40 Trips Around the Sun: What I have learned thus far...
Photo credit: David Starr
May 22 marked my fourth decade in this current earth suit and as the grey hairs highlight their earned position on my skull, I decided to not let this birthday fly by without pausing to reflect on what I have learned thus far as we hurtle through space.
Our lungs grow accustomed to shallow breaths in a world focused on the rush. This disconnects us from ourselves and the peace found within. Breathing deep and focused bridges the gap to our consciousness. It stills the mind and soul in an era of noise and chaos. Ancient yoga breath work aids the natural healing process of our physical bodies and cultivating a deeper connection to Source or God. Inhale with intention. Exhale with purpose. And you will discover one of the biggest game changers in your life. As Buddhist monks say, "Meditation is your breath."
"Difficulties come when you don't pay attention to life's whisper. Life always whispers to you first, but if you ignore the whisper, sooner or later you'll get a scream." - Oprah Winfrey
I don't know about you, but my life has revealed that I hear what I want to hear. I hear with the filters of my own insecurities and fears, my beliefs and my stories. Sometimes and oftentimes, this is the complete opposite of what is being communicated, and there lies a difficult chasm. The space between what is being said by my soul, my body, my loved ones, and so on. When my body says "I need more rest" or "I'm thirsty", the past year I have been listening better than the previous ones. I used to see rest as a weakness. And now, finally, after all this time, I can see its remarkable strength.
Release All Expectations.
Growing up in a world of Disney, we have certain expectations of how life will unfold and if you have been around long enough, you will see that life has curveballs that no one can prepare you for. I used to be so focused on the future and goal driven that I lost sight of being present with each day. Present with my breath. Present with my children. Present with my current canvas, rather than planning the next.
By relinquishing all expectations of how my paintings will turn out, I enjoy the process of creativity all the more. By letting go of societal expectations on what my life "should" look like, I live with a freedom and peace that is radical and life altering.
Embrace The Season.
I have learned to not only recognise the season at which my life is currently in...which at this present moment is winter. Completely unreflective of the colder Sydney mornings, and fully due to the personal and professional state of my current existence. I use to run as fast as I could through the metaphorical and physical winters of life. The loneliness, the deafening silence, the hibernation, I avoided it at all costs.
To make matters worse, I used to try and increase my productivity and paint on a smile during the harshest winters of life, which, if you have attempted something similar, you will know all too well that this merely prolongs the length in which your winter season continues to linger.
Embracing the seasons of life means that I see the beauty and purpose and need for each season in its turn. Am I grateful and zen every day of each season? Hell no, that's why I am writing this ramble, to remind myself when I have forgotten and am throwing a tantrum to take a deep breath and face the storms of life head on.
Thank you to all the healers and creatives, mystics and gurus for supporting my journey with your wisdom.