Something dawned on me the other day when I was leading a group of people on a challenging hike up a mountain in LA. As we walked up the slope it was getting hotter and steeper and some decided to give up and turn around. Others committed fully and worked through the struggle, and it became obvious to me how important it is to stay focused on the present moment.
When we were at the bottom of the mountain I wanted to ask everyone to look up at the bridge right at the top, and point out that that was where we were headed for. I knew if I had done that though I would risk some of the team thinking that the goal was too ambitious and turn around before even trying, so I didn’t say anything and instead allowed the journey to simply unfold. When we got to the last bit, which I admit was very steep, I reminded everyone to stop looking at the goal at the top and instead bring their awareness back to the present moment simply by repeating one, two, one, two, with each step forward. Keeping the focus on that meant that before we knew it we were at the top of the mountain and could finally see the mesmerising view.
The point I’m trying to make is that when you’re working towards a specific aim (whether that’s a weight loss goal, a certain distance you want to run or anything else), remember that at times it will feel tough and it may even feel like the goal is completely out of view. However, by taking step-by-step action towards your target, scheduling exercise in to your routine and committing yourself to doing it you will eventually get there. However hard it feels, you can do it!
Try this: mindful eating
Mindfulness can be incorporated into everything that we do, including eating – and while this may seem peculiar at first it is actually very helpful. Many of us are guilty of multitasking these days – even when we eat we will be answering emails, texts or flicking through social media but if you don’t have time to meditate daily then I urge you to try to include mindfulness into the experiences you are already doing, like eating your lunch. You will probably find that you may get fuller quicker or you will at least notice when you have eaten enough. You will also become aware of the feeling of having done something nurturing for yourself. You may feel calmer and more energised, ready to tackle the rest of the day with a fresh perception.
1. Put your phone aside and turn away from your computer. Allow this time for you and your breakfast, lunch or dinner.
2. Begin by observing what you are about to eat, thinking about where it has come from and then considering how it’s going to nurture you and your body.
3. Start eating, taking your time, really tasting each mouthful and giving the meal and your body the mindful attention it deserves.
Eat with intention by Cassandra Bodzak
The front cover of this book definitely had me at first glance. When I saw it on display at the meditation studio I work at and spotted the delicious bowl of blueberries on the front cover, I went straight for it and immediately started flicking through it. To my delight I soon realised it was written by my lovely colleague Cassandra! There are so many helpful tools in this colourful book that will gently guide you to improve your relationship with food and make healthy choices for yourself and I love it. I’m already working my way through all the recipes and although all the featured dishes are healthy and plant-based, they are by no means boring or tasteless, in fact quite the opposite. Each recipe comes with a helpful meditation or visualisation too, which really encourages the mind-body element throughout.