Being pulled in different directions seems to be the norm nowadays. Handy in a yoga class but not so handy when you want to get something done. There is an approach to life where you accept that you are not in control and just focus on dealing with whatever life throws up. Alternatively there is the approach to life that focuses on shaping your future and NOT accepting where you are. Neither are completely wrong or completely right. As human beings even if we like the idea of being in one of these camps we might find ourselves bouncing between the two.
"To live with coherence means that thoughts, feelings and actions all go in the same direction." said Pétur Gudjónsson in the book 'Living coherently'.
Personally I continue to explore ways of improving my daily life so that I can be the best I can be and serve my others. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. Getting some of the basics right makes a lot of difference though and makes me more resilient to whatever life throws at me. Living coherently for me means optimising the basics of life wherever and whenever I can. (At the same time being realistic that for most of the time I won't be coherent!)
My basics for moving towards coherent living ...
1, Sleeping - In a previous post I have discussed the importance of sleep. I have also started reusing the 'Sleep Cycle' app so I wake up at a better time in line with the natural cycles of sleep. Regularly getting 8 hours of sleep can have a massive impact on your life - mood, creativity and performance. The coach Tony Schwartz says 'sleep is more important than food'.
2, Thinking - If something bubble up that needs attention write it down somewhere. Capture it so that you can process it later. If your thoughts are just taking you out of the moment and are an unnecessary drivel of stuff just try to observe them dispassionately. This is why we practice meditation. If you need to think to organise something then think it through using a system that works for you. I use the Natural Planning Model from David Allen's Getting Things Done and mind mapping. Don't get stuck in your thoughts - there's a lot more to you than thoughts.
3, Creating - Some times are easier to create than others. Build up to creativity by sustaining your inspiration through blogs, videos, audiobooks, events, meetings and don't forget people and long walks. Whether you think of yourself as being creative or not, you are. Read more about the habits of an artist here.
4, Eating & Drinking - We all have different bodies and have different issues so I won't recommend anything specific. What I will say though is that what you eat and drink has a big effect on how you feel. How you feel has a big effect on how you live and relate to others. To ignore this is pretty stupid. And yet I do it all the time! I know a little bit of chocolate feels great and a lot makes me feel sick. I know a little bit of cheese is delicious and too much makes me feel sluggish. I know a well made coffee is a pleasure and that too much coffee makes me feel irritable. So to eat and drink coherently for me means to notice this reality in my mind and use this understanding to avoid these everyday pitfalls.
5, Exercising - When we exercise regularly we notice a number of ways this impacts our lives. Not just our weight or our fitness but how we digest our food better, how we sleep better, how our love life improves, how we feel more motivated, how better ideas flow more easily. So don' make exercise just about weight and fitness it's a lot more important. Regular group classes are great but a little every day makes a lot of difference. Walk, run, swim, ride ... Look at some of the cool gadgets that can motivate you by tracking your activity like Nike Fuel Band, Jawbone UP and Fitbit.
6, Doing - Coherent doing for me is a lot about matching your mood and energy levels to tasks. Even 'not-doing' is a conscious choice to do 'not-doing'. So if what you are doing isn't flowing try changing task or maybe asking whether what you're doing needs to be broken down into bite size tasks. Knowing what you're like and what times of the day suit you for different things and taking that into account can make better use of your time and energy.
7, Breathing - We do it all the time or we're dead and yet we take it for granted. Notice how you're breathing now. When was the last time you checked in with your breath when you weren't in a yoga class? Getting into the habit of checking in with our breathe a number of times a day can make you more mindful and also give you the opportunity to shift your mood with some deep belly breaths. My new biofeedback app Breathe Sync will help you breathe coherently with your heart rhythm and track your inner wellbeing. It's in testing at the moment but you can read more about it here.
8, Being - You know when you're 'in the zone' or 'in flow' or 'at one' or 'just right' or just 'plain happy'. You lose a sense of self, you stop thinking, you just are. Feeling, breathing, being alive fully in the moment. This is why I strive to live coherently so I can just 'be' more.
Please let me know how you plan to live more coherently. Comment below or email me.