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No more sitting…

It was pointed out to me that I may need to change the name of my blog, Sitting on the Bench. You see, for the next six months I will be training for the ultimate endurance challenge, the Dublin City Marathon…. I KNOW!!!

A few weeks ago I came across Amphibian Kings facebook post searching for six people, who have never run a marathon before, to train with them for the Dublin Marathon in October.

I replied “Ooooh, interesting”. I mostly meant interesting for other people, not me! And then….. peer pressure got to me!

And with that, I wrote my application and pressed send. In it I mentioned the farthest I have run is 10miles three years ago and I basically haven’t been running since. That I am carrying a little weight that I’m trying to lose, again, and that I think to run a marathon is the ultimate endurance test for your body and mind.

A few weeks later, I got an email asking f I wanted to run for 26.2 miles… and I said yes!

I feel apprehensive but excited. I am currently jogging 5km 2-3 times a week and I find it hard! Running doesn’t come naturally to me. In my youth I was a swimmer and a gymnast and never really played sports that required me to run. So basically, I’ll be learning how to run on my journey to the finish line of the Dublin Marathon!

Oh dear Lord!

I’ve purchased a snazzy Garmin Forerunner 235 running watch which will help me track everything, make the experience a little more fun of course make me run faster!

I’m looking forward to meeting the five other people who are joining me on this journey. They all met last night but I’m away with work in Galway so I missed our first meet up. GUTTED.

From the little I know about my new running buddies I am the least experienced member of the #Operation42K team. I will need to keep reminding myself to train to the best of MY ability and to try my hardest not to compare my pace, targets and goals with the others. I look forward to their support and offering them mine throughout and I expect we may break WhatsApp!

Every year me and my two children, Martha, 9 and Bill, 6 go to cheer the marathon runners on. And every year I am in awe and in a state cheering these strangers on! To think this year they will be cheering me on is nearly too much to handle.

You can follow my journey here and on @jilloherlihy on twitter and instagram – there will be a few vlogs too.

Knuckle down… this is going to be one hell of a ride!

 

A meditation for anyone anywhere

I found this simple yet very effective mediation online. It can be done anywhere and any time – I do it in the morning before I get up and at night before I sleep.

meditation

 

I dedicate each inhale to myself and with each exhale I think of others that may need love, peace and compassion. It’s really powerful and a fantastic exercise in self care.

Give it a go and if you like it share it with others.

A little headspace

My exploration of everyday mindfulness is going very well. I take a number of moments throughout the day and check in and experience those moments.

I have found that it is slowing time down a little, which is a good thing. My new experiences of the everyday stuff is all of a sudden having meaning.

Little thinks like:

  • Closing doors
  • Blowing out a candle and watching the smoke drift
  • Walking from the car to my office
  • Eating food

I have also started using the Headspace app. Well, if I’m being truthful, I downloaded it months ago and abandoned it after one ten minute session but I’m back to it now and onto session six.

The first ten ten-minute sessions are free and it’s a great introduction to mindfulness. Everyone can do it and listening to Andy Puddicombe’s voice guide you is really quite pleasant too!

The problem I have is finding ten minutes in the day to do it. I am absolutely not going to lie to here and say I’m so busy in work and at home that I simply don’t have a minute to myself, because I do.

It’s making the choice to practice mindfulness instead of getting sucked into my phone or the tv. It’s a choice that I sometimes forget to make and also one I choose not to make.

But when I choose to practice it always makes me feel.

No, I didn’t leave out a word at the end of that last sentence. Mindfulness meditation sometimes makes me feel strong and powerful, sometimes I feel weak and small, sometimes I feel great and sometimes I feel deflated.

I never seek out any of the above but what will be revealed will be revealed and it really is great to just feel.

So I’ll continue on with Headspace and once I reach my ten session limit I intend to buy (get a present from someone lovely for xmas!) a few months worth and see how I go and if I can manage to make it a daily priority.

So if you want to dip your toe in the mindfulness waters, give headspace a go…. the app is free and if it’s not for you, just delete it!

 

 

Mindfulness in the mundane…

I’ve just taken part in the 31Day #MindfulnesssSummit organised by Melli O’Brien aka Mrs.Mindfulness.

It was a fantastic opportunity for a newbie like me to have daily access to so many experts in so many fields of mindfulness. The very last day, yesterday, Jon Kabat-Zinn hosted a 45min mindfulness meditation which was live streamed to over 250,000 people from all over the world.

So last night, with a fireworks display going on outside my window, I tuned into Jon’s voice and to my breath for 45 minutes. It was so amazing to think I was one of a quarter of a million people doing the exact same think at the same time.

In the short time I’ve been exploring this world of mindfulness I’ve found it more comfortable to concentrate on my breath rather than my body. I’ve done a few body scans and I find it very challenging to stay with my body. More about this later though.

In the middle of the meditation with Jon he invited the participants to go to our body, our whole body but to put out a welcome mat to welcome ourselves in. Something about Jon saying this about the welcome mat made the experience much more comfortable. I think it was that I was being gentle and kind with my approach and also not diving straight in – it was a slower process and I’m not sure I moved passed the mat…. but I will.

There were so many useful and helpful little tips I took away from the Mindfulness Summit. Here are just six of them that stick with me daily.

  1. Mindful Eating – Try to always eat mindfully and, this was a big one for me, always sit to eat. No more eating at the fridge or press! Since I’ve started trying out mindful eating I smell my food, I see my food and most importantly I taste my food. I feel the heat or cold of the fork I’m using and how the food feels in my mouth. It makes food so much more enjoyable and I’ve noticed when I am mindfully eating I eat a lot less and I don’t feel the need to finish my meals.
  2. Finger Mindfulness Exercise – An easy, quick, child friendly mindful meditation that can be done anywhere – close your eyes, hold one hand up, with your other index finger trace from the outside (side of your hand) of your baby finger up to the top whilst breathing in, then when tracing down the other side of the of the finger breathe out and do this, moving up and down the outside and inside of your fingers whilst breathing in for going up and out for going down each finger and do it for both hands. It takes a few minutes and can be done anywhere at any time.
  3. Move or don’t move – if and when you feel uncomfortable during a sitting do you move or do you explore the uncomfortableness? I’m still working through this one but I’m on the ‘move’ side at the moment. I’ll explore the ‘explore’ side too in time!
  4. Deep breathing – breathing right down into your pelvis. Most people breathe into their chest but if you open up your throat and breathe past your chest and on into your tummy it delivers a much deeper breath – now try to imagine a diamond shape between your hip bones, pubic bone and coccyx – once you can imagine this diamond try breathing down into this area. It’s amazing!! It is such a different way of breathing and fantastic for pain management.
  5. Thoughts will come – my expectation was that I had to chase away any and all thoughts that came to my mind whilst I was sitting. I was delighted to learn that I shouldn’t chase them away or give out to myself for not ‘doing it properly’. Everyone has thoughts. My interpretation was that I need to recognise my thoughts as either the past or the future and then chose to concentrate on the present… and it works!
  6. Mindfulness in the mundane – You don’t need to ‘sit’ to practice. There is also informal practice available to us all throughout the day. You can practice mindfulness whilst in the shower, folding clothes, washing dishes or whilst walking – “Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet” Thich Nhat Hanh. My current favourite is when brushing my teeth… I pay attention to each tooth when brushing on the top, back and front and it’s a lovely experience for me and my teeth!

The timing of The Mindfulness Summit couldn’t have been better. I love to research areas that interest me and I have been presented with over 31 experts in the field to explore and learn from. I am sure Melli O’Brien will host another summit in the future so if you have any interest in mindfulness then don’t miss out!

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