As we get older we tend to become fixed in our routines and habits. In many ways we need routine and habit to be able to function in society however it can also limit how we experience life. Routine and familiarity means that we revert to living on autopilot. Getting up at the same time, going through our day following the same steps we took the day before and probably everyday, it means we don’t really have to be fully aware. This is precisely why it is important to take a break from routine.
Taking a Break from Routine
Taking a break doesn’t have to be a big deal, it doesn’t have to be expensive or even take you too far out of your comfort zone. To be able to start break your routines a little you have to give up some control, you have to be able to start living more in the moment, in the flow of life. It takes time to do that, especially if you are not used to doing things that you are not comfortable with.
Why is it Important to Break from Routine?
To fully experience life, to be in the moment, in the flow allows us to experience life in a much more authentic way. When we are being more than just spectators we awaken our senses and bring life into our life.
How many times have you looked back at your life and wondered where all the years went? It can be pretty scary to see just how fast life passes. But we can slow life down by paying attention to it, to being present in our experiences and to sometimes kick it up a bit. Do something different, do something uncomfortable, take chances and yes let it flow without actually knowing what might or might not happen.
When I worked in London, I’d try to change things even in the smallest way. Take a different route to work, try a different cafe for breakfast and anything small that allowed me to carry on fulfilling my daily responsibilities but still changed things up a little.
I wanted to share a short video of photos taken this weekend. I like to just do random things, sometimes with friends and sometimes alone. For me it is a vital part of feeling life, of expanding my experiences and taking in whatever may come without any preconceived expectations. So here’s a little snapshot of a short trip to Lille in France.
I want to inspire people. I love it when someone says to me “Because of you I didn’t give up” or “Because of you I made that change!” – Anna Zannides
So perhaps I can help you see that life is more than routines, habits and comfort zones. Of course in the end, we all have to make our own choices, I just hope to help you make better decisions for you.
The more I talk with people in my groups the more I see the unresolved pain we carry from our relationships. After all we invest so much into our relationships, it’s no surprise that we become emotionally attached.
When a relationship ends, especially an intimate one, we feel like failures. Once we stop blaming others about the so called failed relationship we realise we also played a part in the outcome. A relationship that didn’t last the course is then seen as a failure, we are seen as failures and worse we start to see ourselves as failures.
If the purpose of life is to learn, grow and become the best person you can, then all experiences are lessons. A failed marriage is no more a failure than a marriage that lasts a life time, the lessons maybe different but they are all important opportunities to grow.
Some of the most successful, influential people today have overcome many disappointments to create extraordinary lives. Without these experiences would they have become who they are?
Never a Failure Always a Lesson
Sometimes we learn more from a casual encounter than from people we see, live and know for a long time. We can not measure the importance of a relationship on it’s length, after all we can only see the impact of any lessons we learn through the course of our life.
I guess the point I am trying to make here is that we should be open to life, letting people flow through without becoming so attached that we miss life’s lessons. If you have been through a painful relationship breakup, dare I say it? Yes I’ll dare, I’d say you are privileged to be given one of life’s greatest lessons. Of course you get to choose how you learn, what you learn and what you do with it but you have an opportunity to see things much clearer now.
I can certainly vouch for my own breakup being the greatest wakeup call I’ve had. Fear kept me in denial for a long time.
If you believe illusions to be real and reality to be illusions, you will never achieve inner peace.
So I say thank you for the experience, thank you for the wake up call and I’ll attempt to make the most of this one great lesson.
In this video, Oprah Winfrey eloquently talks about life and the fact that “There are no mistakes”She helps to show that life is a series of moments, however a moment is just that a moment. It’s not our life, each moment determines the direction of our journey. If we are not paying attention it may steer us in the wrong direction until we finally wake up.
Can you be brave enough to embrace even painful experience?
Can you see that these are the ones that help you grow?
This weekend I was privileged enough to stay at Samye Ling a Buddhist monastery in a remote Scottish village. I’ve been there many times before but each time I see something new and different. This weekend I was there attending a Compassion in Action retreat organised by the Mindfulness Association.
The monastery is set in a beautiful landscape of quiet and stillness. A river runs along the back creating a natural barrier between this peaceful sanctuary and the outside world.
On the first morning I got up in time to take a mindful walk along the river, it helps to ground me in preparation for the day of teaching. Silence is practiced after 10pm every evening until after our first tea break, breakfast is taken in silence. You can tell who the newbies are because they say good morning or look uneasy at not talking. Silence is part of my daily routine it no longer phases me, so I continue my walk in silence.
The Mindful Walk
As I walk along the river I see a statue of a man practicing mindfulness, he is so still that it takes me a while to work out what it is. I don’t want to disturb him so I decide to stand still and watch the river flow. I listen to it, feel it and watch what it has to teach me, right there in that moment.
It flows naturally, it knows how to just flow with little effort. However when it hits the bed full of rocks it’s flow is disturbed. It pushes on, finding a way either over the rock, around the rock or even under it but it persists until it finds a way through.
The river doesn’t stop flowing, it continues to flow through the disturbance and when it finds another rocky bed it does exactly the same.
And once it gets through the rough, rocky patch it flows gently again. It’s calm, flowing without questioning the destination or even judging what it went through, it just flows.
Looking ahead I notice two things:
I see a point where the river meets a stream. The stream rushes downhill, charging to meet the calmer settled river below. And when the two hit there is turmoil. The two directions of flow meeting, the stream wanting to find it’s space in the river and the battle goes on until the stream settles into the flow of the river.
There is no other choice really, the stream has to become part of the river for the flow to continue and while it’s battles at the crossroads, going left and right, eventually it finds it’s way. It passes and settles.
The Bend in the River
My attention goes to the bend in the river further down. I can’t see past this point, there’s no evidence that the river continues further than my eyes can see. I’m assuming it does but that’s just my perception. Nevertheless, the river continues to flow.
It doesn’t stop flowing because it can’t see what might be around the corner nor does it hesitate in fear of what might be, it gently flows with complete trust and meets it’s destiny.
I see the similarity between this river and my life, I’m guessing it’s the same for most of us?