It was a real pleasure to have a “Living Mindfully” chat on Instagram with Cheeway on Monday.
I met Cheeway at the Meaningful Weekend organised by Teachers Teach Teachers a month ago. We were both speakers. It was nice to cross paths with her. I watched her talk about “Inquiry based learning” which brought me back in time to a science teacher who was extremely forward thinking and inspirational. Mindfulness fits in well with the concept in terms of curiosity in the approach to life.
In this pandemic situation and in this moment of lockdown it really feels both key and relevant to devote ourselves to some self-care, build resilience and learn from the experience. This live chat has been a very thoughtful idea for teachers rushing into their lives. Mindfulness can be a shelter and refuge in these unprecedented times.
I can also sympathise with it. “Rushing” seems to be the norm in London and it has been a key word in my routine in the hectic pace of London life. I see this challenging time as a moment of transformation, a chance to be the best version of ourselves. Living this with togetherness, but also building resilience.
I have always been a massive language lover and English has always been my favourite subject at school. I got a chance to study James Joyce in literature and I loved the concept of “stream of consciousness, the mind wandering. Precisely three years ago I was diagnosed with a vertigo and I explored Mindfulness back then.
Cheeway was also very wisely reflecting on these tough times as a chance for growth, learning in this situation of isolation, working from home, being very often confronted with our own emotions. Hence the importance of a balanced life. Life changing events are part of it and the way we respond to them can be very important. If we are equipped with the tools to effectively tackle this, learn how to embrace it, we will be more likely to be stronger. I was sorry to hear about Cheeway’s collaborator in Vietnam and the life changing events in their life. It was however really heart-warming to hear that it worked well between the two of them despite the time zone difference. It is beneficial to accept the fact that there are things that are out of our control. We can be gentle and kind to ourselves and to others, so that life and interactions are smoother. It can make a real difference.
Cheeway commented on the fact that meditation can be helpful but sometimes there are toxic situations which make us feel drained. We do not really have neither the time, nor the energies to meditate. Awareness is an important stage in this case and it is the very start for changes. Starting to embed small habits over time. Productivity, procrastinating, balance can be involved, too.
In terms of procrastinating there are a few types of it, depending on each of us, our background and personal experience.
We are all geared for love, connection, meaning, purpose, safety and variety.
Perfectionism can be part of the procrastination process. Perfectionists want to be valued and be safe and so they can be over thinkers. Underlying there are some self-esteem issues. Pomodoro technique can help them. The concept was created by the chef Francesco Cirillo. It highlights the breaks that it is beneficial to take during tasks. Even short breaks are key in productivity. In addition to that, celebration of small achievements can be helpful.
Dreamers are very optimistic and underestimate the complexity. In this there is some need of variety. We all have tasks to carry on and we want to accomplish them successfully in order to feel happy and rewarded. It is necessary to be realistic about the tasks.
In worriers, the trigger stems mainly from low self-esteem, various fears (fear of failure, of success of change, of unknown, etc.). It can really get them into a vicious circle and increasing sensations of pressure when deadlines approach. In this case anything that can support a feeling of calm can help this type to be balanced and productive.
I would like to highlight the importance of the breath. Everything starts from the breath. It is a natural cleanser, a real driving force. When we rush our breathing is really shallow (for energy saving reasons and survival). Breathing mindfully can make a huge difference to the response to stress.
Cheeway makes sure that she has a proper breakfast and nurturing activities. It is challenging for her not to multitask. However, she finds it that meditative music soothes her and makes her feel calmer so that she can accomplish one task. She used to be a perfectionist but more of a worrier now. The triangular way of breathing she shared and which can be effective was very interesting. There are various techniques.
Practising being mindful can certainly start in small steps depending on everyone’s lives.
Another couple of effective ones are:
- The STOP technique (Stop, Take a Break, Observe, Proceed). It is a very short opportunity to take a break to feel internal sensations and set the intention on what can be the next action for a happy and productive day.
- The RAIN (Recognise, Acknowledge, Investigate, Nurture) technique designed by Tara Brach, aims more at investigating deeper at an emotional level.
I was very grateful for this chat that you can watch here.
I would like to welcome you with a fully open heart
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