How can I stay in touch with myself if life keeps distracting me?
Why do I even need to stay in touch with myself?
Traditionally, January is a time for making resolutions and in general feeling internally decluttered. At least it is for me. One of those resolutions might be to foster a richer contact with myself and with Nature around me. When my awareness stops zooming around everywhere except for on me on my direct surroundings, this will enable a more vibrant and lighter way of life.
How can I improve my connection to the world? Way back, when humans lived more directly in contact with Nature, this was not a question we had to bother about. If you were not in touch with Nature your chances of survival immediately decreased. Nature got in touch with you. I would never want to change this mostly not being the case anymore. However, we pay a price for our comfortable lives: Estrangement from Nature outside and partly also from ourselves.
One important activity is spending time outdoors, in the woods, by the sea, walking, cycling, using all your senses. Another helpful measure is intentionally finding out about your deep and personal desires, beliefs, your shadow and your inner team. Yet after our forays into Nature and after each profoundly touching weekend seminar we return back into our own four walls and into the usual day-to-day life.
How can I keep important lessons alive in day-to-day life?
Physically anchoring my newly strengthened relatedness in my normal daily routines is as effective as it is simple. A place that I create intentionally and that automatically appears in my view whenever I walk past it. The makers of one of my favourite podcasts (The wonder), use a very fitting expression for a very similar concept which I hereby happily nick from them: Focus. It can be the top of a chest of drawers, a windowsill, a corner of a shelf or maybe even a pinboard on a wall. The main thing is that this place is dedicated to one specific purpose on a long-term basis and that it receives attention regularly. That it is pleasant to look at and makes me feel reconnected. That it focusses my awareness. And that it serves as a constant in my life.
The method of creating such a focus can be very individual because it is meant to speak to you personally. One component is the connection with myself, the parts of me that normally prefer to stay under the surface. Once I manage to get a caring hold of them, keeping a tangible representation of them, at least for a while, is very valuable.
A second component is a connection with Nature. This can be the area immediately around my home, a place of longing that I cannot visit often or even planet Earth itself. It if resonates with your worldview, the connection to something higher will also be a good theme for your focus, for which you will surely be inspired on how to implement it on your own. Of course, these three option can freely be combined to reinforce each other.
What does a focus look like in practice?
You could arrange a candle, things you found outside, pictures that resonate with you, respresentations of your inner team members, seasonally fitting decorations, inspiring quotes on pieces of paper or cardboard, whatever is meaningful to you, manages to condense a weekend seminar‘s lessons into a word or a symbol and strengthens your connection with the world.
The original meaning leans more towards a place for ritual activity, a kind of altar without any divine alignment. To me the meaning of a focus is less formal and closer to everyday activities. Ideally every time you look at it it reminds you of what is of substance to you. It invites you to relive the feeling of finding that seashell, the sound of the waves and the sparkling sunlight for example. Or how other things found their way into your focus. It is a bit like touching the pool walls in between swimming lanes: During those little breaks in between our daily tasks we can accept the impulse to briefly anchor ourselves to something solid.
I have created a focus, now what?
We lovingly and and appreciatively reconnect our awareness to the significance of our focus by regularly renewing, cleaning and maybe adapting it to the changing seasons. At the same time we express appreciation for ourselves and honor the value we attach to ourselves.
Of course, whenever you have time to spare, your focus can serve as a place of meditation beyond its function as a visual reminder. It can be your point of recharging that is always there for you since you installed it in your own home and regularly reload it with your attention and intention and keep it in an appealing condition.
What do you think?
Do you have anything similar installed in your home? What do you call it? How much sense do my thoughts make to you? What would you consider an indispensible part of a focus, if it was to represent your connection with yourself and Nature? Where in your home do you see a suitable spot for a focus?
My plan for 2022 is to write another series of blog posts with inspirations for acitvities around the wheel of the year. In parallel, I will keep my own focus and take notes on what effect this has on me, my attitude towards life and on my year 2022, so stay tuned!