How to be fully focused, present, yet recharged.
How much do you see, how much do you miss, and what is down time in this busy world?
2016, is the Chinese fire monkey. It will be a busy and fast paced year of people sifting through what does and doesn’t work in love, life, relationships, community standards, and in people’s relationship with their living environment and lifestyle. In the last week and weekend of the Wood Goat year we found a male “pick up artist” who teaches frustrated blokes how to pick up women, and ironically advocates legalising rape in the home. Born in the year of the goat, he had organised in the last stages of the goat year, a meet up of men “like him.” (Read as publicity stunt on a global scale to sell more of his books, ideology, and try gaining more members). In further irony, he cancelled his ‘meet up’ after announcing he could no longer guarantee the “safety” of men attending the events for a group whose public face advocates legalising rape… I had a number of women ask me what to do as they were afraid of going out on that Saturday night and my answer was simple.
I said that “In his twitter post, that man showed a flight itinerary to Australia from the US, but on it there was no “amount paid” it only showed subtotals.” When the ladies asked me what I meant by that I answered “I bet the guy lives at his mum’s house and hasn’t bought the tickets at all yet, and he won’t be coming here.” You see all this media hysteria over a dude who lives with his mum, who while not personally a threat, his ideology does and it also asks us as a society where our discernment is. For me this was a simple observation to make, but for these women they were genuinely scared. The internet can discourage objective, critical thinking and discernment, and while it is holds vast volumes of information, not all use it to its full capacity.
When the man in question was later exposed by Anonymous, he complained how they unfairly showed his whereabouts to the internet and brought his mother and sister into danger, by exposing his phone number, date of birth, address, and so on. The irony continued in that he had in the past openly advocated his group members doing the same to female journalists who stood up against him. And all this happened on the same weekend as the Trans Pacific Partnership was signed by 12 member nations in New Zealand, and it went largely unnoticed by the masses. But, the goat year can be subtle like that. With the goat, as with the monkey in other ways, there is always what you see and what you don’t.
The Monkey Chinese year arrived on Monday 8 February, and brought with it scorn for the Gemini Goat man who hadn’t read his astrology about the life lesson of Gemini being that ‘one must be careful of the impact their words have upon others lest their words come back to bite the speaker.’
And being a life path number 1 and a 14 day of birth, I guess he is doing his astrological and numerological journey the hardest way possible. This guy who is very critical of women, lives in his mother’s basement. And so, the scary spectre of Thursday’s global news of Neolithic manosphere meet up, was by Monday am exorcised self-created scapegoat. And representative of the small percentage of disenfranchised blokes who are afraid of women having rights. Having been reduced to a laughing stock by Anonymous’s revelations, and some female boxers from Toronto, the goat man and many like him will go underground for a while at least. Who ever said Pan doesn’t have a sense of humour was missing the entire point. This 9 Monkey year is all about endings, and asks us to look within at some of the harder questions in what patterns we want to continue and what we don’t. For example, how are we raising our boys and men and their attitudes towards women that groups like that find the mainstream media, groups of men who feel their only way to feel powerful is to make women unsafe. I don’t mention his name as I give no credence to him, but I do answer how the energy has played out over the last few months and our topic of catching your breath in mentioning what I have.
Life and world events certainly have sped up for many people over the last two decades, and issues like our year of the goat male and his group in the last week and weekend of the goat wouldn’t have in past decades gained anywhere near as much media traction as this issue did. Things happen quickly and globally now, where once stories and media fact checking was done prior to a story going to air, not in the wash up afterwards like this now is.
As a society, our connection may now be instant, but the depth of that connection can often be quite superficial. It seems that with the turn of the century we went from jobs and issues of the world that we left to go home, to now jobs and world issues that travel with us and in our pockets 24/7. While the internet has the power to change the world, more often than not people use its vast possibilities to share cat videos. Or want to kill ‘Be like Bill’ statuses. But at times we can also come together as a global community, to say a big “no” to unacceptable ideas, such as the highly conflicted year of the goat person I mentioned above. But how do we get away from the noise of this world without losing touch with it? How do we care without being unduly influenced by others and events? Does switching off have to mean the tv news?
Having completed over 15,000 private consults for clients around the world since 1995, and running a weekly psychic radio show, writing for this blog and articles elsewhere, as well as having appeared at 30 public events in 2015; I guess you could say time, personal space, and energy management is essential to my continued work. How I manage to stay on top of world issues yet sufficiently compassionately detached presents a challenge of its own, but is it achievable.
So how do I slow down?
While I am known in my industry for being crazy busy a lot of the time, and I am on the go most of it, I treat my down time as sacred. My enforced protection of my personal boundaries and time off balances out all the time and energy I give to help others six days a week. Down time doesn’t mean I stop caring about the world in all its beauty and at times ugliness, it just means I disconnect from it all for one day of each week. I don’t speak on that day as my work centres around talking and listening every other day.
The heart chakra energy is recharged when we let the lung chi rest from speaking and expressing. This is why you see the increase in popularity of “silence retreats” where people go to not speak for days on end. By not speaking you give the lung and heart energy the space to recharge and you literally catch your breath. I do that just of that one day of each week, and it’s when I give myself the space from the world in that time in order to continue to re-engage ongoing.
I also use a variety of other techniques, some of the concepts of which I will share here with you.
How to catch your breath and get to get your down time sorted:-
Not surprisingly the popularity of non – wifi holiday locations has increased as people choose more and more to disconnect from our highly connected world in the same time as wifi being everywhere else and also being popular with those who don’t wish to reboot their own energy off grid. People now also experience FOMO, or ‘fear of missing out,’ to do with posts on social media and updates they might miss if they were to disconnect from their devices. However if you can get a few days away from social media, it is amazing how much clearer your thinking can be.
The mind controls the body but the breath controls the mind
Shallow breathing can be a side-effect of anxiety, and it can seem a bit vice-versa as a symbiotic pairing. But no one can argue that if you stop and take a deep breath or three, and just breathe, it can give you the chance to slow down for a moment. A moment can be enough to restart in a flash of clarity. And, clarity can then open a world of possibilities. You can slow down for even just a few moments, and combine that with a walk in nature, swimming, or just sitting and focusing on the in-and-out-breath. Breath and the diaphragm play a large part in singing, and vocal expression, as well as relaxation. For those who need to voice themselves more, vocal coaching and singing lessons can help train your breathing and your confidence through the power of your own voice. Voicing your feelings helps reduce the uncertainty on a topic in your life that you may have felt too anxious to express your true feelings and thoughts about. Some people even feel good just singing in the shower for another example.
Jogging can also be a relaxation technique that relates to breath, because once you go into the “zone” it is a meditative space where your breathing becomes central and can be rhythmically in time with each step. Drumming can also help for those of you who are not able to sit still meditating without some form of distraction. If you are unable to sit and meditate, anything that distracts the part of the brain that controls the analytical and doing side will enable the being side to rest. So, this kind of exercise also includes drawing, painting, pottery, craft, colouring in. I have been known to mediate while washing the dishes but I recommend keeping the sharp objects out of the sink and waiting until you are back to normal awareness before washing those, or operating heavy machinery.
Managing your emotional responses and your psychic energy
Have you ever noticed that talking to some people makes you feel alive, yet with others you can feel like you are slowly slipping into increased lethargy? Sometimes that happens because you are dealing with an incompatible energy. It can also be a time to assess which people and interests are life giving and which are life draining. The term emotional vampire came from this concept of people literally draining your energy, often they may not have a clue this is the effect of your interaction.
And, sometimes people bait you for an emotional reactions for example, “I hope you weren’t offended” is an interesting intention. Sometimes it is said in a tone that indicates they have assessed that what they have said should have been sufficiently annoying or hurtful for any reasonable person to react out of feeling offended. The thing is the more you realise people’s actions have more to do with them than ever reflective of you, the less you will react, and the more you move forward without their baggage.
A good soak in a bath, or the sea water is great for clearing the mind and energy space of any stuck energy left over from people’s projections you may have taken on board. Just remember the harder they try to convince you of something, the more they may be trying to convince themselves. Don’t buy into that. Also, closure doesn’t always mean you having the last word. Sometimes closure is in their action being such that you choose to let that go…without having to have the last word.
Sometimes people who have said or done some pretty rotten things have said “Oh, I feel bad now,” and it can be odd watching them then expect you to say, “there, there, you are blameless, here’s a million dollars for your trouble.” Sometimes people need to address that bad feeling which may simply be their own conscience trying to get a word in, not some bad energy from elsewhere. Sometimes it’s the self that needs addressing, don’t make people feel better for doing awful things, but at the same time, if you are attracting the same pattern in people’s behaviours over and again, it’s time for you to look at what you are doing that makes them feel they have permission.
Managing your time
Are you getting the most out of your time, or are you procrastinating? The more procrastinating you do, the more you wind yourself up emotionally with the dread of “I have to do that, but I don’t want to.” Sometimes the greatest area of energy waste is through uncertainty and fear of an undesired answer being the answer and truth. Having a clear answer even if unpleasant, gives you the ability to move forward without doubt. This can help you achieve more calm because while elation or disappointment can follow a conclusion or result to anything, at least an answer is known and not left wondering.
I also find it’s always the busiest person in the office that gets piled with more work to do, and if they don’t put a value on their energy and effort, then others often don’t reward them either. If you say you are happy to help, but you also state your terms, you are more likely to get it. And if you are always being asked to be available when you really need down time, it can be easier to say you have an appointment. No one needs to know that your appointment is with yourself. Your appointment could be to go to sit by the beach and just watch the waves crash and take in that salty air in order to freshen and clear your mind, heart and energy. Just make sure you turn off your location settings on your phone before you go. Try it next time.
Stop beating yourself up and focus on what matters
How do you speak to yourself? Is this reflected in how you speak with others?
Do you focus on going over and over what you did wrong?
Or do you focus on how to fix what went wrong, and then how to stop it from happening again, complete with an action plan?
This Chinese monkey year demands our focus, by challenging us with distraction in order to decide what to focus on. A lot of high achieving women I know are often hardest on themselves. It’s important to stop apologising or making yourself small, or going over and over issues that are long since finished. If people say you are too direct, ask them if they would still considered what you said too direct if a man had said it.
Working on being focused will give you a lot more peace, and allow you to slow down, because your words, energy, and time will be utilised more clearly and directly, and be better received when balanced with tone and timing.
This year, especially, choose to focus on the point at hand, and listen to how you speak. Are you focusing on what you are there for? Or are you drifting, justifying, or deflecting from the issues at hand. If you can encapsulate your purpose and message in 30 seconds, chances are you are ready to make a success out of it because you have a well thought out, felt out plan and way of presenting your message.
Managing personal boundaries
Don’t be afraid to say “not now.”
I once was asked by a man sitting at my table at a charity ball to do a reading on the spot for him. I said that was fair only if we could do an exchange, and that because I could see he was an accountant, I had already brought all my book keeping and receipts for my quarterly bas statement to the evening and had them in my car. I continued that surely he wouldn’t mind doing a quick quarterly BAS activity statement for me in exchange, and we could just lay all the books out on the table. He smiled, gasped, was an accountant, and asked for my business card and was told to call in the morning. Don’t feel you owe anyone anything except common decency. Know who you can tell what, and what lines to draw.
Being fully present where and when it counts
Discerning when you need to be fully present, and what do you need to avoid being dragged into.
Are you wasting your time on the wrong people and concerns and leaving yourself short where you are genuinely needed?
One of the most famous zen quote goes “When walking, walk, when eating, eat.”
To slow down and get time to yourself, first think about how fully present you are in each activity where you really are needed. If you are fully present where, when, with and for whom you are really needed, you save essential energy to then be clear enough to be present for yourself when you need to be present only for yourself. When you spend time with yourself, it is best placed being with you, not with the angst of all the others whom you feel a lack of completeness with, and so being fully present helps you become more effective, decisive, clear-minded, and more comfortable about your actions in the moment you make them. By doing things once and well with others, your quiet time isn’t spent mulling over how you should have done things differently, as there is little to no regret or emotional charge about situations while you sit with yourself. An exercise to use here is to sit and chew your food while eating without simultaneously reading a book, watching tv or other distractions for one example. Try doing what you are doing without other distractions going on around you.
It is also best not to live in the past, regretting what you missed out on or didn’t do. Draw a line in the sand, taking across the line anything that serves your higher purpose, and leaving behind that line any attitude or old pattern that isn’t helpful to you. Recognise and note what behaviours or patterns you are leaving behind so that if that pops up again, you can address it consciously in that moment. If you are dwelling too much on what others have, do, or are, you miss out on a moment of doing more toward your own journey. If you focus on others too much and negatively, some volunteering for a community group or helping the homeless may help you refocus your goals and your expectations for yourself significantly.
Remember in this year of the monkey, as a 9 year for the world, there is a lot of going within and re-examining the direction of your life, what you are investing energy into and where you want to go next. It is normal to question your choices, goals, direction and to review the past. But most of all, don’t hang onto old memories and attitudes if they have no positive or transformative place in your life. To find out what year number you are in and how this affects you, contact me for a reading and we can look at it in depth.