Melbourne has slowly emerged from lockdown and for the first time in three months shops are open for business.
It’s been a tough course to stick out but I’m excited for the city, I’m proud of my kids and of myself.
I’m grateful for simple freedoms and to be able to see friends face to face again. I’m grateful for the kindness of others through what has been a difficult time for us all.
Sometimes it takes something big to inspire gratitude for the little things—and that’s okay. Consider me inspired!
To be grateful is to acknowledge the perfection in utter imperfection. It’s to say, “For this moment, in this second, I’m alive. I breathe. I see or feel the sunlight. I’m thankful for that. Now, let this moment inspire me to enjoy the next.”
Gratitude. That’s the first of four key anchors I’ve had to drop over the course of the past few weeks. The second is tried and tested Positivity.
I was talking to my Aunt while driving back from a friend’s house a little while ago. It had been an emotional few days and I was still struggling. Even the thought of being at home felt difficult.
My Aunt asked two simple questions: "How do you want to feel? How do you want it to go?”
I wanted to feel calm. At peace. I wanted to have a fulfilling night.
So she asked me to ‘Set it Up’, her way of telling me to create what I really want.
It was a straightforward concept that triggered a huge lightbulb moment.
We often dwell on the negative and end up creating it through our thoughts. Kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy. But if that works for the negative, why not the positive?
I turned my focus to what I wanted to create and guess what? When I got home I felt great. I was ‘Set Up’ for peace, calm and a good night.
The third anchor came soon after. All the signs were telling me to stop and take stock of my how I was caring for myself. (It really had been a rough week!)
Self-care. Not a lot of us pay attention to it (especially because we’d rather spend time caring for others) but, like me, so many of us face feelings and behaviours everyday that poke out like the tip of an iceberg from something far greater beneath.
Self-care is huge—tackling that vast submerged portion. I needed to nourish myself from the inside out—like good food. Nurture confidence and calm so I could move through life with greater ease.
It’s a healing practise and process like no other. Recently I’ve found that allowing myself to feel what I feel, letting emotion take its course, instead of trying to avoid or suppress it, has helped me navigate some super tough moments.
And not getting caught up in my inner critic. That’s been a big one. It’s a nag that talks us out of trying new things and constantly makes us feel inadequate.
Years of listening to it gives it a big voice—one that convinces us we’re not enough and masks the presence of our innate confidence.
So now, I I always check in with myself before stepping out into the world. Consciously relaxing my body by taking a few deep breaths, thinking about what I’m grateful for and a quality I’d like to practise that day.
I intentionally bring awareness to every movement so that it embodies that grateful, intentional, relaxed me. It’s good for countering the critic and magnifying my authenticity.
Self-care. Life-changing anchor number three. And, finally, Self-compassion. Last but in no way least.
Meditation teacher Vinny Ferraro describes it this way: “Compassion is simply a kind, friendly presence in the face of what’s difficult.”
It’s been a huge focus, learning to be there in the challenges and to have compassion for myself—a self-created loving space in difficult times. I know many of us get all self judgy when things go south. We turn on ourselves and focus blame inward. That’s not okay. Not even a little bit!
My compassionate space allows me to move toward life, not away from it. It means I can be informed by each new moment and meet challenges with love and kindness. It means consciously being gentle, caring and understanding to myself—like I would a friend I deeply care about.
The gift of compassion is the ability to confidently open up, knowing I have the strength and the space to embrace whatever comes my way.
Gratitude. Positivity. Self-care. Self-compassion. A mighty quad that anchor you in life’s scary, buffeting waves. Like the sea, reality will always be dynamic—calm one day, choppy the next. And on some days, down right out to drown you. But good anchors keep you stable, rocked a little but not moved or lost.
As we approach the week ahead, I hope you give a few of these principles a try. Let me know how you go by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time.