Wilson Golf Course, Los Angeles, CA
Happy Friday! It’s a three day weekend in America and I know lots of people have fun things planned. Most of my family is going to D.C. this weekend to visit my brother during the last weekend he can give White House tours. I so wanted to go but I have part three of my yoga immersion starting Wednesday and with homework on top of that I knew it would be too much. I love California but sometimes I wish it wasn’t quite as far from my family back east.
This weekend I am planning to get in lots of activity, walking, yoga, bike ride as well as work on May’s Newsletter and a couple of recipes. I also, unfortunately have a table covered in stacks of papers that I have to sort through. I did a great job today of getting the living room closet packed and organized. The papers were too much today. Papers are my weak spot. I have a tendency to let them accumulate and then I get overwhelmed and don’t want to deal with them at all. In the past I have asked friends to come and keep me company while I sort papers, that always worked well. I am going to attempt to sort them without any of my friends at the house. I know I can do it, it’s just a matter of sitting down and not getting up until it’s done! I realize this sounds easy but I assure you it is very arduous for me!
Something I have been thinking about recently is how important it is to shake things up in our lives. It’s easy to get into a monotonous routine, even if it is one we like a great deal. In order to really grow and stretch beyond what we think we are capable of we need to switch it up from time to time. If we want to have open minds we must step outside of our comfort zone and try new things. Here are five activities you can do that will challenge you in positive ways and help to shake things up:
1. Try something new. This one is huge. There is much research that proves by trying new things we stimulate our brains and this enables us to keep our minds sharp as we age. Play a new instrument, do the NYT crossword puzzles, sign up for that foreign language class you’ve been wanting to take. Whatever it is, jump in and don’t be afraid to not get it/do it perfectly the first go around.
2. Learn about other spiritual practices. Lately I have been having a lot of fun checking out different temples and meditation centers around Los Angeles. It is endlessly fascinating to me how different things can seem at first but how almost everyone has a similar message. While I love my personal spiritual practice seeing what else is out there and meeting new people along the way has taught me a great deal. Check out a new temple, church, or mosque when you have a chance – there is much to be gained.
3. Learn a new exercise or sport. So confession time, I actually grew up playing golf but in all fairness I haven’t seriously been to a driving range in years over a decade. The photo above is from the range near my house. An old friend and I met there earlier in the week. We had a great time. It was much more difficult than I remembered and takes such concentration – golf is a great sport for meditators and yogis! I have decided to add golf to the activity roster for the summer and am looking forward to my first game. Learning to use my body in a new way will no doubt enhance my other physical activities. I know I will learn new things about myself in the process as well.
4. Take 24 hour internet detox. Scary I know. Difficult yes. I have taken several of these in the last couple of months and they have done wonders for me. We are so connected and addicted to the internet, giving ourselves a break is one of the best things we can do. Pick up a book! Go for an evening walk! See a friend in person instead of reading about them on Facebook! Each time I take an internet detox I feel refreshed and more focused when I get back online. It’s so easy to get lost in the world wide web, take a full 24 hours to live in the real world.
5. Be of service in your community. I am sure we all know how good we feel when we help other people or non-profits we care about. Helping others has been shown to reduce stress and it gives a sense of purpose and meaning to our lives. Do a little research and find out about volunteer opportunities in your area. Maybe you could plant some local gardens, clean a park, visit the elderly at a nursing home. Whatever it is pick something and commit to it. Be mindful of what you can give and don’t stress out if you are very busy at the moment. Maybe you can take in the trash cans in your apartment building for the next month. Stay open and willing and opportunities will present themselves.
I hope you will take these suggestions to heart this weekend and consider shaking things up in your life. Summer is so close and this is the perfect time of year to take on new ideas, projects, and activities. I am going to finish cleaning the house and get ready for the weekend. I wish everyone a lovely Friday evening and see you back here tomorrow or the next day if you’re taking an internet break ;)