"When we take the time to be peaceful and calm, we are given more time in return. Calmness bestows focus and thus we accomplish more by expending less."
- Aadil Palkhivala
I remind myself of these words often, but especially during challenging and turbulent times such as these. The sense of losing control, of not knowing what’s next can stir up anxiety rather easily. The key to moving beyond that anxiety is recognizing, and acknowledging the reality that we are never fully in control, nor do we know what lies ahead.
We might think that we do, but much of what happens to us we have little control over. We can’t control the actions of others, the weather, the traffic we are stuck in, or the fact that the grocery store is out of whatever ingredient we needed for dinner. The only thing that we are fully in control of is ourselves - our thoughts, our words, our actions.
So, if this is true, why do we spend so much time worrying about things we can’t change? My Grandmother had this prayer hanging on the wall by her phone.
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Even as a young child that resonated with me and I learned, over time, not to focus too much on those things I can’t control, and use my energy towards the things I can. For me, that was the first step towards living consciously and it’s been a fundamental shift in my life. Every stressful, chaotic, and turbulent time in my life has been a catalyst for change.
We've been speaking a lot about living consciously - our rituals, routines, ways of connecting, and more. For me, it’s been about maintaining a routine, connecting with my body and my spirit, and staying present to what is. At the same time, I’m very intentional about how I respond to things and how I spend my time - keeping my eyes on the goals I have.
Right now I’m taking time to learn, keep my vibes high, looking at things from a new perspective, and continuing to simplify my life. Here’s what has been working for me:
- Connecting to a routine. Sticking to a routine as much as possible keeps me grounded. For some routine is boring, but for me I find comfort in being consistent and figuring out what routines and structures work best for me.
- Connecting with my body. I have to stretch and move my body daily. Whether that is my early morning workout, yoga, bike ride, walk, or a combo of all the above, I have to check in with my body each day. It starts in the morning with my morning routine that I've tweaked a bit. I've added a workout in before yoga and stillness, but it’s become a very efficient practice that connects my routine and moving my body!
- Connecting with my spirit. Taking time to sit still in silence each day is essential. I’m constantly amazed by how much clarity I get during meditation, so I have been doubling down on it when I can. I’m also spending more time journaling and documenting this time in a journal I keep for Harris. My parents kept journals for us and gave them to us once we were older. It’s been fun going back and reading about my parents as parents, myself, and all the experiences that entail. I want to give that same gift to Harris so try to journal often for him in addition to myself.
- Connecting with nature. Living in LA and being able to go outdoors year round is amazing. The biggest way that we have been connecting to nature recently is through our food. Since we moved last summer we now have a big yard and plenty of space to garden. We are eating a ton of fresh fruit and veggies and are lucky enough to get an organic CSA box delivered from Harris’ school each week.
- Putting limits on media consumption. Giving all media (especially social) time limits. I watch the news once a day and check Instagram twice - once in the morning and once again in the afternoon. Outside of that, I try to stay focused on what is in front of me and spend my time doing tactile things like cooking, tending to plants, chatting with friends, and playing with Harris.
For me living consciously is all about turning inwards. From starting gardens to dusting off a meditation practice, you all seem to be doing the same. A big theme that's come up for me is gratitude and how important it is to remember that even in challenging times, we still have a lot to be thankful for.
What are some of your favorite ways to live a conscious lifestyle?