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…sometimes things don’t exactly go to plan

It feels as though not much progress has been made this week. A few years ago I’d have been swearing and getting stressed and blaming everyone for being so inefficient. But knowing that stress increases the likelihood of my chronic fatigue returning, these days I’m a lot calmer. I’m just trying to go with the flow and trust that all will turn out just fine in the end. That makes it sound so easy and of course, it isn’t. I do still have days when the frustration levels rise and the doubts about what I’m doing start to swirl around my brain. At these times my perfectionist nature rears it’s ugly head and the monkey voices keep telling me that everything will go wrong because things aren’t “as they should be”. It never ceases to amaze me how we can raise our levels of stress by overthinking, especially when it happens in the middle of the night! It becomes sooooo easy to get things out of perspective and start thinking the worst. Have you ever had those moments when you’re awake at 3.00 a.m. contemplating all the jobs that you need to get done the next day. And you convince yourself that no way are there enough hours in the day to meet all your deadlines and complete everything on that dreaded to-do-list. But when tomorrow finally comes, those same chores that were going to take at least 2 hours each are completed, well, in about half an hour?! Our brains do like to play games with us.

I have three main ways that help to shut up the monkey chatter, keep me calm and let me prioritise what I need to do each day. I meditate every morning – just for about 20 minutes unless it’s the weekend when I manage a longer time. If I’ve got some big stuff going on in my life, I will use the meditation time to focus on the issue at hand. I often find new and novel ideas pop into my head to help me resolve the problem or find a new approach. I know, that’s not really what “proper” meditation is about, but it works for me;) And I don’t do this every time I meditate…

 

Meditation to calm the head

Photo by Samuel Austin on Unsplash

 

As soon as I’ve finished mediating I make myself a large mug of tea and start journalling. I learnt this practice from the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I journalled religiously every day for many years. These days I do find on hectic mornings I don’t have time, but I really do try to do it as often as possible. This is where I let my brain just dump all my thoughts onto the page. Sometimes the words are uplifting, sometimes they reflect my low mood but always I find I’m full of answers to resolve my problems and I feel amazing and ready for the day once I’ve finished. And I’m only finished when I’ve written 3 pages. It’s a fantastic gift to help see the world from a better perspective.

My third approach is I go for a run. Oh OK, it’s more of a waddle as I’m new to this running thing. Starting to run properly at my age seems quite ridiculous but I love being out in nature and it’s so much faster than walking! I’m blessed to leave in Brighton Marina, so I can run along the undercliff towards Saltdean. To be honest I’ve only made it as far as Ovingdean and back but am hoping that before long I will get to Rottingdean and then finally onto Saltdean! A little bit short of the marathon that my brain keeps telling me I want to run, but who knows with practice I might just do it one day. At the moment I’m having to keep the number of sessions I do each week to two or three as otherwise I get overly tired. Hmm, another frustration as I really do feel great when I’m actually running. I do have to learn to more like a tortoise than a hare:) But despite that frustration, it does lower the stress levels – and learning to be more tortoise-like is a good thing to take into the rest fo my life too. I do have a habit of wanting everything sorted by yesterday.

So what is happening on the travel front?

Well, I’m still waiting to get the South America trip finalised. Fingers crossed it will be today or tomorrow. Because until then, I can’t plan any of my other trips. At the moment I am stuck in Crete on May 16 with no idea where I’m going after that. I suppose it’s not a bad place to be stuck and if I have a week or two to kill before I head off to Lima, I can always do a bit of island hopping. I really shouldn’t be complaining!

The good news is I have found a meditation retreat that I really like the look of in Spain. I’ll share more details once I know I can definitely go there. The mediation retreat will be some very personal me-time, although how I’ll cope being silent for 10 days will be a revelation to anyone who knows me, including myself!

And the really exciting news is that I’m off to Palma tomorrow for a long weekend with the girlfriends!! The cousin of my friend Janet, the one I’m going to South America with, has an apartment just outside Palma, and we’re off for some winter sun and a bottle or two (or ten!) of Cava. A bit of a cheat holiday before the main event

Fingers crossed that South America is booked by the time I write again. So my action points haven’t changed:

Action points for this week

  • Finalise the dates for South America – where are we going and when are we going there?!
  • Book my meditation week in Spain
  • Decide where else to go in August and September

Count Down

64 days to go – ooh lots to sort out yet!

Wherever your travels take you, travel safe

Philippa x