decided to stop trying to defend myself so much. I would never admit mistakes (still working on that) and I would take things so personally and lock myself off from the posibility of a challenge. Said challenge was new ideas, expressing myself truly and letting my emotions pass through without obstacle. Leaving myself open for attack helped me grow into the person I am today. That saying, “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. I think I can agree to that. So here’s to being vulnerable. I had a 1000 yard stare the other day. I think I was most vulnerable at that moment in time, so here have a picture.

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Today, I can say I’m thankful for that. I hope you all find the strength to leave yourself wide open. I can say from personal experience that the payoff is so worth it.