I had noticed the development of habits. And not the good kind. Not being able to get to sleep, waking up in a panic, being easily overwhelmed, crying more frequently at the smallest of things. I felt I was in a repetitive cycle of feeling stressed, confused and hopeless and I wanted to break it. I've never been much into 'self-help' books, but I found myself reaching for 'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle and I was pleasantly surprised by how helpful I found it.
The overarching message of the novel is to live in the present, which is a lot harder than it may seem. Some people dwell on the past, others fixate on the future and where they want to be. I fall within the former. I've never had a 'five year plan' and probably never will. And yet, everything I had been doing in the past few months seemed to be directed towards an elusive future; both in my actions and my thoughts. Eckhart does acknowledge and address the fact that, yes, it is important to plan for the future. But there's a difference between being conscientious and putting your entire life on hold by always worrying about the future you. 'I will be happy when...I will be successful when...Everything will work out when...'
I had become stuck and needed to find a way to claw my way out. And I discovered that the best way to do so is to get back to the basics. I needed to invest more time into creative activities to calm down, so that's what I have been doing. I intend to keep a track of the simple things that have been bringing me back to the 'now' through these 'Slow Down' posts. As Eckhart explains, the present moment is all we have, and it should be made the primary focus.
Slow Down: Make a Bouquet
Make this a weekly ritual. If you're lucky enough to have access to a garden, use it to gather your materials. Otherwise, cheap supermarket flowers are just as lovely. Spend time snipping the stems and arranging the flowers in a vase, paying careful attention to the smell and the feel of each specimen. Find an area in your house to place your vase, ideally a room you spend the most amount of your time. Notice how much joy a fresh bunch of flowers can bring and feel delighted by the small part you played in showcasing just how beautiful they are.