Forest Sunbathing

How My Bikini Can Turn Your Day Around.

Yesterday I went to school in my bikini and scuffed old cowgirl boots.

No, I wasn’t wearing just that, calm down dear.

It is December, after all.

I was in a lot of pain and the thought of putting on proper clothes was just more than I could stand.

You know those days when everything hurts so much that you don’t want people to come within 5 feet of you, let alone have clothes weighing down your limbs and cutting into you? It was one of those.

So we picked out my softest loosest clothes, fabrics like bamboo and soya and, as it happens my bikini.

Did I perhaps look a little silly in a scoop neck top with bikini halter straps poking out of it? Perhaps, but we did what we needed to do to get me to class.

This, to me is Trail Blazing in practice.

You are hurting, but we find ways to not let the hurting stop your living.

This is timely as we move into the festive season. Many people with health challenges, with chronic illness or pain can find them exacerbated by the cold, snow or the hustle and bustle of the season.

I know if you wake up on a ‘bad’ day, everything can feel impossible and you just want to curl up under the covers until a better day comes along.

But when we stop thinking of things in ‘days’ and instead turn to the feelings and the moments then we can find a difficult day can have magic within it, and we can make that happen.

So how do we shift a difficult day around to make it better?

I have some suggestions for you…

Forest Sunbathing* Think what would make a part of you feel good and go and do that. Would it feel better to have warm feet? What about a soft blanket, or a better cushion. I know most of you feels bad but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some part of you that can be happy.

* Get to the mat. Stick to your practice, even and especially now when you don’t feel like it, now is the time to give yourself that space. If you can’t do asanas, some meditation or a restorative pose can be what you need.

* Create something to look forward to, it could be a chapter of your book, a hot drink, a phone call with a friend, or a dip into your Healing Happy Box. Just pick something and give yourself a time when you are going to get it.

* Make a calendar, get yourself through. We have an advent calendar of tiny envelopes painted with watercolours in green and gold with different random acts of kindness, festive activities and dates inside them. Super fun! Although I got slightly carried away and did them up to the 30th December!

* Don’t do everything! Sitting slumped and staring at a list of to-dos that you cannot physically achieve gets you no where. We need to bring realism back to our goals. Think, how long is an activity actually going to take you. Not how long would you like it to take – oh, 30 mins – but how long does it take? Could any human do all of these tasks, are there enough hours in the day? Well, then give yourself some credit, because you are an extraordinary human who is healing and look at each task – it is really essential?

I decided to be gentle with myself for Yule this year. No we haven’t made 200 handmade cards like last year, no there are not gifts going out to the four corners of the earth, and you know what? That is ok, people understand and I’m sending non-physical gifts instead, kindness, ease, love.

* Tune in, ask your body what it needs. Often we are quite angry at our bodies and so we shut off from them and get into a cycle of not listening to what we truly want and need because we can’t do what we think we want!

* Add light, in the winter the lack of light can feel so bleak, and doesn’t help our moods. Lamps, fairy lights, candles, fire light, do what you need to do to bring some shine to your room and to your table.

* Change your focus. Catherine Just taught me that on a bad day, we can change our focus simply by looking through our camera lens. If you don’t think you have anything to photograph from your bed or on a rainy day check out my From Waist Height and Wondering Series. I look forward to seeing your snaps!

* Do something outside of yourself, if you can put your attention strongly on something you enjoy then it can really shift things. How about writing, letters to friends (if you can’t think who to write to, I love lovely letters), vintage videos, planning presents, jigsaws, or helping someone who needs it?

* Dress up, if you are feeling awful then your dressing gown, although comfy, does not make you feel better. You may have to wear a bikini top under your clothes or just change into your best pjs if that’s how things are for you right now, but that is how my bikini can turn your day around. Do what you have to do and remember, glitter is always an option!

Darlings, I am more grateful than I can say that you have come along with me this year, let’s move into 2013 with joy and hope.