I will start by expressing my gratitude to those who shared with me their appreciation for my last post! Our human relationship to change and the fear that is created through our engagement with the challenges and variety that life throws at us (or gifts us, depending on your perspective!) is neither strange nor new. Many people have their lives dictated by fear-based beliefs or practices – many of which we have been conditioned to see as natural due to our upbringing/circumstance etc. However, for the first time in a long time, people are starting to recognise this trend and resist it! The cult of mindfulness and spiritual wellbeing (as I affectionately, and only slightly cynically, call contemporary health trends) is gathering members in the hundreds of thousands. Meditation has never been trendier, and past life regression clinics seem to be popping up in the least likely of places.
While I have some serious personal reservations about much of the yoga and meditation practice being sold (yes, sold) on the open market, even I must admit that this universal resurgence of interest in self-care and physical and mental wellbeing is a step in the right direction, and there are people out there doing great service in the world of healing – I extend my appreciation to them.
But, it’s all very well recognising your fears and the elements that hold you back. It is knowing what to do about it that becomes a little harder. Locating the seat of your discomfort is a huge initial step, and once you have achieved this, you are further along than you think. Now consider, where does all this healing start? It starts with you.
As many yoga classes as you attend, or sound therapy healing sessions you book, or inspirational vlogs you watch, the transformation will always come from you. By all means, go to the classes and healing sessions and massages and watch the vlogs etc. etc. if they are providing you with the support and encouragement that you need for the progression of your own journey of healing and spiritual growth. But always be in the knowledge that the answer lies within you. No one has the true capacity to transform your fears or eradicate your demons other than your own sweet self. However, please don’t take this as a call to isolate yourself. Think of your spiritual growth like that of the development of a child. The child is supported by the mother, is provided with guidance, love, and important life lessons. However, the child is the one doing the actual growing. As much support as the mother provides, she cannot facilitate the actual growth of the child, she can only nurture the conditions in which the development takes place.
The same is true throughout life. We have the responsibility to situate ourselves within an environment that is supportive and conducive to growth. However, the growth itself is totally down to us.
So what is a tool we can use to facilitate self-development and healing?
I am a real stickler about routine. Whether you are battling depression, trying to lose weight, dealing with a serious medical condition, or simply trying to have a more sustainable and supportive lifestyle, routine is your best friend.
Routine is your life raft, keeping you steady when new life stresses try to throw you off balance. It provides the parameters for the maintenance of clarity. Organisation is key when it comes to stress and burn out. Having your priorities laid out in front of you so, at times when you are completely overwhelmed, you don’t forget who you are and what your purposes are.
I find that morning and evening routine (especially morning!) are the most important elements of leading a happy and healthy lifestyle. The way in which you chose to begin your day will affect the choices you make throughout and determine what state of mind you are in when confronted with the challenges of the day.
I actually love writing out a routine (it’s the tiny bit of pitta manifesting in me)! My routine will change according to where I am and what I have going on, but essentially I always begin with cleansing myself after sleep, re-centring, and beginning sadhana. So try writing out how you would ideally begin each day, and then make a commitment to starting your day right. Use the early hours of the morning to remind yourself of your own innate strength and set yourself up to overcome those fears of what is to come. This might involve mantra recitation, gratitude meditation, or just reading your favourite book in your warmest slippers. Whatever your preference, write down your schedule and stick to it! This will bring grounding and a greater sense of clarity to your day.
As an example, I will share with you my current morning routine that I am sticking to while visiting home and doing lots of studying:
6 am: wake up, cleanse: wash, oil pull, tongue scrape, neti pot, dress – (I listen to mantra and do some pretty interesting dancing while I do all this)
6.30 am: 15mins of prānāyāma (breath regulation) to remove any stagnant air from my body and begin to stimulate agni (digestive fire) – after this I drink a large glass of warm water
6.45 am: 15mins of silent contemplative meditation (facing east – so I can see the sun rise, yay!)
7 am: 30mins of gentle movement – surya namaskar A and B (facing east)
7.30 am: read from Bhagavad Gita and drink a large glass of warm water with lemon
8 am: chant japa (prayer bead meditation) – (if it is a nice day, I may do this outside)
8.45 am: make tulsi tea and porridge – after I have finished eating, I check my phone for the first time of the day
9.30 am: begin study
Your evening schedule should be in a similar vein – a time to assimilate the events of the day, reconnect, and put all fluctuations of the mind to bed. I highly recommend a full media shutdown. Turn off all media/switch phone to airplane mode at least an hour before bed, if not two, and resist the urge to turn it back on until you have slept through the night and completed your morning routine.
Creating a routine may seem like an overly simplistic solution to deep self-healing, however creating those boundaries for yourself invites familiarity and grounding which is essential for any curative process. We spend so much of our time fixated on achievement and survival. This goal-oriented life attitude only creates distance from our relationship to Self, and it’s very easy to run through life blind folded from the workings of our innate internal knowledge. It is this spiritual disconnection that forms the foundation of fear and anxiety related dis-ease. By establishing some form of routine that is committed to the relationship with the Self, we immediately set ourselves up for a more grounded practice, and a feeling of safety and support.
So, why not have a go at setting up your personalized morning (and evening too if you are awesome) routine and witness the shift of consciousness.
Smile and breathe. Watch the sun rise and feel life’s weight shift from your shoulders as deeper knowledge and perspective melt your problems away.
P.s. I couldn’t resist sharing some of my favourite tea recipes for cultivating that greater sense of peace and clarity!
Click HERE for recipes.