Turning within

I’ve been feeling quite restless lately. My mind was running around like crazy and I found it difficult to see things clearly. When that happens (and sometimes it can go on for weeks), it’s always a sign for me to slow down and turn within. In the past 2 years many things have changed in my life: I started a relationship, I moved to another apartment, I quit my job and started another one. Sometimes we forget how much we cope with in a short period of time. We are moving fast-forward and go through all those changes without taking the time to digest them. After a while though, if we listen carefully, we can observe changes in our behaviour.

In my case, my body is giving me signals: I sleep less deeply, I have more cravings and digest my food with difficulty, I go in overdrive, I feel resistance to slow down and my focus is more on the outside than on the inside. A lot of people live like this thinking it’s the only way. Because they are not aware of their body signals. Because they have a crazy rhythm of work, family, sports and social life without any time to reflect upon themselves, and so on. Of course our Western society isn’t helping us to stand still 🙂 That’s why I want to share some things that help me unwind. And I would also love to hear which tools you are using.

Out of balance

I see restlessness as a form of disconnection. A moment or period that we are not connected with our inner self, our true source (or whatever you want to call it). We linger more in our head and less in our body and heart. We run around like headless chickens just to get everything done, and hope to find some peace afterwards. Simply becoming aware of that behaviour is already a huge step. Being able to say to ourselves: “Oh boy, things are really out of balance here. I feel restless, I can’t seem to relax and I’m not being gentle with myself at all.” Without any judgment. It’s not wrong to go in overdrive, it’s just something we can observe.

As human beings we will be out of balance from time to time. Learning to accept this fact, is the first thing to do. But that’s an ongoing effort 🙂 Life is full of unexpected situations and most of us want to achieve a lot in our personal life. So we don’t have to try to be a perfectionist who is ‘zen’ all the time 🙂 If we want to live fully, we will face many challenges. And it’s not a shame to be completely lost. On the contrary! If we are never disconnected, how can we learn to reconnect?

The voice behind the ‘babbling’

To me reconnecting means learning to hear our inner voice through all the ‘babbling’ of our mind’. The voice that speaks from deep down our belly without arguing or analyzing. The voice that softens our gaze, holds space for us and opens us for life in all its ways. The voice that already knows the right answer to everything, even if we’re not ready to hear it yet. We are often very strong at sabotaging ourselves 🙂 But that’s ok too. There’s no point in thinking too much about all of that. Just taking a moment for yourself is already a huge step and a beautiful gift of self care. Many people are very disconnected from who they truly are. But life will offer each one of us plenty of moments where we can choose to start exploring our true selves again.

Being with yourself

Being with yourself isn’t always easy. We’re not used to slow down and reduce outside distractions. It might take some time to find your own unplugging ritual. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different things. Know that anything that works for you, is good. And accept that there are no magic pills to take unpleasant emotions away (except for a short period of time, maybe :)). Emotions are part of us in that moment and they are there for a reason: to teach us something about ourselves. But I’ll get back to that in another blog post 🙂

For 10 years I’ve been experimenting with different methods on the path of self-awareness: mindfulness, meditation, yoga, vipassana retreats, solo travelling, spiritual books, shamanism, reiki, drumming, and so on. I’m happy to have explored all of them, but I’ve also realized that I’m the only one who can feel what’s good for me at any moment. There’s no one right theory, meditation or yoga posture that will consistently release me from discomfort. Life is constantly moving, and so are we. So dare to trust yourself and adjust your needs whenever it feels good for you.

My unplugging rituals

What works for me? Here’s my list of unplugging rituals: writing, meditating, being in nature, moving my body, drumming, resting, giving reiki, singing, dancing or doing something crazy (like screaming out loud when I’m riding my bicycle :)). When my head is full of thoughts, I mostly start writing to externalize them. And when I’m feeling restless, I go running, swimming or do some yoga. I often have to force myself into action (because the mind prefers to continue all that very important babbling :)), but afterwards I always feel better.

When we move our body, our energy circulates, and our focus automatically widens. It’s so important to create some space in our awareness, to understand that we are more than our thoughts. For that, I love being in nature too. It always helps me to step out of my head and become quiet. When I observe the stately trunk of a tree, when I see birds hopping joyfully from branch to branch, when I breathe in a vast landscape and tune in to its silence, I become calm and feel my awareness widening. Even if it’s just for a moment.

I won’t say that I’ve found all my answers after having spent some time with myself 🙂 But above all I want to honour that moment to consciously choose for myself. Because, if we only connect with others and never with ourselves, something is missing… So, celebrate that moment with you. Try to be there for yourself like for your best friend. For better and for worse, right? 🙂 I wish you all a beautiful day. See you on the path!