Less Scrolling, More Strolling!
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” - Mary Oliver
This famous quote, by one of my favourite authors, always finds its way to the surface in August. Why? Because it's my birthday month so it's when I begin to look at what has happened, what I want to happen, what isn't happening, what I wish was happening, how I feel about what has happened, and what I have learned from everything that has happened, my dreams for what is to happen and my regrets too. I dig up all of it daily an observe. I don’t obsess over any of it. I simply watch it like clouds passing and pay attention.
I'm writing to you from London, so it's summer. Technically that means a lot of sunshine, but in Britain, this island nation often has four seasons in a day. The only thing it lacks, much to the dismay of my Island Girl genes, is the warm weather. Having said that, we did experience a very uncomfortable heatwave last week. Temperatures soared to a sticky and stinky 38c. It was in a word, gross. And of course, Mother Nature, to keep the British slaying in their lane of being expert whiners, promptly delivered torrential summer rain and high winds immediately after.
So now you're reading a blog that is intermittent at best, with multiple broken promises about it being consistent, and I'm talking about the weather. Don’t worry, I haven't turned that British (yet). It's my way to segue to the topic of contentment. The dictionary defines it as a state of happiness and satisfaction. With bad news in our faces and social feeds 24/7, it's hard to access this without seeming wholly ignorant and oblivious to what is happening in the world. Or is it? I personally don’t think it is. I strongly feel a lot of the anxiety and stress comes from our addiction to our phones and scrolling and being in everyone else’s lives but our own.
My life is filled mostly with academics, creatives and entrepreneurs. Admittedly, I don’t have a lot of Monday to Friday 9-5 or 10-6 types in my life. This means promoting and hustling on social media is a thing. They (whoever they are) say “content is king” and I get that. I swim in that pool every day. But at what point did we start coveting the homes, vacations, bodies, boyfriends, wives, dogs, jobs, jeans, genes of others to a point where it has become so demoralising we are on the verge of an official mental health crisis around it? I don’t know the answers to these questions. I have some friends and strangers share with me what there struggle is. It feels horrible when I try it on. As in it makes me nauseous to imagine this state of being so much of the time. My life is far from perfect, but I am very blessed to not suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). If anything, I have a serious case of JOMO (joy of missing out). What is the solution, then?
Well, I think there are many. The big one for me is strolling. I walk almost everywhere as most of my life takes place in Central London. When I become a mole on the Northern line I often put it on Instagram stories. If for no other reason than if I go missing someone might ask “have you looked underground?” My favourite place to stroll is in nature. I’m very fortunate to live amongst a lot of big trees and walking distance to a vast park. I chose where I live intentionally because coming from the west coast of Canada meant I had easy access to nature whenever I wanted. There is something very peaceful about being amongst trees. Watching them sway I think they are speaking to each other, watching them still reminds me to be still.
Did you know people who live closer to nature are healthier? This isn't just me saying it, some studies prove this. This, to me, is the best reason to get outside and play. If you live or work in a very urban centre, get out for a walk on a quiet street. Find a little patch of green or find a garden to focus your attention on. I am always mesmerised by how perfectly designed flowers are. How often do your bare feet touch the ground? Take your shoes off and walk on the grass. Yes, look out for the bees and dog poop but set your feet free to feel the ground beneath them. As we enter into the first day of August, we’re going to see the inevitable catchy little phrases saying in 4 months it’ll be 2020. Flip those phrases the finger. Time, like growth is not linear. It’s just how we format it as humans to keep ourselves organised and orderly.
Instead of freaking out about what you haven’t done or what needs to be done, just go for a stroll. No ear pods, no music or podcasts feeding your brain. Just walking with all the hustle and bustle of cars, trucks, people, birds, bikes rain, sun and your soul walking through the world.
Personally, I slow down in August. Even as work goes a million miles a minute and invitations come in fast and furious, I channel my inner Neo. I become much more aware, I move more deliberately and my meetings are intentional. Being this way frees up time for me to do what I want to be doing. The sun and longer days are a battery pack for my constitution. I’m energised and engaged. Find what it is that will help you become more accepting of the life you have (because that is where the first step towards changing it is) and less upset about the life you wish you had that others appear to be living.
So what’s next? Well, it’s taken me awhile to figure out how best to use this space to be of service to the audience that shows up for my content. Finally, it seems clear to me what to populate this space with. Especially now that you know me in an honest “who is she?” way - my ups and downs, highs and lows, the dreams coming true and the disasters it took to get there. I have listened to and read your messages and have settled on a way to offer some insight which may be uplifting, helpful, insightful, inspiring and hopefully give you a little more light in a world that has a lot of dark spots in it right now. I’ll be sharing the stories of some amazing people I know who have carved out a purposeful career and lifestyle on their own terms. These will be done in a Q & A style and in their own words. I’ll be offering tips about money. So many people, especially women and women in the wellness world, have a warped and conflicted relationship with money. I’ll be sharing my own views as well as those from experts to help you better manage your money and to make more money. I’ll also be sharing what I like, listen to, read, where I travel, what I’m watching, what I’m wearing and any other topics I’m passionate about. So many of you email me about this or send messages via Instagram about requesting these insights daily. And yes, I’ll continue to share heartfelt stories about good times, bad times, happy things and horrific things that I have experienced. I know what it’s like to live with secrets and carry guilt and shame. It will eat you alive and chip away at your body, mind and soul. In my next post I’ll share the power of an apology and why we should embrace saying “I’m sorry” and meaning it.
But for now, I’ll say hello, good morning, good afternoon or good night, depending on where you are in the world when you find this. I look forward to sharing with you again very soon. Oh! And… it’s August already! WOW.