The year is still fresh and there’s plenty of time for you to shape your everyday life in small ways that can have a big impact over time.
A couple of years ago I started having an annual theme or focus. This year it is ‘nourishing the essential’ as I shared in my last email.
(I’m very curious if you also have a focus for the year? If you feel like sharing, hit the reply button.)
To actually make this subject real for me and to learn what shapes this phrase will take on for me, I’m breaking it down into monthly focus subjects. Starting in January with mind-mapping on the main theme and daily practice of some kind, I’m observing other topics that are related and supporting the main theme.
And out of those, I pick the most relevant one as a topic for the coming month.
In this way, I’m staying on course, while having enough space for playful explorations throughout the year. (I don’t like structures that are rigid as I easily get the sensation of having to follow somebody’s plan that I might not understand. And I believe that the path emerges as you walk.)
Regarding my subject of nourishing the essential, I have come across some juicy elements over the past weeks:
- Distractions (emotional, input and knowledge, unexpected events and invitations)
- Priorities – without clarity what my focus is, it’s hard to know when to say yes or no
- Setting clear boundaries (related to point above)
- Work-and-not-work ratio (time management, what occupies my headspace, what am I actually doing)
- Do I need to learn new things?
- Time outdoors – having enough blue-skies time
- Forcing it vs. embracing ease – as an indicator for what’s essential
I could go on… it’s just to give you an idea of what my grey cells come up with as an inspiration for your exploration, if you want to come along on this journey.
Plenty of subjects to go deeper on. Especially the distractions bit offers enough for an entire year, I feel.
Why do I like to have a focus?
Having a focus helps me get back to center and find my way when I’ve got lost or to frazzled.
I experience moments every week, when I’m not in flow or know exactly what I want. I regularly meet the dilemma of my head (being very fast) telling me ‘I should do one thin’ and my body telling me something different.
So, how do I know what decision to make? And how does this decision support me in nourishing the essential?
This is where embodied practices come into play. I might I put on a song and realign my mind, emotion and body by moving to a rhythm and allowing what’s there, even if it feels like a contraction at times. And even for the practices I use, I can have a focus that helps me get back to center. Or my focus might offer a gateway to experiencing new aspects of a practice.
This works for me, because the focus I choose isn’t something that someone else told me I should explore, but a question, theme or feeling that emerged from within. It’s something that feels important and relevant
A focus over time adds flavor and nuance
Another reason why I enjoy having a monthly focus is that it allows me to explore something over a longer period of time. I can observe how a subject shows up in my everyday life.
For me there is something magical about the mundane.
I can dive into a subject like ease, silence, emotional balance by attending a workshop, do a weekend seminar or a retreat. (And those are very good starting points.) But what ultimately matters are how you integrate what you’ve experienced into daily life.
Let’s take the example of silence. I can have unique moments of silence on a 10-day meditation retreat. They enrich my experience and show me what’s possible. The setting of retreat is designed in a way that invites this quality.
What a time-out kind of learning space does not, however, is show me the nuances of silence that I can achieve while I’m sitting on a crowded bus, or when I’m listening to a friend who is asking for my opinion.
By observing a topic over weeks, is humbling and grounding.
This practice teaches me that I can hold an intention or focus and that it will play out in many ways that I can’t control or anticipate before. The everyday shows me moments when it’s easy, and moments when it seems impossible. It also demonstrates that there is nothing static or permanent in life. Everything is process and movement.
And the more I am centered and aligned, the easier it is to go with the flow of life.
Do you also enjoy having a focus and exploring a subject over time? Learning about the different flavors and intensities that are possible?
Lovely article. I like the idea of a theme and having a focus, but not having a rigid plan….and connecting it back to the body is key. Also, the importance of bringing things into the every day resonates with me. Makes me think of Eckhart Tolle’s writings.