Disconnection and Becoming More Present

As I write, I’m sitting in the lounge of a cruise ship in the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii.

The majority of creature comforts have been taken care of, except the one that has come to define our world – there is no free Internet (access is at a premium we’re not willing to pay). We are completely cut off, with no means to search for an alternate source of Internet.

With no deadlines, and no reason to connect with anyone, forgetting about the web and social-media came very easily. Instead, we have been forced to adopt a willingness to small-talk with strangers, share Ping Pong tables, sit and mull on things under the sun, or stare out at sea.

Being in this situation makes you realise, you don’t NEED followers, connections, likes, faves, or any of the stress and anxiety that comes with it. Instead, you WANT all those things.

There is an important difference between want and need that we need to keep in the forefront of our minds. It’s easy to think that you need everything, when – really – the majority of things in life are wants. If it’s not anything to do with health, wealth, love, and happiness, you can live without it.

It’s not to say that it’s bad to have followers, readers, connections etc. Instead, you just need to keep in mind why you have these things. It’s a mean to an ends.

For me, it’s about building an audience so I can reach people to help and make a difference, to share my stories with people through my books, and to leave a scratch on the world before I leave.

For you, makes sure you are conscious of the feelings dopamine will give you about social-media. Know why you want likes, faves and more followers. And, if what you’re doing makes you feel down, or stressed, just realise that you can walk away at any time.

The other aspect that I have come to appreciate from our disconnection, is that I feel more present. I have seen sights with my eyes (not through the lens of a camera, or an image) that will stay with me for life. I have been able to appreciate the geological mechanics of the world, I have accepted how small and insignificant I am in the context of the world and time. But you know what, that’s fine, because it’s the way things should be.

Be present, go see the world, and strike up conversations with strangers. That’s how you experience a great life.

Let me know how you’ve been present in the comments below and please help someone else by sharing this post.

KG Heath is a healthcare technology professional, horror author, podcaster, and self-improvement blogger. You can get his debut novel free here.

How to Enjoy Winter Like the Norwegians

With winter coming into full swing here in the Northern Hemisphere (don’t forget the buggers down-south are enjoying their summer) it’s time for some reminders of how to avoid the gloomy nights and cold days from bringing you down. 

That’s right, it doesn’t have to be all bad:

Tromsø is so far north that from late November to late January, the sun never climbs above the horizon. Leibowitz went to study the residents’ overall mental health, because rates of seasonal depression were lower than one might expect.

Read the full article.

I’m Not Sleeping

Thoughts rattle around my head. I toss and turn. I think I’ve found a sense of calm, but really it’s just my mind taking a breath.

The thoughts keep coming.

My mind is trying to solve work and personal problems at the same time. But, it’s not helping. I need that time to recuperate. 

Tonight, I will master the darkness. I will find calm within the chaos. 

When the world is spinning, close your eyes and take a deep, deep breath.

Shadow Work – Do You Know About All The Jobs You’re Working?

You’ve been there, you’ve finished an average day at work and you’re absolutely exhausted, like you’ve had a full day of physical labour. 

You haven’t lifted a thing all day.

Are we really working harder than we ever have before? Apparently, working hours have reduced. So, what’s increased?

With all the jobs that have disappeared (secretaries, maids, pump attendants, social event planners, shop attendants) the tasks that were being completed by these people have not disappeared. 

You’re doing their jobs instead. This is called Shadow Work.

While Bill hasn’t done anything physically strenuous during the day, he crawls into bed feeling exhausted. And with good reason — for in addition to performing his “real” job at the office, he also worked a wide variety of other positions: driver, news editor, gas station attendant, banker, waiter, bus boy, secretary, cashier, grocery bagger, cook, housekeeper, travel agent, and salesman.

Though Bill nominally only works a 9-5, he has in fact been toiling around the clock.

Read the full article now.

The Art of Relaxation – On Finding the Silence Beyond the Noise With Meditation

Charles Rondeau – Image source.

“Do you want to go to a meditation class?” A colleague asked me this week. I had experimented with meditating on my own a bit before, but this was an invitation I couldn’t refuse.

We started with some Tai Chi exercises to stretch ourselves a little. “We’re going to be sitting for a long time,” said the instructor. I’m not sure about everyone else, but I ended up flapping my arms about and should have just stretched for real. That would have saved my shoulders.

The truth is, you could do this anywhere, and once you get confident, you’ll have this little island of relaxation always with you.

I noticed two things. It’s much easier to meditate than you think. And, time will really fly. I thought we were only there for half an hour, but it had really been an hour.

To get you started, you need to hear someone guiding you. Luckily, there are plenty of YouTube clips of meditation classes. The reason for this is the NLP and mild hypnosis element of what they say and how they say it. You can’t help but be lead into finding a deep meditative / trance-like state. Some people think that trances are something bad, instead it’s just your mind in a neutral and suggestible state – like watching TV, listening to a talk, or driving.

That’s right, you’ve been in and out of trances all day, and you’re not far from meditating.

Once you get used to how your real, or virtual instructor guides you into a state of meditation, you will be able to do it on your own. Fun, huh?

So, I can’t get you into a meditative state. But, I can talk about the experience.

I think one of the most important elements of meditating is that you accept everything that happens, but then allow that event to fade away. Interruptions and sounds become part of the experience, but then you take control of it and allow it to disappear.

Your mind will want to continue to think of your challenges, circling and circling like it does all day. However, you now have a tool to silence them. You just refocus on your meditation exercises and you get to silence them.

After a few minutes, as the thoughts quieten, and you focus on the noises you can hear – maybe the hum of the air-con, the click as a part of the room settles, the tweet of a bird in the distance.

And then you find it. The silence. You won’t grasp it completely. It’s like a faint star that you can only really see if you don’t look directly at it. You’ll be able to touch it with the tip of your fingers.

But, it’s enough. In that moment, your body will be completely relaxed, numb, almost disconnected from you. Your mind will have accepted the moment, the circling thoughts will have ceased, and the underlying noise of the world will seem more like static, noise intermingled with the silence beyond.

The art of relaxing is to touch the silence.

To speed forwards, we first need to learn how to stop.