Polku-blog

It’s all okay - Mindful living in the moments

I woke up at 2:27 am for hunger and racing thoughts. I knew I had two choices, either stay in the bed pressing my eyelids together and try to force myself back to sleep and eventually get frustrated, or I could get up and do something about it. Even though in that moment getting up felt like an effort, I knew “the tools” are working.

ONE MIND FULL NIGHT So I got up, ate a coconut yogurt and sat in the living room. The calm silence of the night is pretty comforting. I started breathing consciously in and out. I heard the traffic and the sirens. New York is one of the loudest cities in the world but actually, when you just focus to listen, there’s always some kind sound or wash, wherever you are.

The quietness, that floating, comforting and limitless space where the fulfillment lies, can be found behind all the noise.

I started scanning my body along my breathing and noticed some tension here and there and relaxed and released it consciously with the exhales. I observed my racing thoughts and emotions, simply recognizing what was going on in my mind.

I didn’t try to push the hassle away but I just followed-up and approved it all with the gentle self-compassion and curiosity. 

I sat in the living room maybe ten minutes, being fully present in my body, in my mind and in my breathing and the surroundings. I liked the calm space I had found and enjoyed being there alone. Soon I felt calm and noticed how I became tired again.

I was ready to go back to bed where I continued the conscious breathing counting in seven with the inhale and counting eleven with the exhale. Continuing to relax my body with the breathing. It’s a good old mindfulness trick giving the mind something else to do than worrying about the unnecessary things. I was sleeping sooner than I noticed and woke-up fresh and happy as I had listened to myself and my own guidance.

I do longer meditations too, depending on my schedule, but basically I’m using mindfulness and do mini-meditations along my days whenever I need the check-in, find the guidance what I desire, calm down, focus and balance myself from the feelings of rush or stress. Or when I just have time to be present and feel all the good in my life, which is the best way to recharge oneself and enjoy life. 

SIMPLE, EFFORTLESS EXERCISE The mind likes to warn us basically about everything scary and it just tries to keep us safe. Approving everything that is in that moment, is a way to release the negative emotions and the stressful thoughts, which are just thoughts.

Conscious breathing calms and roots us down when we are flying high. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms the body and lowers the stress levels. Breathing consciously in the middle of the day recharges your brain, your mind and your body in just few minutes.

If you’re are having a sleepless night or miss the peace during the days, try the tricks - bring your attention to you breathing whenever you are and give yourself a break to breathe: 

Count from 1 to 7 with the inhale, count from 1 to 11 with the exhale. 

IT'S FOR YOU TOO Many people still have think that practicing meditation is only something related to yoga, Eastern religions and spirituality. Or it’s woo-woo, which you just want to avoid. Or even though you would like to try, you don’t know how. Or you definitely don’t have time for it (a few minutes in the here and there, if possible 5 to 10 just after you have woken up).

I know, that’s what I said too. 

Meditation became my medication when I faced burnout and understood that peace and freedom I had been looking for, were to be found from inside. It was absolutely liberating for me to understand I can take the responsibility of my own wellbeing and create my kind of life.

I had meditated on the yoga classes for years but I was resisting to take the practice to my days as it felt difficult and weird without the yoga and physical exercise. Nothing really happened as I didn’t know what I should be feeling or how to recognize the voice of my mind and my heart. I was thinking about what I wanted to eat for dinner and then thought I just can’t meditate.

But that exactly is the practice. When the thoughts arise, you just go back to follow your breathing approving everything that is happening, without judgement. It will get easier. And your patience will grow. 

If you are looking for more happiness, and the feeling of being fully alive, feelings of love and compassion, ability to enjoy life, understanding, peace, balance and joy - these all are the benefits of the meditation and mindful living. And there are much more.

If you want to learn how to respond rather than react to life’s challenges, meditation helps. And it’s not only the emotional benefits when you get in touch with your emotions, but it improves the physical health too. And the relationships when you learn to be mindfully present.

Meditation is for everyone, it is the way to experience the life to the fullest and feel less stressed out. We need it in the middle of all distractions. It won’t take away life’s challenges, but when you become consciously aware and focus more on the present moment and less on your mobile phone, you'll become more connected with your emotions and feelings and needs, so you can take the responsibility of your own actions. You will get over the challenges sooner and you just don’t mind other people’s business that much.

If you want to be happy, be happy.

Ask, comment or let me know your thoughts - what have you found through mindfulness? What’s holding you back?

With love, Jenni

One step at a time

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The whole idea was so outrageous that it was amusing me. I couldn’t even imagine how I could make it happen without miracles. I just thought, "Aha, how interesting." Then I added playfully, "Well, if it is meant to be, show me the way. I promise to follow, I have made my commitments to make this world happier place."

About three years ago I got an idea of the story I would need to write and publish some day. It was not a blog but a full book. The story should be written in English and first published in USA. It was quite challenging idea for a Finnish girl who had only published couple of blogs in Finnish. It was pretty wild idea for a girl who had just started to create her own journey and had consciously stopped adrift in her life. I knew I was not ready for it yet, so I left it to brew and forgot the whole thing.

During that time life had basically forced me to start doing the changes I had secretly dreamt about for years and stubbornly resisted. I didn’t have detailed plan of what exactly I was desiring to achieve but I trusted I would find it along the way. And no, it was not as easy as it sounds: I was about to change my whole life, give up of the external identity I had created along the years and dig out the authentic me and be happier than ever. It was not going to be a one month project.

My aim is still not to encourage people to leave their day job right away and jump to the freezing financial uncertainty, like I ended up doing without a security net or sponsors. No, we all don’t want to or need to do the same things. But I have to say finances will be found when they are needed when you're willing to do the things you have a calling for. Do the easiest and smallest changes – take a course and test drive the ideas. See how it feels and be willing to be open and curious. One step at a time. 

So me, the busy business girl who I had become, started to blog about my journey after I took the first step towards what was truly calling me, and signed up for a yoga teacher training in Nicaragua. All that encouraging support from the family and friends "you have to do what makes you happy" and how everything was organized so smoothly gave me confidence I could lead my life to right direction and my other foot was already out from the office door. I kept affirming: take one step at a time and the next steps will be exposed to you.

When you're driving, you can't you really see what is behind the curve, but you know the road is continuing and it will take you to your destination, so you keep driving.

I wanted to share my journey on the blog and encourage the other people to see it would be possible to do the wanted changes in their life and create the life they truly want live — there were so many overachievers like me struggling with their stressful, unbalanced and unsatisfied lives. I didn’t really want to expose my personal life but the pressure, the beep and the calling was strongly demanding me to write. It is the roar of creativity.

So I wrote almost ten blogs in two weeks time before I left to my training. After I published my first blog and shared it on my Facebook I ran out from the house. I was shaking when I sneaked back to see what people would say and afraid they would they persecute me and think that I’ve gone crazy. But they didn’t. Or none said it out loud to me. One step at a time my confidence as a writer grew.

But the big story, the idea of that book, took a big step ahead sooner than I thought. After two years when I started writing and creating my own path, I wrote the first draft of that book in Bali in Mastin Kipp’s Writers Mastermind retreat and amazing coaches and fellow writers. I had followed his inspirational work for some time and learnt a lot through him. When I saw his post about the retreat I just instinctually knew I had to get there, no matter what. Again in the miraculous ways and again I managed to get everything organized. But not without facing any challenges or fears along the year I waited for that trip.

Remember and feel the original intuition, it will take you somewhere great. I had to step back to that intuitive feeling many times during the year when the suspicious ego wanted to play small and take the control. I have to say, money is not an issue when you are willing to follow your calling. So again I had got everything organized and I traveled to Bali for a month. I had amazing time finalizing my transformation, which was one of the reasons I did the trip. And basically wrote my life to a better one and got the first version of my story done. It is still a work in progress.

Release everything you need to release. Receive everything you need to receive. Be patient.

Last weekend I participated on the Hay House Writer’s workshop in New York and I found my original spark of creativity and to work with my projects. I met amazing people, I need my kind of people and supporting peer group - writing and being self-employed can get lonely. 

I noticed how I had become overwhelmed by all the work I really want to do and create. I had almost lost the motivation as I tried to do and rush too many things at the same time without proper planning, routines and consistency and my goals felt like unreachable chaos — I was pushing on a string. I heard myself priesting to my coaching clients about the patience and how things will happen on time. I stopped to listen my own words and took the advice too. 

I'm still looking for my niche. I'm close but finding it requires releasing of some old habits and beliefs, which then creates space for the new. It needs work, eagerness and courage to test some of the new ideas. Without a doubt there will be many lessons to learn and challenges to tackle that will lift me on the next level.  

I have told to quite for a few people about my dream that Hay House would publish my story. Last weekend I realized I don’t need to worry about the publishing now. I will get my stories out in a way or another. Then when the time is right. There are possibilities, multiple options to publish in this digital world. I understood all I want is to do the work and concentrate to put my message on the paper - then I’ll see where it leads. Lightly, one step at a time.

With love, Jenni

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How to cool down when the heat is on (sweat the bitch out)

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Some itchy bitchy feelings suddenly caught me. I felt like I wanted to have a little battle and argument with someone. Even though I noticed the quick thought of wisdom in my mind saying:

"You should rather take some time alone to get the insight what is going on, than forcing yourself to socialize and follow your too-full schedule."

But I had made the plans and I don't like to cancel and disappoint others, so I almost flew down the stairs on Saturday morning. (I'm working on my habit to listening and serving myself more carefully)

But this time, I didn’t listen to my won guidance, and I finally, and successfully, ended up in an argument. 

Did it feel good? 

Of course not: I don’t like to push my frustration to other people's neck. It's not their fault if my mind wants to be bossy and in control when I have overwhelmed myself with the busyness and forgot the self-care.

No one is perfect: this small failure was not a failure as it woke me up to see the heat is on: 

  • Do you ever feel so indecisive that you don’t have any idea what you need?
  • Is it difficult to prioritize and instead of making decisions what you want, you just dwell in frustration? 

Maybe you over-think and analyze. Squirming with discomfort and having that small self-blaming and judging voice in the head is not helping at all.

Even though nothing’s really wrong there’s a big "Nah" in the back of the head. You just want to say “I don’t know,” because you don’t know but you have to make decisions.

Or you’re saying yes without thinking and get yourself even more tired and you feel bad as you're bad company.

This happens to me when the inner heat is on and I’ve slowly slipped from the happy track. Then I need to get back to sync with myself and often it requires self-care.

No need to emphasize we’re living in a dynamic world: the energy is heated up out there. Driver’s horn and people push each other in a hurry and no one wants to be pushed. Heat causes general anxiousness and sweating in the crowd make our head boil. 

When the weather is melting hot the pace must be slowed down.We need calmness and grounding to cool the down the over-heat in our bodies - mental blocks are causing physical blocks and the other way round. 

Still, we cannot blame the external conditions: work stress, heat, and people - blaming others has never solved any issues.

It is our responsibility to take care of the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

It keeps us away from the confronting situations. And we don’t react so easily with the other people crankiness either. Because we don't know what the others (colleagues, friends, even family members) have on their plate - it's better to be kind.

How to cool down when you feel over-heated and unconnected:

Stop to listen to yourself. What does your body need now? How do you feel and what feels right for you? Follow your inner guidance and make it happen. You will gain a lot more energy by taking action and getting out there than just slouching on the couch.

  1. Sweat it out. Run, walk, jump, do yoga, hit the ball with the racket or ride a bike — move your body even for a short time! Just do it.

  2. Lose yourself to dance (I love that Daft Punk's song) Play your ultimate summer song you really (or secretly) dig and let your hips talk! The bigger and crazier moves, the better; no one can see you. This lifts your energy levels high-up in five minutes!
  3. Take a walk in the park and sit on the grass. Observe and listen what’s happening around you, the birds, wind, clouds and sun. Breathe in the green energy, enjoy the healing power of nature. This is a slow relaxing and mindfulness exercise.
  4. Calm yourself before bedtime. Rinse the feet with warm water. Lift your legs up towards the wall for 15 minutes. Squirm your butt close to the wall, keep the spine long and open arms to the sides. Breathe in and out. This is calming practice that swipe away the inner dust.

I bet it feels good, and it was fun — you gained back your energy and are back in sync with yourself.

By the way, even though you have a bad day, it doesn't matter you have a bad life.

Love, Jenni

Human encounters

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Old woman struggles the heavy cafe door open. She somewhat has to drag her legs towards nearest high communal table in the front of the door. It is easier for her hip to sit on the high chairs. She is tall and skinny, almost see-through. Her long grey hair has a loose bun on top of her head. She’s fragile and sensitive but beautiful.

She is wearing loose pants, a knit and a vest. All earthy colors, like herself. She seems to be very down-to-earth. It’s easy to see she’s not that well anymore. Her body has given up for time. Her presence is glowing dim light. She is ready.

She leaves all her bags on the table and continues her way to the register to make her tea order.

Tall heavy-looking man in his forty-something walks briskly into the cafe. His neck-length curls are coming forth under the red cap, which care-freely sits on his head . He’s wearing green shorts with big side pockets full of stuff and blue-purple printed hoodie with the patterns made of shiny golden sequins. He is wearing black sneakers with the springs under the heels. He looks busy. Restless and active but easy-going guy. Looks like he is ready to jam with the indie rock they play loudly in the cafe.

He quickly sits by the high communal table. Just one chair away from the old woman’s bags. He starts pulling out his laptop and books on the table. 

Old woman is waving at him from the register and making some noise to get his attention. Man stops and lifts his head. He stares at her and tries to understand what’s going on. She’s then pointing and waving her hand towards the wall.

To make it clear, she’s then starting to shake her very long and skinny finger. At the same time she is staring the man over her reading classes hanging at the end of her nose. Very recognizable international body language is clear. 

Man sounds little astound when his asking “Oh you don’t want me here? You want me to move?”. The cafe is empty. “Yes, I need my space. At least three chairs, which is my arm-length. I have very long arms”, the old lady is saying and still waving her hand when she’s replying firmly with her thin voice.

“Oh you have reserved these seats? And the cafe is almost empty!”, the man sounds a little annoyed and surprised about the ban. He’s hesitating a little bit what he should be doing as it is unusual situation he’s sitting in someone’s territory in a public place.

“I used to be a teacher”, the lady continues from the tea register. “Children were all the time all over my personal space, so nowadays I need my space”, she is not trying to soften it down but requires her own space firmly without leaving any option for the man. She’s not arrogant, only firm. She knows exactly what she wants and needs.

“OK, I understand. Totally. No problem. It’s OK. Noooo problem”, he lengthening the no at the end letting everyone in the cafe to understand that he keeps the lady as a total cuckoo. “Is it alright if I will leave one chair in between us?”, he says nosily pulling his stuff near to the corner of the table.

“No, I need at least three”, she’s saying and showing the wide circle with her long arm.

Now he’s annoyed but trying to keep it in. Clearly he’s working on it. Respect the bloody elders, they can do whatever, he’s offended ego is swearing silently.

“Yeah, I got that. Sure”, the man says. “People have become so afraid of being close to each other. Socially limited. Whatever”, he is murmuring and rolling his eyes when he’s changing his seat.

The lady gets her tea and slowly drags her legs back to the table and her three seats. The man now sees she is already well-aged and older than she looked like from far. He softens. 

She doesn’t apologize of anything she has said but continues to keep the conversation up. “You have a very lively style”, she comments the man’s outfit after checking him out from toes to head. 

The man ponders a moment should he now get offended. But he’s respect to elders and good habits have won the ego. “Well, I used to wanna be a rock star. I didn’t become a rock star but I kept the look”, he says softly. The tension is gone. He’s eyes are friendly and he keeps it polite. Even though he doesn’t usually talk with grannies and he should be doing something else.

“I like that cap”, she admires his red cap. “Oh this was just 11 dollars on the beach in San Diego”, he replies pleasantly remembering the moment when he bought it.

The conversation starts flowing. They talk about Starbuck’s coffee, about the neighborhood and something general. They are warming up. Sensing each other intuitively if they would be finding the same tune.

Soon the lady starts telling her stories. The man is getting interested and he's leaning toward her but still keeping the arm distance. He seems fascinated about their conversation. The lady is clearly interested to hear what he has to say too. She seems to know exactly who he is.

“You know, you have to accept what you have. That’s the thing”, is the last wisdom I hear her saying when I close the cafe door.

Love, Jenni