‘Inhale let, exhale go’, were the simple, yet powerful instructions of the yoga teacher leading our evening class last week on a breezy Polzeath beach in Cornwall. There is nothing like practicing yoga outside to be present and to remind yourself of the insignificance of your normal daily worries. Hearing the crashing of waves, watching the light changing all around you, feeling the sand under your feet and having a huge open sky above your head are wonderful reminders that we are only a very small cog in the vastness of the universe.
I finished the class pondering what I could let go of in my life.
The following morning when walking Luna, my seven-month-old Labrador puppy, on the beach, the sea looked cold but inviting. The first time away by the sea, Luna found her water wings on this holiday and needed no encouragement to leap into the water with unabashed gusto at the earliest opportunity. My sister, who was staying with us for a few days, with similar enthusiasm as Luna, stripped off to her undies and started wading into the sea. Luna was delighted to have a watery companion and bobbed off after her.
Not having planned a swim and with no swimming costume or towel either, I watched my sister and Luna from the beach. But after a little while and with the growing feeling that I was missing out, I decided to let go and I too stripped off to my smalls and in I went. This holiday is the first sea swimming I have done for several years, and it doesn’t get any easier to submerge into the cold. But in I went, and after the initial shock and accompanying shrieking, it was glorious.
Getting into cold water is not easy, but my goodness you feel a huge sense of achievement. No wonder cold water swimming is now being recommended for depression and a way to have an immediate improvement in your mood after each swim. I certainly felt more present, elated and more positive afterwards.
At some point in life, you need to start saying yes to things and let go. Spontaneity is the spice of life after all, and my goodness, we could all do with a bit more of that after a long time of restriction and being confined to our homes over the past 18 months.
Back in London now, I have been reflecting on being away and the joy I found in very simple pleasures. Now, I do realise that sadly, I cannot bring the beach back home to London with me. But what parts of being away can I incorporate into my daily life back home?
Essentially, what it comes down to is slowing down, being present and appreciating the very small and simple things in life. It is easy to get caught up in the speed of normal life and feel worn out all the time. That is why being on holiday is so special, as you have the gift of time.
But what can you bring into your life right now to prolong that holiday feeling and bring some of the beach back with you?
These are the three things I want to bring into my life:
- I have rediscovered a love for swimming, so I have just re-joined my local gym after a gap of three years and went for a swim early this morning. I did give myself an imaginary high five as I was swimming lengths in the pool at 6.15am and told myself, ‘Well done me!’
- I really enjoyed spending more time preparing and eating family meals whilst away. So, spending some time in the week planning and preparing our meals as a family is my second focus. Even for a nutritional therapist, it’s easy for weekday mealtimes to become functional, very repetitive and a routine part of the day. However, with a bit of thought and planning, this can be transformed into a highlight. This is something I want to start addressing and I am planning to document my journey with this, so watch this space.
- In the spirit of taking the plunge and letting go, I want to let you know that I am expanding my work to include energy work, in the form of Modern Energy Tapping (a type of EFT). I have been beavering away with energy work in the background for a while now and I have been blown away by the power and simplicity of this work. The feedback I have had from people who have experienced this with me has been remarkable. If you are struggling with anxiety, stress or simply feel stuck somewhere in your life, then this could be for you.
So, if you are going away this summer or having a staycation, then bring some of that beach feeling home with you. Live more in the present, incorporate simple things that bring you joy, but most of all take the plunge and Let. Go.