Here is a recent five-minute video my son compiled from the footage of our overland journey to Bali and back:
A most memorable adventure!
We highly recommend slow travel with a purpose.
In many respects, I have remained a child and often in the morning I innocently feel that anything is possible. I tend to get up early naturally, the light is usually special and the mind is calm. I day dream a little, stretch and get up with a smile – ready to play. Today, is my 17,052th birthday!
But, with this feeling of limitless potential, also comes the funnel of reality. The morning is not eternal, soon the pressures of getting ready in time, of honouring commitments and, of meeting deadlines colours the clean slate. To deal with this, I have tried many different morning routines. High on the list is exercise, meditation, morning journal, creative writing, going for a walk, showering, washing clothes by hand, planning the day and eating a healthy breakfast. There is also, the useful advice of focusing on the most important task, spending at least 25 minutes on of the task that would make the most difference. This however tends to involve the computer and I have noticed that as soon as the computer is on – a wave of distractions, temptations, time-wasters invade the morning joy… and then the day gets eaten up. When I chose to start the day well, the quality of attentiveness and wellbeing carries me through the roughness of life.
There is no secret though, to experience the joy of getting up, one needs to go to bed early and this, is an entire topic of its own.
This writing project is about discovering what matters most. ‘The here and now’ is probably what matters most, and this is where mindfulness comes in. Whether we decide to do or not do – we are.
It may not be pleasant: we may be in physical or psychological pain, we may feel stressed or depressed, we may be bored or feel constrained, and the list goes on, but we have the opportunity to look at what is. Often when one stops and faces the situation one is in, without being tainted by judgment or by what should be, our perception changes. If we stop being the victim of thought, then even the most uncomfortable situation can become a learning opportunity. Very often, a simple solution arises or a feeling that things are not that bad after all. This attitude is what I have come to call contentment.
There is of course a relationship between the now and the next, and as humans we have been given an amazing tool which can help us envision and predict the consequences of our acts. This I call planning. Now there is an art to planning, and I don’t claim to have mastered it, but I am curious to explore different ways to plan. Lately, I wanted to understand how to work with more definite intentions. I prefer to use the word intention rather than ‘goal’, for in my view it can lead to seeing the future as a win-lose game. As well as giving direction, intentions gently influence attitude.
Is it possible to plan with an open mind, to be guided by a continually changing reality and to ask ourselves what matters most without answering the question? I have started to practice this by simply stopping and asking: “what matters most?”. I then watch and listen to my whole body and my thinking mind for reactions and try to see what makes me want to move, and unless it is utterly crazy, I give it a go. It may not be what matters most, but usually, it is in tune with myself, others and my surroundings. Most often, it is responsive to my needs or the needs of others.
This morning, I asked myself the question of what is the most important task today and realised that Creating this website was what mattered most to me at the moment. Instead of writing new material, I decided to revisit articles that I had written last year while in Bali. Rewriting may be as valuable as writing if it is done mindfully.
As an experiment, the next few blog posts are going to be an extended exercise in rewriting.
That’s it, I am live. I am online and feel like the Little Prince when he landed on Earth. On one hand, Planet Web seems so vast and so empty and on the other, it seems relentlessly busy. It is difficult not to be affected by the stream of traffic. News, social feeds, campaigns, videos oozing out of tubes, information, mis-information, advertisements ticking back and forth, and click here buttons everywhere – with little clarity as to what we are looking for. Is it possible to stop and to stare out of the train window like a carefree child?
Welcome to you, the reader leafing through these lines. This is the first blog post of project Breangelo – the intention of which is to inspire and to explore the changes we want to see in the world and in our own lives – one breath at a time. Most importantly, it is about the challenge of acting upon that change. Your life is perhaps your most powerful message, so I invite you on this transition journey not only to be the change, but to breathe it.
So let’s start with the breath. As babies we most probably breathed well, but somehow as we grew up we may have be thrown out of kilter and adopted poor habits. Breathing is mostly unconscious, yet when one pays attention to the breath it can bring us back to the present and to a child-like alert quality. Most of us have forgotten to breathe properly. I would like to invite you on a brief learning journey towards skilful breathing once again. It may surprise you how powerful it is.
Tomorrow, I will show you a simple little exercise that could become the first step to a more aware and vital you on this transition journey.