"Life is a gift. Never forget to enjoy and bank in every moment you are in."
I am quaranting in London after my return from Germany and I had a great time, without having anything special occurred to me. My resonant weekend made me reflect, such that I would like to share my 3 main learnings with you how we can appreciate life while we are live.
Often we hustle for the next big thing, waiting for lockdown to be over, or are only happy if something will materialize - while having dreams and wishing for restrictive lockdown to end are all valid reasons, I also believe that life likewise consists of the way towards our dreams and smaller, calmer, precious gems. What I don`t want you to experience is the moment at our death bed when we realize life has gone by so fast, life has been so beautiful, but we were just rushing and not really present during all these times.
With my own happy experience during lockdown, without any real special occasions, I can share with you how I managed to find happiness while self-isolating on a sunny weekend. These are just ideas and inspirations because I trust only you know what works for you :)
1. Mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness
I love mindfulness - it has transformed my life, from relationships to work to my own inner world. Mindfulness does not only mean to be in the present moment, but also to be resilient and process our current thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness helps us hear our own voice and heart, while the world is pushing everyone else`s expectations and opinions towards us. Mindfulness, for me, is the key to life - to appreciate every present moment, to appreciate the smaller moments, to appreciate the greatest and most challenging experiences.
Often when people think of mindfulness or meditation (which is a means to practice mindfulness), people recoil believing they don`t have time for this or there is no way to quieten their mind in any way. And here`s the trick - mindfulness doesn`t take an entire retreat and mindfulness also doesn`t mean that we think nothing. Mindfulness can be practiced in every second and minute - I like to think it like going to the bathroom, we can find every 2min to recharge in our mental fitness room, too. Mindfulness also trains us to be an observer of our thoughts and emotions rather than being dominated by them, so even if our mind is still racing during our meditation or mindfulness practice, that`s alright, esp. if you can notice this with compassionate curiosity and without judgments.
So for this weekend, mindfulness has supported me to appreciate the free time I have in my flat. The free time to read a book, to work on my business, to talk to my family, to nurture my body. I tried to be in or to come back to the present moment whenever I got distracted or my mind wandered off. Digital detox can be definitely an accelerator or just having no schedule for the day. You have my permission!
2. Do something nice that is not related to your work or passions
I love my work and I love personal development. Two main areas that take much of my time and attention, esp. personal development, because we basically always develop while we are living our lives. But what was really refreshing and, thus, so pleasurable, was when I started reading novels that are not about my work or even passion at all. Admittedly, one book was about Rumi and his life ("The Forty Rules of Love" by Elif Shafak), so naturally touched upon spirituality. But I was also invited to a new world of Islam, mysticism, ancient times. It was such a nice time travel that often books can provide and which I haven`t experienced lately given I haven`t given myself permission to also just read random, but still interesting subjects.
The other novel I then read (because during quarantine you can finish a book quite quickly :-)) was "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine". by Gail Honeyman. I remember purchasing this book at the airport and seeing this novel as a British bestseller that sold millions of copies. It wasn`t clear to me what it was about, but I was intrigued to follow a single woman`s life in Glasgow, that seemed to have captivated so many people. I also remember how I started this book, got lost, and then only picked it up again when I recently returned to London from Germany. And as the book has intrigued millions of readers, so have been I, still reading this book. It shows very vividly how a single woman with a difficult childhood lives her life as an adult in an uncanny, charming, and also relatable way. It touches on loneliness, mental ill-health, and adult life that the main protagonist, Eleanor, is observing with new, curiously childish eyes.
Although one part of me, of course, sees a link between the books and personal development, it felt like travelling when you visit new places and are enriched by new people, cultures, and lifestyles. I allowed myself to chill and was rewarded by a travel experience beyond my imagination.
3. Going with the flow and loving it
This mantra can absolutely also go with the concept of mindfulness, but I would like to highlight this even more to bring this great perspective closer to you. While I was staying in my flat in London, I somehow could observe my life from the outside and although there were many challenges, disappointments, confusions, I learned to "accept" and trust that these things are in favour of me. One of my friends nicely said "Bad things are protecting me (from something worse)."
Now, I know that the word "acceptance" can come not quite easily for many people, as it can mean resignation and defeat. However, this is only one of many perspectives and you can choose which one is serving you more. I choose the perspective that with acceptance, I let go of the past (because the topics are often part of the past (or the future)) and trust that life is in favor of me and wanted to either teach me or make room for something better. I have explored in my last blog post about the different perspectives you can take even with one of the most painful and life-changing experiences.
For example, I currently don`t have a boyfriend - is this a reason I want to get desperate, anxious, or angry about? While I allow myself to feel these Saboteur emotions for release, the answer is "no". I trust that my partner will come at the right time and that life wanted me to focus on fulfilment and authenticity first, before I would give so much energy and love to another person. Another example - someone shared not so mindful feedback about one of my passion projects - do I want this to ruin my day? No, because it is their view, and life again wants to show me what it is that resonates with me, what is more important to focus on, and how I can deal with others` feedback, esp. if my projects are growing.
It is a great way of living and I can ensure it also releases a lot of resistance from your shoulders - you are basically letting go of your grip - and invites lots of joy, peace, and increased wellbeing into your life :)
Love, from me to you,
Would you like to go deeper in a free Coaching session? Let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I very look forward to hearing from you! PS: Subscribe to my #mindfulmagic Newsletter and join our #magicmonday Community events :)
Inspiration: Gail Honeyman - Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Reflection: What do I appreciate about my life?
Intention: I love my life.
Viet Linh Le is a female visionary, qualified coach with corporate experience, and multi-cultural founder of @vietnamwellbeing, with the mission to change our world by coaching the next-generation decision-makers. Find out more on www.vietlinhle.com