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In our culture it’s considered a badge of honour to be busy, stressed and unavailable. People often say to me how come you get time to go for a walk along the beach in the afternoons or when do you find the time to write for your blog? I always reply “I have excellent time management skills”.
However this is not entirely true, I have learnt to slow the hell down and re-prioritise my life. Yes, I have joined the resurging call to step away from our whirlwinds of busyness and learn some secrets of serenity. Doing something as simple as having quiet alone time each day, immersing yourself completely in a hobby or reading a book for an hour or two, taking the dog for a walk to the park or practicing a few yoga poses in your living room can make a huge difference to your stress levels.
If you take a look at other cultures we could all take a leaf out of their books of how to practice serenity.
In Santa Fe, New Mexico they practice the tradition of ‘the burning of Zozobra’. Every September, residents celebrate the Fiesta da Santa Fe, a highlight being the burning of Zozobra, a 15 metre, evil looking marionette.
The word Zozobra means anxiety or anguish in Spanish, and burning the marionette symbolises destroying the anxieties and anguishes of the past year. Locals write down their worries on slips of paper and they are put in a special box and burned along with Zozobra before a cheering crowd.
I could probably think of a few people that are Zozobras who I would like to throw on the fire! But nonetheless I think it is a great idea for cleansing ourselves of our worries!
In Greece they have Komboloi Beads (worry beads) which the locals hold in their hands whilst their fingers restlessly count and flick the beads. They are simply a pleasant artifact to hold and fidget with, in order to keep the hands occupied.
Get yourself a set of these Komboloi Beads and focus on the sense of touch as you caress the beads. Try it – it really helps to find some calmness.
In China there is a new art of water calligraphy called Dishu which originated in Tibet with the Buddhist Monks sand artworks called ‘Mandalas’. Today, millions of practitioners rise early each day to paint intricate characters on roads or pavements using water instead of ink, leaving statements that are beautiful but temporary, destined to evaporate.
You could try practicing this on the beach by writing messages in the sand, then watch as the tide sweeps it away – very calming.
In Sulawesi, Indonesia the Bajau people used controlled breathing for free-diving to depths of 30m to spear fish or harvest clams and pearls. Divers focus all their energy on becoming completely relaxed and slowing their breathing, so their heart rate drops to about 30 beats per minute.
While few of us will attain the near trance-like state that allows the Bajau people to dive for so long, mastering the breath is within our grasp. Control it and serenity is yours!
So without sounding all spiritual and ‘off this planet’, I can highly recommend finding some serenity in your life. It doesn’t mean that you have to sit in the lotus position and chant, but try taking some time out to ease the stresses of daily life. You too can achieve serenity!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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