Just be in the moment you say? What does that actually mean? To be in ‘the moment’? Should I be feeling something more? Something less? Should my mind stop? Should it be in hyper drive?
The first time I heard of ‘being in the moment’ I was so confused. I remember it was at the beginning of a yoga class, the teacher reminded us - if our mind started to wander during practice to ‘just’ focus on your breath and be in the moment. Now I understand focusing on my breath, I can visualize my breath coming in and out and the energy it is releasing, because breath is real. It’s a tangible item you can feel and see (if it’s cold enough that is). But living in the moment? I can’t put a visualization to this. So after seeing and hearing this saying over and over again as it has been gaining its popularity, I needed answers.
So I did what any young woman would do - I turned to Oprah :)
Oprah has a podcast called Super Soul Conversations. Oprah speaks my language. She is straight to the point with a side of sass and humour. Love that woman…anyways…back to the point. I scrolled through her podcast list and found a 10 part series with Eckart Tolle. Eckhart is one of the greatest spiritual thinkers of our time and he also speaks my language. Very clear, concise and anytime I read or listen to him you can see me doing a lot of head nodding and verbal “oh ya, totally, hmmm-hm”. He has 2 fantastic books; “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth: Awakening your Life's Purpose”. So you take the amazing Oprah and spiritual Eckart - you’ve got the best sandwich conversation for Jenny to figure some shit out.
I think that the 2 things that make us stray away from living in the absolute present moment is Worrying and Regretting. It seems near impossible to give up these two emotions as we have been feeling them our whole life. But once we understand that they are not necessities and they actually serve no purpose and do no good, we can let go of them by practicing living in the moment. The key word here is practice. Think about how many years you have been practicing worrying and regretting. Now we substitute these old habits with new habits. I’ll give you the strategies that I have used that have allowed me to come back to 'living in the moment'.
To Worry “to give way to anxiety of unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.”
We have a choice, because we have the power over our mind. When you worry, you are choosing to worry. I’m aware that many situations in life drive worry out of us, but once again, we are choosing to worry about A,B and C. We are letting the emotion of worry take over our minds and eventually our bodies. A perfect example is lying in bed at night trying to fall asleep as your mind races with to-do lists and upcoming responsibilities. We worry. Of course we worry. This is where I want you to replace this habit with a new habit. Think about what is actually real. Touch your pillow and say “this is my pillow, it is made with down feathers, the pillow sheet is made with cotton, wow it’s soft. This is my mattress, it is supporting me for my rest, this is my night stand, it is made with oak and painted with varnish to make it shiny…” I know it sounds crazy, but what this habit will create is bringing your awareness and your mind back to what is factual and what is real - NOW & HERE. That is being present. That is living in the present moment. As you practice this your habit of worrying before bed will dissipate.
To Regret “to feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that has happened or has been done.” aka the past. aka, you have no control over it now.
I’m going to repeat myself here - we have the choice to allow our minds to go to the thought of regret. I understand regret can be a part of a process, usually to morn over loss or missed opportunities, but if we change the way we view these losses and missed opportunities we will no longer feel the sad feeling of regret. We will now look at these losses or missed opportunities as lessons. Lessons that you had to learn to be the person you are right now, right here. We will not view them as good or bad lessons, just simply lessons that allowed us to move forward with life and become stronger and smarter. When you take a course in school, you learn many things. Your mind becomes wiser. Life is filled with self taught courses. We are so fortunate for this or else life would be at a stand still. The more you do, the more courses you take, the more you know, the stronger your mind becomes. The next time you’re mind drifts to a missed opportunity or a loss and the emotion of regret begins to rise throughout the body, shift the mind to what lesson you learned through this and what personality traits did you gain from this that has gotten you to here, right now, this moment.
Perhaps you're sitting on the bus on your way to work regretting a missed opportunity of a past promotion. Now bring your attention and thoughts back to the bus, where you are sitting; it’s 7:41am, I am wearing my favourite new pants, I am 42 years old, I have brown hair, the man next to me kind of smells, etc. Remember you have the power over your mind. Not the other way around. The best way to redirect your mind it by taking over, and it starts with bringing your awareness back to the present moment. It’s all about retraining your thinking patterns.
When you realize that you have the power over your mind, how you think and what you think, life will become simple. If you don’t want to worry, don’t. If you wish you didn’t regret, don’t regret. It sounds simple, and to be honest it is, the difficult part is changing your thought process habits. You cannot stop habits, you can only change them. You must replace old habits with new habits and practice these new habits until they become subconscious in your daily life.
Next time you read a meme or hear someone say “live in the now” you’ll have a better idea of what they mean, hopefully.
It was mid February 2019, the rain was non-stop, I was depressed. I was working 14 hour days running my business and I had lost my love and passion for life. I was overworked, overtired and quite frankly over Vancouver’s vibe of grey skies and rainy days. I needed something to look forward to, but I did not have the time or the desire to start planning a trip. I’ve done that and I’ll do it again as it is so much fun…but you know what, it’s not a vacation, it’s travel and travel takes planning and mental energy. I knew I needed something easy, but NOT a cruise or an All-Inclusive where I knew I would drink my face off, sit around, overeat and when I came home I would not feel an ounce better then before I left. In fact I would feel worse. I would be a few pounds heavier, I would feel run down from the amount of shit I consumed, but at least I would have a tan…still not for me. So my bestie mentioned I should go on a retreat. Laura (my bestie) has experience running and participating in retreats and it sparked my light bulb! I should do a retreat! Yes!
When I first thought about going to a retreat I went to retreatguru.com. I thought “I need a break from it all and I want to do a silent retreat. I wanted silence, I wanted good food, I wanted tranquility. I wanted endless time alone to reflect on my life, my next chapter, write in my diary, do some body work and exercise. I found a highly rated silent retreat in Mazunte, Mexico. I knew that town so I felt comfortable heading back there. I paid the money, I flew the plane, I showed up. Did I have expectations, I mean yes, isn’t that normal. Did I have high expectations, absolutely not. Being a well traveled gal that I am I know other countries have their quarks and I never expect things to be as they are in Canada.
The retreat that I booked was only 3 days long, with the option to extend to the 10 day retreat. I naturally thought I would extend as I imagined this retreat was going to be everything I needed. Day one - 7am we all showed up. There were a lot of us. We were packed into 2 rooms and no one was allowed to talk, have eye contact or physical contact. My gut was going nuts, in a bad way, but I ignored it as this was a new experience and I gave that as my reasoning for my negative gut feeling. We started with a silent mediation, then moved onto a ‘lecture’…hmmmm is this not supposed to be a silent retreat? Why are you talking to me? Am I supposed to listen to you? This is annoying. You know what the most annoying part was? I didn’t agree with a thing that this 21 year old girl was ‘lecturing’ us on. Her eyes and her whole ora was…like…brainwashy (I know that’s not a word). She was very monotone and had no passion or life in her. It was sad. So instead of listening to her nonsense I started creating stories in my head about this retreat centre. Why is everyone wearing white? Why are all the sub leaders young girls? Why do they all have zero life to them? Why is the head of the retreat an old creepy Romanian man? And then all of a sudden it clicked - There is something wrong here. Something seriously wrong. I started looking around at all the students including myself. Some were so into this lecture, almost like they were looking at this young girl as their Guru. Some were falling asleep, mind you if the leaders saw this they would nudge you awake. Some were looking around with the same freaked out look in their eyes “what the hell am I doing here”.
The gong rung. “Thank God” I said to myself “finally time for yoga”. Me being me and needing body daily movement I was pumped for yoga! Well that quickly faded as the ‘yoga’ was something I have never seen before, nor was it traditional Indian yoga. It was a series of head twitches and arm swinging. We looked like crazy people. I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t be in this retreat centre any longer. This place was messed up in so many ways. I had to get out. I had to finally listen to my intuition.
The moment we got released for lunch, I got in line, ate the food, and peace'd out! I immediately called my bestie, Laura, and puked out my 6 hour experience. She gasped when I told her all the details. Long story short, is to my understanding, many retreats turn into cult-like centres where people who are lost become found. People who need a sense of belonging and someone to follow or guide them go. I am not a follower. I am not someone who wants to be brainwashed. All I wanted was freaking silence & tranquility…So what did I do? I created my own silent retreat.
I Woke up every morning, meditated to the sunrise, wrote in my dairy, did yoga, went for runs, ate nourishing foods, had minimal socializing and guess what - it worked. It gave me passion and a love for life again. It felt unreal. I was so grateful for my intuition and I was proud of myself for listening to it. A lesson I have to relearn over and over again - your intuition is ALWAYS right, but that’s for another post. With this refreshed outlook on life I got to work. Everyday I was working with Laura via online putting so many hours into making sure Laura and I’s retreat was going to be everything that this stupid silent retreat wasn’t.
To be honest Laura had been expressing to me for months, maybe even years, prior our first retreat how much she wanted to create a retreat with me. But with my heavy work load I couldn’t foresee taking on another project. It wasn’t until I made the plan to head down to Mexico for my own stupid silent retreat, that I thought Ok - Now is the time. Let’d do this LB (Laura’s nickname). LB and I brainstormed night after night and created Salt & Soul Retreats. We were pumped so many amazing people signed up and trusted us with their vacation time and money. We were beyond grateful for the opportunity to create a perfect retreat for them.
Laura is highly experienced in running and facilitating retreats and I am highly experienced in other cool stuff ;) Together we make an awesome and well rounded partnership. The students expressed how our retreats were a perfect combo of body movement, deep belly laughs, internal self care, relaxing, bonding, emotional, heart felt and spiritual. We worked very hard to make sure every student got what they needed. We have already booked our next retreat for April, Nov and next Jan 2021. We expect this to be an awesome chapter for us that will last a few years. I know Laura would agree that we feel like we were meant to do this. We were meant to help others come together, learn, laugh and come out of the retreat feeling relaxed and refreshed. That’s what a vacation is meant to be right?
Follow @saltandsoul.retreats for up to date info or check out http://www.teckfitness.net/mexico-retreats.html for all the info.
Feeling weak, anxious and unconnected to my body lead me to start exercising. I joined a dance class once a week and after every dance class I had a glow about me, and it wasn't just from the sweat that I built up in class, it was something more. I realized it was the endorphins that were being produced from the physical activity I was doing. That was 13 years ago. Since then I have devoted my career life to helping other humans, like yourself, kick butt in their health and fitness goals. If you're looking for a helping hand or not even knowing where you should start... I would be more than honoured to help!