As AndBreathe... I am constantly reminding people to look after their wellbeing, to focus on creating a balance in their lives and to prioritise their mental health. So this week as I found myself feeling a bit anxious and stressed, I sat myself down for a bit of a talking to! Setting up a new business was never going to be easy. Also being someone who historically has always taken on too much, been a high achiever and been extremely self-critical, I took a few steps back to remember why I was here in the first place!
First of all, I returned to 16G (16 Guidelinesfor a Happy Life) and picked the card 'Contentment'. I was clearly not feeling this, so was interested to read on...
'Contentment is a state of mind that has nothing to do with money, objects, or other people. Nor does it concern itself with how much we have, or how little. Instead, it’s about finding a point of stillness within ourselves which allows us to be quietly happy whatever our situation might be, and to be at peace with who we are.
How do we experience contentment? It can be as easy – and yet as radical – as taking a breath in, and deciding to release everything that makes us feel anxious and dissatisfied as we breathe out. Try settling deeply and quietly in a traffic jam, in the middle of an argument, or when tears are close. Let the commotion of the world simply come to rest. Is it possible to taste the experience of surrender and release?
Unless we learn to live in the moment, and to accept it as it is, we may never function well or feel fully alive. Contentment releases us from the restless desires that drive us blindly forward, and which prevent us from being open to the needs and gifts of others. It frees us up to direct our energy in fresh and more conscious ways. Can we discover how to enjoy contentment despite the hurry and worry of our contemporary existence?'
That gave me food for thought! It was then time for my daily yoga with 'Yoga with Adriene' and I laughed out loud when I saw the title for that day's video, 'Yoga for Insecurity'! Following that I pulled out another tool from my toolbox which is going to the hills. I am so lucky to live close to beautiful hill walks and was quite quickly at one of the summits of Bennachie (see the picture at the top of this post). By now, the anxious feeling was settling but the very fact I had felt like this, still nagged at me, so I settled into a self-led EFT/Tapping session. Why didn't I start with EFT?! Yes, I tapped on that too!
So, where am I now? Yes, I still feel that setting up a new business is challenging but I am back able to look positively at the bigger picture again. New schools have signed up for Pawsb Mindfulness sessions this week, new clients have been in contact and musically (the other part of my life) there have been several positives as well. We're all human, it's how we deal with the ups and downs that matters. Having a variety of tools in my toolbox has helped once again and I know they are there any time I need them. What are your tools?
AndBreathe... actively supports two charities, UK Sepsis Trust and Gathimba Edwards Foundation. At the end of March I am going to Kenya to visit GEF projects and meet the families supported by the funds we are raising at the moment. I will also have the opportunity to meet Rael, a young woman I have been supporting for several years. I am very excited at the thought of us finally meeting! For £35 per month it is possible to support children who are unable to attend school due to lack of funds. Enabling them to attend school means they are so much more likely to lead a better life and give back to their communities. I am funding my own visit in March/April, so the funds I raise will go directly to the families who need it most. Money raised from our fundraising will go towards two very important causes.
The first project is the building of a home and support for a family of 9 in the Iten area. The mother and father had 8 children but unfortunately in 2017 they lost a baby due to malnutrition. Two of their young children, Evans, aged three and Koech aged five, suffer from malnutrition. Lack of clothing and school fees are also a huge challenge.
The family currently live in very poor conditions with no beds or toilet (they use a nearby bush) and when it rains the roof leaks water onto them. Both parents work as casual laborers - this means some days there may be no work available at all in which case the family cannot afford to eat. On days when work is available they are paid £2 each for a full day's work.
Their 10 year old daughter, Chepkemoi, attends class 2 at St. James Primary School. She currently lives with a well wisher in the neighborhood as she ran away from home due to frustration and embarrassment of the living conditions. Before a well wisher took her in she would sleep in a nearby forest at night alone.
Ali Mathers, who has been to Kenya with GEF twice before and will be returning again in April has already been fundraising with her friends and family towards the house for a very special reason. It will be built in memory of her late father and hero, John MacGregor who passed away last year. Ali, her family and friends hosted a fundraising party in 2018 and has already raised £1,640 towards the £4,600 cost of the house.
The second aspect of the fundraising will help us support one of 32 families to start up a business which will enable them to become self sufficient. Daniel is a single father of 6 children following the passing of his wife during the birth of their twins Mary and Anastasia. £280 will enable us to help Daniel transform part of his home into a retail shop and start generating income of is own to support his family. We predict this will give him an annual income of around £1,350.
If you are unable to attend the Health & Wellbeing Fayre in March but want to donate, you can visit my Totalgiving fundraising page at https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/gillianwatt . Thank you for your support. I look forward to sharing photos and thoughts from the visit when I return.
Thank you for reading this far! AndBreathe... is a very exciting venture and I am glad you have joined me on the journey!