Tag Archives: appreciation

Have you tried to ‘chew’ life? Another perspectives on mindfulness

Young Woman Standing with Arms Stretched OutWisdom can come from unexpected places

Stopping for lunch at Blarney Woollen Mills[1], I could not help but notice a rather large, elderly American man. In a very loud, penetrating mid-western voice he kept talking at his fellow tour members repeating the same words over and over again until I assume they finally listened to him. While this occurred all sorts of judgements went through my head especially the silent plea for him to quieten down his voice so I could eat in peace, and that was by far the most polite thought I had. You can image what went through my head (and I will leave the exact words to your imagination).

And then I started to pay attention to his words. Oh boy, was I surprised and humbled by this man’s insight.

He said: “We breathe in our food, we do not really chew it. That is why people put on weight”.

What wisdom! This man, having had this massive insight, actually had already lost 95 pounds by really chewing his food, and was well on the way of losing the remaining 120 pounds to reach his ideal weight.

Missing out . . .

Breathing is something so every day, that most of us do not actually notice that we are breathing or how we are breathing. And that is how we treat a lot of experiences in life, we just breathe them in without paying particular attention of what is happening, just as this man used to do with his food:

  • When do we actually ‘chew’ and ‘taste’ life to its fullest?
  • When do we truly have a present, second by second multisensory experience of life?
  • Where have we missed miracles just because we just breathed through them?

Sadly, for most of us, not even for the duration of one inbreath.

Ingesting too much . . .

As this American gentleman used to do, a lot of us are just breathing in food, information, life experiences; you name it, we breathe it in unconsciously, and then forget to breathe it out again. We rush through life, swallowing part of it whole without truly appreciating what is going on.

The result of this is overwhelm, overload or to continue using the food metaphor: mental obesity, emotional obesity, energetic obesity, and who knows, even spiritual obesity.

And we often don’t even notice.

What we may notice is that our stress levels rise, that we seem more irritable and easily distractable, that we cannot focus and require quicker and more distractions, that we feel the need to self-medicate with substances such as alcohol or drugs, or that we are more discontent than ever.

What if . . .  we were to spend  5-10 minutes a day, chewing life?

  • Really tasting, savouring, relishing each and every second of these 5-10 minutes, each second to their fullest?
  • Noticing what occurs around us, through us, in us for each second of the 5- 10 minutes?
  • Observing thoughts, emotions, energies, physical sensations
  • Allowing a multisensory experience consciously experiencing and breathing in these 5-10 minutes through all of the 5 senses and our intuitive sense to their fullest?

10 minutes of life chewing makes a difference

Notice what is different after the 5-10 minutes:

  • How you feel differently
  • What miracles happened
  • What opportunities you can now see
  • How life changed

I recommend using a journal to record, amplify and deepen your experience of life chewing.

Enjoy your conscious 10-minute meal of life!

[1] Co Cork, Ireland. They have a very healthy self-service restaurant and a terrace to enjoy your meal outside. It is a favourite spots for bus tours to stop.

Celebrating your successes improves confidence and self-esteem!

Let me ask you a question:

How often do you celebrate your achievements, milestones on the way to your goal or your successes?

And I do not mean, just your big achievements like a promotion or getting a new job. I mean the little milestones without which you would not be able to achieve the big goals. Things like finishing a piece of work quicker than you thought, making that next sale, doing something different during your work day, spending time on your self-care or completing one action of your action list!

You might question why one would celebrate these ‘small’ things? My answer to you is, most women take ourselves and our achievements for much too granted. What most women tend to do, and in fact most workplaces also have this culture, is to highlight when things go wrong and are not quite up to standard but to take things going well for granted. This creates an imbalance and overemphasises the negatives whilst devaluing what we do well.

Celebrating success redresses this balance. At the same time it is a great way to raise and/or maintain your confidence and self-esteem level.

If you had to pick one thing this week to celebrate, what would that be?

This is important. I invite you to review your week and identify at least one activity or small goal that you can celebrate this week. Once you have this one (or more) celebration worthy goal, create a celebration for it. This might be going for lunch with a friend instead of eating it at your desk, it might be treating yourself to a spa session, taking a walk in the park or listening to your favourite piece of music. Other women like to imagine a stepping out of a car onto a red carpet and all the people around her clapping and hugging her. Pick a celebration that works for you! Make it fun!

Once you have done one celebration, make it a regular activity in your life. You will soon experience a different in your levels of self-esteem and of self-appreciation.

What do you  appreciate about yourself? 

A lot of women tend to downplay our achievements and  strengths. This does not necessarily mean that they are not confident in their abilities. It is often a sign that we take ourselves for granted. If you take  yourself for granted, guess how other people will perceive you? They will also  take you and your abilities for granted.

Take some time, and make a list of appreciation. Really go  into yourself and write down all the things you appreciate about yourself. Once  you have run out of ideas, write down what your friends, colleagues, partner  etc. appreciate about yourself. Regularly review this list and add to it. One of my clients has created a picture with all the things she appreciates about  herself and has hung this in her office (she works from home) so she can see it  every day and whenever she thinks of another thing she appreciates about herself  she adds it.

Other clients find it useful to keep a daily or weekly  appreciation or gratitude list where they record the 5 or 10 things that they  appreciate about themselves today and the 5 to 10 things they are grateful for today. It helps us to remember the great things of our day or week instead of  mulling over that one embarrassing or annoying mistake we made! It is good idea  to do this before you go to bed so you go to bed with positive thoughts rather  than negative ones. It might even improve your sleep.

I invite you to make celebrating and appreciating yourself part of your daily experience! Try different things and find out what works  best for you.

And notice how your world begins to change.

Feel free to share your experiences in this blog.


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