As we embark on a New Year, I urge you to figure out what your needs and wants are so you can set yourself up for an amazing 2018 where you feel you are thriving rather than merely surviving.
What we need and what we want can sometimes be very different so it’s important to get to the core of our individuality in order to find out what ways of being are really going to give you the type of existence where you thrive, one that enables you to do what matters to you whilst feeling at peace with yourself and the world you live in.
From my own personal experience and from working with others, there are three primary routes people can take that mark a path towards a life where they thrive – through the mind, through the body and/or through the creative spirit.
In this blog I’ll give an overview of how each of the three doorways can open up a pathway to thriving. Then it’s up to you to consider which route you might be most suited to you at this point in your life.
The mind is a malleable beast that can play havoc with our ability to feel peaceful, contented and fulfilled in our lives. As we become more self-aware, we can unpeel the layers of inner conflicts, stress, anxiety, unhelpful beliefs, trauma and pain and other challenges.
Understanding how we get in our own way mentally is critical to enabling us to make effective change and thus create an existence where we thrive. My role when I coach people is to act as a caring, supportive and skilful facilitator on that journey of self-discovery. Once we are aware, we can formulate plans to get to where we want to be, tapping into all the inner resources we already hold inside. The treasure is there waiting to be released. It’s just about finding the right key to unlock it.
Whilst the mind can be a great place to start the process of personal development, for some, the preferred route may be with the body. Physical ailments and injures play havoc with our sense of mental wellness so it is very important to take good care of the body.
Having been involved in elite sports for most of my life and experiencing the amazing highs and challenging lows that this brings both mentally and physically, my view is that yoga is one of the best ways to take care of the health and well-being of the human body for the long term benefits it offers. If the body feels good, then the mind usually feels good too and we will then find our own creativity naturally.
I embarked on the journey to become a yoga teacher to help people take care of their physical well-being. But it doesn’t stop there with yoga, the well-being of the mind comes hand-in-hand with the movements particularly as we connect movement and breath. In fact, the traditional yoga methods are primarily designed to benefit the mind through breathing techniques. Breath gives life (without it we cannot live) and effective use of inhalation, exhalation and the moments in between enables our minds and bodies to function optimally, in balance. This, in turn, enables the amazing systems in the body to do their work of turning food to fuel, removing toxins from the body and healing us from illness and enabling optimal performance.
As with the mind, there is an unpeeling of tensions and stresses that get held in the physical body. Releasing them through regular yogic movements and breathing techniques shifts us to a place of opening up both physically and mentally. From this place our natural creativity comes to the fore and we can thrive. As a yoga teacher I again see myself as a caring and supportive facilitator to my students.
For some, the best place to start the journey of self-discovery and self-awareness is through a creative pursuit. However awkward it may feel initially, with the right support and encouragement, we are all creative beings – though many try to argue otherwise! Too often our creativity is stunted by external forces and can get shut down, hidden away or buried under layers of stress, lack of confidence or lack of self-belief. This saddens me as it is where so much fun, relaxation and pleasure can be found . . . which, in turn, relaxes the mind and the body.
When I work creatively with people, I again I see myself as a facilitator to help people take steps towards finding their own inner creative spirit. My task is to get them off the start blocks so that they can then explore their creative needs in whatever way most suits them. Whilst I might paint and sculpt, the particular creative pursuit depends on the person and I am open to working in a range of creative arenas. Creativity is unique to the individual so helping others requires great sensitivity to the particular creative process that works best for that person. It may be very different from anything they were taught in school and that’s what’s so exciting about this work – how amazingly unique we all are.
Whatever your preferred route, and whether it’s with me or with someone else, I urge you to get the right support around you to create a life where you can thrive and bring your own unique talents to the world – we all have them in abundance and we all deserve to have a life where this is possible. Just like a plant needing water, light and the right nutrients, we are human beings needing the right kind of nurture to bring out the best in us.