Over the last few weeks I haven’t been practicing yoga. I had been in a really good routine of practising for fifteen minutes before bed and meditating for ten minutes twice a day. Starting a new job and now having an arthritis flair up (thanks British weather), it has all fallen away. But not completely. I am still aware of what yoga and meditation can do, how it can calm and focus the mind, I am still consciously working towards getting back on the yoga mat, even if that isn’t going to be today or tomorrow…but perhaps in a few days or next week, definitely next month!
I have also started reading some ‘meaningful’ things alongside my other books (yes fiction and travel writing have meaning, but I’m not sure what else to label these books). Reading books about Jesuit theology or meditation practice or memoirs by successful people, they all bring something, they make me feel as though I am learning and growing with only the effort it takes to read half a chapter and then reflect on what I have read.
Then I had a very meaningful conversation with my writing mentor, Jenn. We were discussing how to structure the editing process. Editing is always where I fall down. I have written numerous books, but somehow never get round to editing and perfecting them before another wonderful idea distracts me. Jenn has suggested creating a list of things to work on and keeping a writing journal to track what I have done in each session, how I think it went and what I want to do next.
For a while now, I have thought about keeping a gratitude journal. However, as someone used to writing with the aim of being read, I have felt a little self-concious about putting on paper the cheesy things I am usually thankful for – my dog being so blummin’ cute, the way the sun shines in the mornings, spending time with my family. But, I have decided to combine a thankfulness diary with a writing journal.
Every (most) day I am going to keep track of something I’m thankful for, something I have done that I’m happy about, something I have achieved in my writing, what I want to write tomorrow and something I want to do for my own wellbeing tomorrow. This way I am trying to strike a balance between self-care and ambition. Between wellbeing and determination. Between career and creativity. I think it’s important in a world that feels constantly polarising to stop and consider how we can build a bridge between different aspects of ourselves. I want to achieve, but I don’t want to burn out in trying to achieve.
This is my own little take on thankfulness and I would love to know what daily, weekly or monthly practices you have to keep you both thankful and focused. Also, any tips on practising yoga without putting weight on your hands would be very much appreciated too!