Many of our guests at Billabong Retreat come to escape the busy-ness of life and restore more balance into their world. Often guests ask something along the lines of ‘how can I slow down when everything around me is so busy?’
First of all it’s important to acknowledge that our world is at an all time high in terms of busy; workloads have increased for many across the globe; technology has paved the way for more productivity but has also meant that we are feeling more stressed than ever. Even when we have down time, many of us feel the need to be switched on – casually opening our up our phones and computers to ‘tick off’ a few more emails and texts; check our calendar; book in that appointment, and then suddenly our leisure time has evaporated into more doing.
In the book, ‘Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much’, author Tony Crabbe notes that we are living in an ‘infinite world’. There will always be more emails to sort, more meetings, more life admin to do, more ideas to follow up – and unfortunately in an era of mobile digital technology at our fingertips, there is an expectation for us to be in a constant state of productivity. We have a habit of overloading tasks and to do lists, even our social lives can become a sense obligations to schedule in and tick off. Overwhelm, has very much, kicked in for many of us. We now sense a societal pressure to “do it all”, at work and at home, which is not just challenging; but rather a mathematical impossibility with only a finite amount of time. In our addiction to busy-ness, our days tend to operate on mindless auto-pilot.
So how do we move past the busy to reconnect as a human being rather than a human doer? Mindfulness is an incredible practice and technique to help bring about focus, clarity, and connection. When we can practice mindfulness on a regular basis we move past the busy.
WATCH: Mindfulness expert, Jon Kabat Zinn speaks with Oprah about what mindfulness is and how we can make it a daily practice:
Three top tips for a mindful practice – no matter how busy your day may be:
1. Make normal tasks mindful. This may mean rather than shoving down your breakfast; rushing through your shower; and numbing yourself out to the radio on your commute to work. You could make all of these activities mindful. Savour the tastes and textures of your food, notice the colours and smells. Notice the nuanced sensations of the water as it falls upon skin in the shower; tune into your breath. As you commute to work observe all that is around you, resist the urge to judge the traffic; simply acknowledge it is there and let your mind move to the next thing to observe.
2. Go for a (technology free) walk. Tune in to all of your senses. What can you hear? What can you smell? Notice how your feet move on the earth as you walk. Paying attention in the present moment provides a space. How do your feet feel on the ground? What do you smell? What do you hear?
3. Meaningfully connect with people. Pay attention to the people you interact with on a daily basis: from the person at the checkout to your work colleague and the people closest to you. Offer a smile to someone; intentionally look at someone as you speak with them; listen mindfully in conversations.
The point is not to stop the doing, life will forever be busy if we allow it.
The point is simply to integrate mindful moments into your day to become more present, and as a result, more calm and connected.
About the Author
Heather Sunshine, Retreat Host
Heather is a multi passionate dreamer and doer on a bold mission to empower others to step up to their highest potential without the waffle and with a whole lot of real. Heather is a yoga teacher and holistic wellness coach that has set up The Luminous Life to inspire clients to illuminate the body, mind and heart to wake the soul. She oozes infectious optimism and is a massive life inspirer, keeping it real in a world that often gets lost in the superficial.
She wholeheartedly believes in people’s innate ability to create their world the way they want and provides a framework and support to do this in a way that is intuitive and unique to each student.