the ability to create is one of the greatest gifts we've been given. there are things that you will be inspired to create that literally no one else will. your mind is a sacred place, and within that sanctuary, new ideas are born, fresh concepts and ways to look at the world burst into being. you have an imagination, and with it you can begin the journey towards absolutely anywhere from exactly where you are right now.
i love creating. i love making things - especially making things up and writing them down - the scientific name for which is storytelling. it's what i do most days. but lately, i've also been pondering the fact that, as a creator, it's so important to be careful to not get so caught up in creating that you begin to value yourself based on what you create; it can be an easy and slippery abyss to stumble into: a sort of addiction to productivity.
this simple fact has been churning in my thoughts:
the fact that you exist makes you valuable.
not what you do, or the content you create. simply being is an art all it's own; a sort of magic that you manifest into the world everyday. you are here, you are living and breathing and awake and alive, eating toast and humming songs and going for walks in the woods and smelling the sweet air. you are here. and sometimes you need to just be.
i've been coming up with practical ways to remind myself of this on a regular basis, often beating back my hunger for achievement and productivity to recenter myself in the urgent truth that i must be. i must, we must. or else we overlook the sheer sweetness of life. on top of that, it's actually really important to be happy and create from a place of happiness rather than making happiness a trophy you will only receive upon the completion of your goal, or perhaps to-do list. (there's an entire TED talk about that that i love.)
so, after trying a bunch of things, here's a few things that have helped me to stay present, slow down, savor, and just be; just respect who i am and where i'm at right now. maybe they'll help you too.
1. practicing yoga
i'm a pretty active person. i love running and working out and lifting weights and martial arts, but i would have to say that yoga has helped me in more ways than all of these, and on top of that, has enhanced my experience and perspective on everything i just listed. there is no great object to achieve in yoga, there is not a checklist, or a rank you're working towards... there is simply, the practice of yoga; being grounded right here, right now in this moment. breathing deep, tending to your needs, and letting go of that which no longer serves you.
i've been loving practicing yoga first thing in the morning between coffee and making breakfast (it's best to practice on an empty stomach, and it does wonders for your digestive health), or breaking up my workday with a yoga practice in the middle of the afternoon. this is especially beneficial if you find yourself spending loads of time at a desk (like me).
if yoga isn't your cup of tea, maybe you find a quiet place to do some stretching, or go for a walk and do some deep breathing instead. if you've been wanting to give yoga a try, but haven't been sure where to start, this is a great place.
2. taking a shower
this can actually be a nice thing to do before a yoga practice and i have heard some instructors recommend it: rinse off the day thus far. whether you're practicing yoga or not, this feels extremely good, and can be a great way to reset your day by emotionally and physically cleansing. sometimes if things aren't going as i'd planned or if i'm having a rough day, taking a break from everything and taking a nice hot shower can be just what i need to feel refreshed.
3. getting outside
deep breathing fresh air is important, and there's lots of research, articles, and common sense to back this up. sometimes we just sit in one room, slouching over a laptop for way too long. we stagnate. we need some movement, oxygen, and a great big change of scenery. i'm cultivating a new habit of getting up, taking a break, and taking my dog rocket for a walk when my brain starts to feel oat mealish.
not to mention the fact that the outdoors is the best place to go, and full of thE COOLEST THINGS LIKE TREES AND BIRDS AND BUGS AND AWESOME NOISES AND SCENTS AND UGGH. just shut off your phone and go have some fun, alright??
4. drinking tea or kombucha
this is another ritual i love; afternoon tea after most of my work, if not all of it, is finished for the day. i drank loads of tea while i was in england and the habit sort of just stuck. when i'm writing or relaxing, you can usually find me drinking a nice hot mug of pg tea (a delicious brand i discovered while in kensington) with a splash of whole milk and a teaspoon of vermont maple syrup.
kombucha is another favorite of mine. the kind i usually buy is raw, organic, and packed with probiotics and enzymes that help support your immune system. i've been enjoying gt's autumn special, which has a warm, cinnamon undertones and hints of apple and is delicious over ice.
5. listening to classical or acoustic music
lately i've been returning to my roots and gorging on loads of classical music. my mom raised my sister and i largely on Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach, and i find these are still the melodies that sooth, sustain, and help me best to think. there's actually scientific evidence about ways in which classical music benefits us. another favorite fallback is native american cultural music, which inspires and relaxes me in equal measure with it's sweeping beauty and varying energy. these are a few of my favorite classical pieces, and these are some of my favorite cultural tracks. enjoy. :)
alright sweet soul, now it's your turn - what is your #1 tip for resetting and refreshing? i've love to hear it (and give it a try). oh, and what is your favorite kind of music to unwind to?