Three weeks ago, I was finishing my day at work, packing up, jumping in the car, driving, rushing around, reflecting back on my day, thinking about my dinner, stopping at the shop to cook my dinner.

All of a sudden, I heard my mind say STOP!

I wasn’t feeling the present moment; the problem was I was thinking. I wasn’t even in the present moment. my mind was navigating between past and future.

I immediately questioned myself: What are you doing?

Then, I heard my mind say: STOP, You’re not even allowing yourself to breathe!

Clearly I was breathing but its almost like my mind wasn’t allowing my body to feel breath after breath, whilst my mind was going 100 miles an hour about things in my everyday life.

Wow, what a reality check. I drove home, forgot about my dinner, sat in my lounge and began self-reflecting about how to live in the NOW.

Lucky me, I was about to embark on a 2 day journey to a silent retreat at Jhana Grove in Serpentine and I promised myself that I would use this very special opportunity to reset my mind to live… consciously.

I didn’t know what to expect. My retreat was a unique experience that I will cherish forever. How would I enjoy myself in complete silence? I mean, no music, no interaction with others, no cars, no TV, no radio, no phone, nothing, simply the sound of the birds and nature. Its pretty daunting isn’t it? I was amazed at how within two days I realised how disconnected humans are with themselves and with nature. We are no longer in connection with our mind and body. Nature being everything that surrounds us is slowly falling behind in our everyday life and is no longer a priority. What is the priority?

I was reminded about mindfulness, gratitude, kindness and stillness of the mind through meditation. I rediscovered the enjoyment of silence, nature and simplicity. Above all, I had to learn again that if I’m not breathing deeply, I’m not being present. My body and my mind were able to let go of all tensions for two days I was allowed to simply BE.

With no expectations.

So I have 2 questions for you.

Do you think or do you feel your life? Do you live it in the now or are you stuck between past and future?

I encourage you to slow down and listen to the messages of your mind.

Remember to be present, still your mind, remember what is important to you, live your life at your own rhythm, and do what is right for YOU. Remind yourself that it’s okay to laugh, okay to cry, okay to feel, and make mistakes, sing and love.

Walk in nature, stop to see colours of the flowers, listen to the sounds around you, practice yoga. Never be afraid to ask for help. Practice gratitude. Treat your body and people around you kindly.

Remember that you always have a choice, and most importantly BREATHE.

arielle-handwritten