5 Ways To Live In The Moment

Being In The Moment

One of the most fantastic aspects of opening myself up to blogging has been the wonderfully supportive community I have had the privilege to ‘meet’ online.  As you may remember my post about Wonder Women, my friends and acquaintances have all been very encouraging all throughout this process of dealing with my CSF leak, of course.  But, I have had the bonus of connecting with other bloggers who provide tips and tricks about the blogging world that I had no idea I needed.  Nor did I know that all these folks existed on social media sites that help to support each other.

One person I have recently connected with is a wonderful blogger named Melissa Davidson who sees life in many of the same ways as I do.  I asked her if she would be willing to write a guest post for me and she immediately said: ‘YES’.

So here are some thoughts about living in the moment by Melissa Davidson, author of The Plunj.

5 Ways To Live In The Moment

Life is full of beauty, wonder and amazement, but how often do we take in any of it? Between running errands, going to work and toting kids around, it often feels as if there’s no time left to just, be. And once we do get a moment to ourselves, we are often so consumed with stewing over past events and preparing for what’s ahead we can’t enjoy what’s right in front of us right now. This is why days feel as though they fly by; weeks turn into months and months turn into years, all in the blink of an eye.

We become so swept up in the thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow of which we can’t do anything about. The present, however, is another story. The present is all ours and we can change it instantly, we can enjoy it and we can share it with others. You don’t need to wait for the perfect time to enjoy what’s around you, the opportunities are right in front of you for the taking.

It may take a little practice, but you can make living in the moment second nature. Here are a few tips you can start using right now to enjoy each moment and ensure you don’t let everyday monotony sweep them away.

1. Be your six-year-old self

5 ways live in the moment
6 Year Old Self

Do not, and I repeat, do not think that just because you are an adult you need to adhere to some unwritten rules about adult etiquette. Of course you need to be a decent human being, so no tantrums, but this world should be viewed no differently than when you were six—as if you are an explorer. When you allow yourself to explore this world and try new things, your senses become heightened and you can get back to being who you really are—that kid we abandoned when life got so serious.

We only have so much time in this world and there is so much to experience, whether you are six or 60. Need to get motivated? Think ahead to how you’re going to reflect on your life when you’re 80. Will you be happy you took all the opportunities you had to get out and live or will you be full of regrets because you didn’t take any chances. Keeping this perspective is a great way to muscle through fears you may have about exploring so you can try new things and take the plunge toward a new life.

If you want to dance then dance, if you want to sing then sing, just trust your gut and let your inner child free. You’ll not only feel as though a weight is lifted, but you’ll also learn more about yourself and may even discover your passion.

2. Stop living in someone else’s moment

Most of us wake up early to get ready for work, wait in traffic for 30 minutes, sit at a desk for 8 hours at a job we don’t even like, and then head home to meet the demands of our families i.e. dinner, kids baths, etc. We are constantly living in the moment of someone else and it often feels robotic as though others are dictating our every move. Doing this day after day takes its toll and can make us feel disconnected from ourselves.

But you can re-connect with yourself. Remember you are in control of your life and simply doing something out of the ordinary on your terms is one of the quickest ways you can get in touch with yourself again.

Take a new route to work, have your children help you with dinner, give in to those spur-of-the-moment urges, such as stopping for ice cream, or engage in a dart gun war with your kids. Whatever the event, it doesn’t have to be monumental or planned. It can just be a little tweak of the current situation, but it’s often enough to make you reframe the world around you, boost your senses and allow you to tap into your inner self.

3. Listen

5 ways live in the moment
Listen

Don’t just hear people when they talk to you, truly listen. When you listen to others you engulf yourself in the conversation and form deeper connections with those around you. We are social creatures and when we form deep connections we are naturally happier. Think about it. When you’ve had a meaningful conversation with someone who listened to you how did it make you feel? You likely felt good, respected and drawn to that person because they valued what you had to say. When you listen to others, they’ll likely be drawn to you as well.

Lend an ear, ask questions, enjoy the conversation, and don’t worry about what you’ll say next, just relax.

4. Disconnect

5 ways live in the moment
Disconnect

Our devices should really be called time vampires because we can spend hours scrolling through Facebook with nothing to show for it but the empty feeling of inadequacy thanks to all the keeping-up-with-the-Jones’ posts. Social media is a far cry from the really human connections we innately need.

We all know we spend way too much time on our phones and tablets, but admitting that is not the same as actually doing something about it.

Unplug. Seriously, unplug. It’s easier than you think. Your time with your own thoughts and with your family is way more important and will make you feel far better than an app or meme ever will. You need to take that time and not just be present for it, but live it.

If you’re not quite ready, start slow and gradually work your way up to more and more time 100 percent disconnected. Or try making it a family rule and take turns coming up with creative ideas on how you can spend your time together.

5. Meditate

Meditation can do wonders for clearing the mind of the daily clutter and also bring inner peace. It doesn’t have to be the traditional meditation that I know you’re picturing; legs crisscrossed, arms lightly placed on knees, the humming of “ohm” in the background.

Meditation can be done anywhere by simply allowing each of your senses to take in the moment around you; smelling the air, feeling the wind against your skin, or hearing the hustle and bustle of the day. Focus on one sense at a time to push out the thoughts of the past and future and embrace the now. You’ll feel more calm, grateful and simply happier.

You can also try traditional meditation by blocking out all thoughts. It doesn’t have to be complicated. This too can be done anywhere. Try it for a few minutes in the morning during your shower, on your way to work or while having a cup of coffee on the deck. It’s a great way to start your day.

5 Ways Live in the moment
Quiet Time

Being more present so we can truly savor each and every moment we’ve been gifted is not hard, but rather a feat in restructuring our habits. It takes about 30 days to form a new habit so try a few things and see what sticks. What do you have to lose? Best of luck!

Do you have any tips you use to be more present? I’d love to hear what works for you. Email me: Melissa@theplunj.com

About Melissa

Melissa is a mom, blogger and freelance writer born and raised in North Dakota, USA. She has a love for tea, DIY projects and helping others discover their true potential. Follow her at The Plunj: www.facebook.com/theplunj, www.pinterest.com/the_plunj/ and www.theplunj.com

 

I hope you find The Plunj to be SOMETHING WONDERFUL too!

Love Ingrid x

I Made A Magnificent Mala

Malas

I love to wear Malas to help guide my thoughts.  As a result, it helps me focus my meditation by twirling the beads through my fingers.  I wrote about it some time ago, in my post called 6 Steps To Becoming Enough.  A friend bought a bracelet for me from Malarae in Ottawa.  Kyla Miller is the maker of the bracelets and malas and I wear mine mostly every day.

I have a long necklace that I made years ago at a Yoga festival.  A wonderful group of women and I sat and threaded our beads and told stories.  Although, it was a wonderful communal experience that I remember with fondness, frankly, I didn’t know much more about the beaded necklace than the basics.

Last month, I made my own Mala at a workshop that was hosted by my local Yoga Studio. I had wanted to participate in the workshop as a result of my love for beading and for all things meditation.  This was the workshop for me.

Malas 101 (by me)

A Mala is the wonderful necklace or bracelet you often see Buddhist people wearing.  They are made of stone, wood, seeds, or other natural beads.  They often hang with a wonderful tassel at the end of them.  Much like the Christian equivalent of a rosary. People gently shuffle the beads through their hands or pass over each bead one at a time from start to finish.  They have 108 beads since 108 is a sacred number in many Asian cultures.

The 108 bead Mala is said to have an intention. Therefore, the person who wears the Mala wears it for a certain purpose.  I lived in Japan for 14 years, where you could buy them at most temples and they were sold by the intention: health, luck, abundance, safe driving, good results on an exam, fertility, etc.  More authentic, handmade Malas, are set with intention as the person threads the beads.  Hence, if they are hoping for abundance, they would think the word abundance.  Repeating the word as they put each stone bead onto the string.

The Love Yoga Newsletter describes a mala this way:

A mala (the Sanskrit name for ‘garland’) is a set of beads traditionally worn and used for meditation. Malas are typically made of 108 beads (108 being a sacred number in many Eastern cultures) and serve to keep count of the wearers affirmations by focusing their awareness and staying mindful in the present moment.

Paul McDermid, our instructor told us to thread our Mala with our intention word as each bead went on.  She had thousands of beads all separated into colour groupings.  We selected beads and placed them on a wonderful Mala tray.  From there, we ‘built’ our Mala each bead at a time in rough form before threading the beads.

I could hardly wait to start.

Our fabulous instructor told us to choose the beads to which we were most attracted.  She would tell us when our malas were tied what the significance of each stone held.  I loved the idea of not knowing what the Universe would have me choose.

Getting Started To Thread The Beads

Firstly, we chose our beads.  I was delighted to count out the various colours and align them and arrange them in a way I liked.  Selecting each stone, I chose, placed, arranged, rearranged, and contemplated.  Due to my illness, my intention word means a lot to me at this time in my life (you know I love my affirmations and intentions as I write about these topics often) so I had no trouble choosing it.

I was instructed not to share the word because it is personal to me.

Consequently, I am never to share my mala with another or let them put it on as it is literally not intended for them. (I’m not entirely sure about that…but why tempt fate?) Apparently, energy could pass to the natural stone and be held in or could create an adverse vibration. It seems like that could be a possibility.

While I threaded my mala, I had the chance to talk with the other participants (I was with a friend so conversation flowed easily).  The other members were fun to talk to, easy to get to know, and open to letting the conversation flow or to sit in silence as the energy ebbed and flowed in the group.

My necklace was threaded, and Paula glued the last stones in place next came the really exciting part came.

I made a mala
Ready for sealing and tuning

Sealing and Tuning My Mala

Paula took us in one-by-one to a room where she had a set of crystal singing bowls.  This is where we were going to tune our malas.  She and I entered the room where she told me the various meanings of the stones I had chosen and then asked me to cleanse the mala in the first bowl.

Tibetan Singing Bowls or Crystal Singing Bowls are used to cleanse and tune the energy of the beads.  Each person, as they touch an object, gives off energy.  So, the energy that we want in the mala (our intention) needs to be set into the mala according to each of the 7 Chakras.  There’s a crystal bowl, one for each of the Chakras in our body, and one more to initially cleanse the necklace.

The bowls go from smallest to largest according to the appropriate chakra.  Especially noteworthy here is once I start tuning/sealing my mala, I am the only one who is to touch it until we’re done. The idea is not to get another person’s energy in my beads.  Therefore, I placed the mala in the first bowl and cleansed it. Next, with a tool much like a soft drum stick, I tapped the outer edge of the bowl and rubbed along its outside edge gently.

It was magical!

This experience will stick with me

The sound of the ringing of the crystal filled me from the inside out.  It vibrated inside my heart and brain and echoed out to the room around me.  As a result of the varying sizes, each bowl vibrates at a different frequency creating a different sound and wave.  In addition to this, your own state of being either enhances or hampers the sound.

What an experience!

I did this with each of the chakras: root chakra, sacral chakra, solar plexus chakra…all the way up to the crown chakra. My experience of tuning my own Mala filled me with a sense of harmony. I felt a sense of belonging on this planet that I have never felt before that day.  I was literally over-joyed and felt lifted up by the Universe. This feeling lasted for a very long time afterwards. Was it due to my heart vibrating in harmony with the earth?  Each day, when I looked down at my mala as it dangled around my neck, I had a huge smile on my face.

 

Could making your own mala be something that could lift your spirits? Do you have something that you created that helps to focus your attention?  Please feel free to share these precious things in your life by leaving a comment.

I hope you get the chance to experience SOMETHING WONDERFUL like making a mala!

Love Ingrid x

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mysomethingwonderful/

IG: www.instagram.com/ingridsnydal

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/snydaling

I made a malaSaffron Robes

Patience: It’s Not Just A Virtue Anymore

Patience is a virtue

That’s what I was told as a child.  I admit, I had absolutely no idea what that meant.  I can remember hearing others being told the exact same words, so felt it must be true.  Patience must have been important to other families too.  Not just something my own mother pretended was true!

I’m not going to go into too much detail about that but suffice to say that she served our breakfast cereal with apple juice one morning.  Rather than admit that she had forgotten to get milk the night before on our way home from ballet class, she said…and I quote: “It’s very Continental, you know.  It adds a ‘Je ne sais quoi'”.  (I can certainly tell you ‘quoi’ was added and it rhymes with Cat Kiss).  At the time, though, my brother and I knew she was feeding us a bowl of horse pucks but we just laughed and choked down the cereal.

But I digress…

We speak of patience in others as a badge

Patience is often lauded as a character trait that people have or do not have.  That so-and-so has the Patience of Job.  That this other person ‘Doesn’t have the patience for it’ meaning that they aren’t cut out for a particular job or vocation.  In this article by The Guardian, we seem to be running low on patience these days so it is now a form of power.  Patience seems to be something that we magically either have or we don’t have.

Or so I thought…

As I’ve mentioned before, I am dealing with a horrendous and intense pressure head pain from being upright as a result of a CSF Leak that I have had for the past 17 months.  Headache is a much too general and insufficient word to describe it as it is really a daily concussive state that keeps repeating any time I am upright.  (In summary: not fun!)

As a result of my condition, I am learning a kind of patience that I never ever thought possible.

Was I born patient?

To start off, I have been a relatively patient person most of my life.  I think my patience with little ones is what lead me to a career in Education.  I can remember, even as a little girl, being able to play and entertain much younger guests who came to visit at our house and my mother would marvel that I wouldn’t tire of being the minder.

Waiting for months and months for medical testing and diagnoses and other aspects of my care is a whole different ball game.  I have had to dig very deep in my inner resources to be patient and open-minded about the overall slow pace of the medical process where I live.  You can read about how I handle medical challenges here and here.

Learning a new depth of patience

The other day, I was in my garden, and I waited and waited and waited to get the photo of this insect on the daisy.  As I waited, I watched and marveled at all the activity going on.  A bee would flit in and about to get his chance and the blue bug, I have no idea what he is, would take a fly by to see if he could get a feed.  Then another fly would angle in and alight onto the flower and off he would go.  This dance of ins and outs of these little guys had me intrigued for quite a few minutes. The blue guy just hovered around waiting patiently for his turn.

Once in place, he took his time.  He drank the nectar with, what I can now see thanks to my camera zoom, his proboscis. The little flyer just sipped and sipped and delighted in the juices he was imbibing.  He would flit back up and take a new position, and then back to siphoning off nectar again. Patience.  It can only be described as such.

Can we learn patience?  I really believe we can.

Does it come with practice?  Yes, I believe it does.

Can we get more patient? Indeed, when the Universe chooses to present to us our opportunity, we can do nothing else but learn to be patient.

Nature has it all figured out from the get-go!

Taking photographs in nature is a wonderful, fun way to work on my patience.  When holding a camera so close to a subject in order to get a super close-up, I have to practice my breathing techniques.  This not only helps when taking the actual shot but it helps to remind me to slow down and wait for my opportunity.  A missed shot means more patience practice and a need for deeper relaxation. I’m not going to lie, I was delighted that I waited it out and got the shot of this bug.  I only wish you could have seen it, too.  He truly was magnificent!

Patience is my SOMETHING WONDERFUL for today.

Love Ingrid x

Empowerment Through Mindful Living

Empowerment is not a topic I often reflect upon

Last month, I wrote an article for Nabalo Magazine.  They offered a number of topics that I could write about and I found myself drawn to the concept of empowerment.  It is not something that I often consider.  As a middle aged person, I feel I have been learning all along my journey how to empower myself and others.  By no means am I an expert at this but I wondered as my fingers brushed the keys if empowerment were truly a priority for me.

It brought up a whole series of questions for me.  Is finding a silent state and moment of calm my way of finding my inner strength?  Does writing about challenges I face through my illness strengthen me from the inside?  Does finding positive ways to handle adversity give me the strength I need to face the next hurdle?

Empowerment Mindful Living
Today is the day!

I’m pretty darn sure, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, that you know where this one is going….

Is what I do ’empowerment’?

As I wrote, I realized, that my meditation flowers that I reach to for guidance each morning, are my form of empowerment.  I gain confidence and resilience through watching them each day as we evolve together.  Using flowers is my assurance that even if I am feeling very unwell, that I’ll have a bright spot in my day (this is often enough to at least get me out of my bed).  More often than not, though, my garden walk helps me to build my strength to face the day.  Another example of gaining energy and motivation from inside myself.

Writing about and sharing my challenges, and connecting with others, helps me to build a fortress of resolve for that day when my thoughts may choose to turn their back on me.  Finding purpose during adversity is teaching me that darkness and light really do have to exist at the same time.  Gratitude is helping me to understand that I have abundance no matter my areas of lack.

So, today is the day.  The August edition is being published ‘for real‘ and I am in it.  I feel exhilarated, and excited, and truly grateful.  I am both proud of my accomplishment and terrified to send it out into the ether!

I also feel empowered!

Love Ingrid x

#nabalolifestylemagazine

I would love for you to read and share the article on their site at http://nabalo.com/the-magazine/

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Nabalo Website : http://nabalo.com
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Thank you always for your kindness.

5 Morning Wishes To Start (or Restart) Your Day

Can you make Morning Wishes a part of your day?

I recently came up with a simple list of Morning Wishes that I could make when I am feeling particularly in need of feeling at peace with my day.

Recently, I woke up completely discombobulated.  I could tell I was not myself at all right from the moment my feet hit the floor.  I had been awakened many times during the night with my mind out of sorts.  Random thoughts were coming.  Bad dreams or at least the feeling of the leftovers of a bad dream.  Too hot in the night…and then, of course, too cold.  Dog sounds waking me.  A car racing in the night down the street.

When I awoke, I felt disgruntled and not well-rested.  I was grumpy.

It’s not as though I haven’t felt grumpy before in my life.  Very rare, though, for me though, is to feel this out of sorts upon waking.

I tried to lie back down and say my affirmations.  I was half-hearted…I admit.

I thought a glass of water would help.  I sat quietly on my own.  I slowly drank down the water and felt a little better…but I was agitated.

I spoke particularly carefully.  I was cheery…if you can’t be happy then fake it until you feel happy.

Out to the garden for some therapy.  Coffee in hand, I headed out to my urban sanctuary. My little piece of verdant heaven.  I sat, listening for bird song.  I breathed.  I sat.

Grumpy.

I asked myself to choose an activity that would help to bring me back to peace.

For some crazy reason, everything I chose was making me more irritated.  I tried blogging and ran into nothing but technical difficulties (4 hour delays to fix the problem kind of difficulties).  A craft activity that I was trying to finish went out the door so I headed to the craft store to work it out.  Got home with renewed excitement and dashed again.  On and on, all day long, I seemed to be blundering along at everything I tried.

Ugh! What a day!

I decided, for the next day to have a hope at getting off on the right track, I would write myself a list of 5 Morning Wishes to get my mind set on a better path.

5 Morning Wishes
5 Wishes

I hope they can help you too…if you are ever having the kind of day when you just wake up grumpy.

Love Ingrid x

The end of my day was much better….maybe just writing the list made all the difference.

 

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