Do you know what it feels like to be mentally wading through treacle? As if you've woken to find your mind in a foggy landscape after a heavy night with your nose at the bottom of a wine glass? No matter how you try, just mustering the energy to brew a coffee seems to have you completely flummoxed. I do.
Probably since completing my last triathlon in the late summer of 2018, Ironman Vichy, the banks of fog have been rolling in and getting progressively thicker. Covid 19 and the subsequent lockdown just sent me into Instrument Fight Rules - I simply couldn't see straight to have a way ahead and I was seriously questioning if all my instruments were calibrated correctly.
So, it was time to practice what I preached. I consciously went through my life piece by piece, journalling, and taking all the valuable tools that I've accumulated over two decades of conscious living and evaluated the effectiveness of my application of those techniques. It's human to get slack, cut corners, to be less than passionate in the application of tasks done time and time again. It was also time to gain some fresh new sparkly techniques to reignite my fire and burn away the mists of banality, complacency and a lack of purpose. I cannot overstate the importance of having a life review. I know the rest of you all do this consciously at New Year, but I seem to have always been working with others on these tasks and seriously omitting to give myself the time and love to honour my need for a serious MOT.
Here's the self care checklist I worked through..
- Meditation/Yoga/Pranayama. I AM a yogini. Am I starting each day with a positive habit that will allow my subsequent existence to be intentional and awake to joy?
- Journal. Am I taking the time to ask myself important questions to ensure that my compass is calibrated and I'm on the right path? What do I need right now?
- Affirmation. I AM the author of my own narrative - time to write a more interesting story to myself. Decide on my motivation and meaning, then live it, reminding myself often of what that is.
- Get outside. Since the death of our dog Todd and his necessity for a daily walk, the opening of the yoga studio in our home, and the lack of triathlon training agenda, I was letting some days go by without stepping into nature. And I AM an outside person - it's a fundamental part of my soul that I wasn't honouring.
- Take exercise. I know, we all know this. My yoga is not my exercise. I'd have to do hours each day for it to make me fit and it certainly doesn't hit the heart and lungs. Again, I AM a runner and a cyclist - it is time to just enjoy these as past times.
- Honour friends & family. If ever there was a wake up call to the importance of those I value, love and admire it was lockdown. Ring them, walk with them, love them. Reach out and create awesome work collaborations with people who inspire, motivate and get you.
- Food and nutrition. In the triathlon tribe our mantra is that 'nutrition is the forth discipline'. Throughout my thirties I was eating a very clean, low wheat diet, I looked and felt great. By my mid forties, I was training for between 6 - 18 hours a week to complete long distance triathlons, doing my own yoga practice for about 6 hours a week, oh and teaching 8 yoga classes a week. There simply wasn't the time to eat mindfully. I needed carbs, LOADS of carbs and lived primarily on peanut butter sandwiches and some highly refined sugar gels to get me through each class, run and ride. When the training stopped, probably too suddenly, the carb obsession continued. It had become the way I eat. Recently I read that wheat is responsible for Grain Brain ( Dr. Perlmutter) and Wheat Belly ( William Davis) , neither were feeling good in my body. Time for a recalibration and a DETOX. Try Jane Shrivner's Detox Yourself, I did it annually for years before triathlon, I just forgot how good it makes me feel. The first week was horrid, but now the mists are clearing and I feel my sparkle emerging.
- Space. Do I have the space in my days to honour the reader, the dancer, the creative, the goddess within me? What can I do to make this one precious life flow with grace?
- Sleep. Am I getting enough? What is the quality of that sleep? As I get more turned on to what motivates, honours and excites me, I find that I love my bed more and more as a precious time to rejuvenate and restore. So I bought the bed of my dreams, a mattress to lovingly support my deepest rest and covered it with the bedding of a princess. And you know what? I feel like a goddess in it.
- Inspiration and guidance. Who is there who can help me and mentor me through an up levelling of my energy and purpose? Finding mentors and coach has been the best investment of this decade. I am eternally grateful to the incredible teachers in my life at this time. Richard and Mary Freeman, Glenn Ceresoli and Caroline Britton - thank you.
So there you have it. Have I missed anything crucial? Probably. Please let me know if there is anything I should add to a Clarity MOT. I haven't got caught up in the house de-cluttering etc, I probably will soon, but for now, this is enough. I am emerging grateful, radiant, buoyant and with real clarity and it feels awesome.