These thoughts must come with a caveat; I’m no light worker. I work in an office… in the public sector… in human resources. (Editor's note - sounds like a lightworker to us, Bec!)
Those facts apart, I share my ‘light’ simply by being kind. I try to help others, to care and to give my time freely. You’d be surprised how many people want advice when you work in HR.
I’m sure my path of life so far is pretty middle of the road. There has been light and shade. Some of the shadier parts have been protracted and painful. I’ve learnt a few things from these times.
I’m not qualified to advise on mental health other than my own. I had counselling; I still do sometimes. More recently I kept hearing about mindfulness. Mindfulness seemed to be everywhere so I set about finding out more. On the face of it, it sounded perfect to me; you get to stay in the moment, no looking back, no anxiety about the future, what was there not to love? I went on courses, I read articles and reviews, and I downloaded myriad mindfulness apps. I set off on my new project with gusto. That initial enthusiasm waned as I struggled to be truly mindful. Thoughts would pervade. I couldn’t master staying in the present. My mind would go backwards; way back to replay moments I wish I could erase from the hard drive. Sometimes it would then race forwards to worry about that which hadn’t yet happened, to rehearse conversations that would never even take place.
I attended amazing meditation and relaxation sessions with fantastic yogis but I invariably relaxed so much I nodded off. I tried getting back into various exercise regimes (hula hooping class anyone?)
Then I started swimming again. This isn’t one of those ubiquitous ‘exercise changed my life’ stories. I don’t particularly enjoy exercise as I’m inherently lazy but going back to exercise in the form of swimming achieved something huge for me: it made me realise that I could stay in the present. I have to be honest; I swam a lot as a child, competitively in fact, but not to any great standard. Now it’s something that I have to work at. I love the water; I enjoy being submerged in it, even the chlorinated depths of a municipal baths. I think that’s something to do with being an empath.
But it’s when the physical work starts that I am forced into the present. And I love it. There’s something about the rhythm of swimming for me, whatever the stroke. The lifting of myself in and out of the water when I breaststroke or the twisting of my torso as I front crawl create a rhythm that soothes my mind whilst it works my body. I hear my own breathing as a metronome to my effort, keeping my exertions to time. It’s just me in that moment, no past, no future, and no comparison with others.
It feels like the true present, truly mindful when my mind has to focus on something, that something being working my body. God/ the universe/ angels/ spirits* (*delete/insert your particular spiritual gig as appropriate) provides for your mind to work your body. Quite often I fleetingly contemplate that thought as I’m swimming. I say fleetingly as thoughts truly come and go.
I’m sure the same could be said for running for some, the rhythm that creates, the sound of your own breathing and the feeling of your feet pounding beneath you.
For the most part I agree with 'find what you love, love what you find' but when you really need to be grounded in the present and stop yourself from visiting the past or spinning out about what the future holds, I urge you to do something you find bloody hard work physically. Your mind with all its brilliance will focus so hard on getting your body to work you will be more present than ever. Plus by the time you've finished you'll have the added bonus of having some endorphins kicking about post exercise.