Meditation, acceptance and relinquishing control with Kevin Janks

“Trying to control our thoughts is like trying to put a meteor out with a garden hose.” 

Kevin Janks

No doubt we’ve all heard about the transformative power of meditation, but is it possible to access that power when uncertainty, stress and living through a pandemic make it difficult to simply sit still and breathe? (I’m asking for a friend ;)

In today’s episode I’m joined by friend of the show, friend of the Slow Beginnings retreat and founder of Centred Meditation, Kevin Janks, and we have a wonderful chat about the power of meditation – particularly in challenging times. 

Meditation allows us to decompress from ‘fight or flight’ mode and as Kevin explains, the time investment doesn’t need to be excessive. (Research has found that meditating for as little as 12 minutes a day can have a substantial impact on our well-being and mental health over the course of just three weeks).

Over the past couple of months I’ve really found myself grappling with the issue of control within what is ultimately an uncontrollable situation, so Kevin and I dig in to that too. He shares how meditation can be used to shift our perception of control, and by doing so, release us from the stress of trying to manipulate circumstances we have no control over. (It’s really helpful, I promise!)

We also talk about the ways in which meditation allows us to accept our current circumstances – not in order to accept and give up, but in order to accept the way things are in that moment and move on.

There’s so much to be learnt from meditation, particularly during such stressful times, and this conversation with Kevin is full of tools and takeaways that will hopefully help you. I hope you enjoy it!

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

As always, thanks for listening!

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Looking towards a ‘new normal’

“We could realise that what we thought was success, was just excess.”

As we begin to see some countries (like Australia) relax their pandemic restrictions and allow the general public back into society at varying levels, naturally our attention turns to what that new version of daily life might look like.

In this host-only chat, Ben and I discuss what we hope the ‘new normal’ might entail, whether we should simply be re-entering or re-booting society, and what each of us can do now in order to set that in motion. 

We also look at how Australia’s government is talking up a “snap back” to pre-virus ways of doing things, and how that seems to mean a re-entry to the old way of doing things and a return to old problems. Ben poses the question of what would happen if we instead rebooted back into society: rebooting the way we managed our finance, our view on the environment and even our values?

We have a juicy chat about what this means to us and our values, why we’ll spend the next couple of months reframing what success looks like and why we’re taking heart even amidst the pain and uncertainty. 

I also wanted to provide some journal/conversation prompts to help you question what our new normal might look like.

  • Picture a brighter, better future post-Covid
    • What does it look like?
    • How do I feel when I imagine it?
    • What excites me about it?
    • What about it feels aligned with my values?
    • Let this vision settle in to my heart, let it permeate the discomfort and uncertainty. Believe that it’s possible.
  • What specific experiences during isolation have I found positive?
    • What did they offer me that I want more of?
    • How can I make space for more of them post-lockdown?
  • What about ‘normal life’ am I not looking forward to?
    • What of those things are in my control?
    • How can I minimise them in my life?
  • Have my priorities changed as a result of lockdown?
    • What were they pre-Covid?
    • What are they now?
  • Has my idea of success changed as a result of the pandemic?
    • What was it pre-Covid?
    • What is it now?
  • Are there things in my life (worries, expectations, goals etc) that I can simply let go of in this new normal?
    • What are they?
    • How do I feel when I think about simply letting them go?
  • What’s one thing I can do today that will bring this vision closer?

I found this a really challenging, hopeful, cathartic conversation to have, and it really stirred a curiosity in me. If we could envision a better, post-Covid world, what would it look like?

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

As always, thank you for listening.

Love Slow? Support the show!

Loneliness and learning to look forward with Sarah Wilson

“In a crisis it is natural to want to be with one another in a messy collective…but for people living alone at the moment that is not possible.”

Sarah Wilson

Lots of airtime has been given to the stress that parents and carers of young families are currently under, juggling working from home or job loss with remote schooling and caring for kids too young to understand why everything is different. Amongst all of that there has been little time given to the question of how people in single-person households are faring, so in today’s episode I sit down with friend of the show, Sarah Wilson, to talk loneliness during lockdown.

You may already know a little about Sarah – she’s a former journalist, TV presenter, activist and author of one of the best books about anxiety and depression I’ve ever read, First We Make the Beast Beautiful. With her incredible depth of knowledge on living with anxiety, Sarah shares not only how she’s personally finding lockdown, but also why she thinks anxiety has given her an advantage to coping with and exploring what these strange times might mean as we move forward.

We also discuss how COVID-19 will impact Australia in terms of social, and economic issues, and given the work Sarah has done as a climate activist over the past few years, also dig in to the relationship between the pandemic and climate crises. There’s a lot of commonalities at play in both of them, and Sarah and I both believe it’s important to have challenging, uncomfortable conversations about how we might be able to create a better normal on the other side. Sarah offers her typically thought-provoking, status-quo challenging insights and shares why we need to be both “slow and outraged” as we move forward. 

There’s no doubt that the road ahead will be difficult. Resilience is something we’re going to need a lot of. The question really is, how do we build that kind of resilience, not only in ourselves, our friends, our families, but also in our communities and cities at large?

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

As always, thank you for listening.

Love Slow? Support the show!

Understanding your stress response and how to balance it out with Ellen Carr

“[I realised] there is empowerment in discovering your Dosha and understanding your stress responses.”

Undoubtedly we are living in times of heightened stress. Uncertainty, fear, anxiety, living in close quarters, loneliness – they’re all stressful experiences and in some way or another, we’re all grappling with them as we live through the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Today’s guest, Ellen Carr, is a holistic coach and yoga teacher who believes that Ayurveda – the ancient sister science of yoga – offers us a way to learn how to identify our stress responses, and importantly, how we can begin to balance them out. 

Just a quick note: Before you dive in to today’s episode you might want to take a moment to take Ellen’s ‘Dosha Type’ quiz, which you can find over here. (This will all make more sense once you listen to the poggie, but for reference, I’m tri-doshic and Ben is pretty much a 50/50 split between Pitta and Kapha).

During the episode Ellen and I talk about Ayurveda, how it can help us live a more well-rounded life and why it’s so important to identify our stress responses, particularly in a time of high stress. We also discuss:

  • What is a ‘dosha’ type and why is it an important part of Ayurveda?
  • How to discover your dosha
  • What happens if you’re split across two or even three dosha types 
  • Some practical actions that will help calm your nervous system, no matter what your dosha 
  • What are some of the more common stress responses? 
  • How do we identify our stress responses and work to balance them out? 
  • Why naming it can help in alleviating some of the stress we’re currently living with

It’s a really fascinating conversation on a topic I’ve never really explored before, always putting it in the ‘Intimidating’ basket, assuming I would never really understand it.

What I’ve discovered however is not intimidation but a real curiosity about Ayurveda, and particularly how seemingly simple changes to our day-to-day life can be so powerful in offering us peace and balance and understanding.

If you’re at all interested and curious about managing your stress during this time, I think you’ll take a lot away from my chat with Ellen. And if you want to dig a little deeper, take the test to better understand your mind, body and spirit, and see what you discover about yourself.

Enjoy! 

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

As always, thank you for listening.

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How to make remote learning work for your family with Sarah Durack

“In the current environment getting kids offline and in the outdoors learning should be a priority.”

Sarah Durack

Remote learning is one of the biggest changes many of us are facing as lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders continue, and after lots of conversations with other parents I know Ben and I aren’t alone in finding the transition challenging.

So when I received an email from today’s guest offering her time and expertise to speak about exactly this topic, I jumped at the chance. After all, this season of the podcast is all about bringing you good, relevant, and above all, helpful conversations as often as I can. Hopefully today’s episode fits the bill on all counts – particularly for any parents or guardians struggling with remote learning.

Today’s guest is Sarah Durack, is a high-school science teacher from an independent school in Sydney, who also has a background in tutoring. Sarah’s school has been using remote learning for a number of weeks and brings with her a whole heap of incredibly helpful, practical tips on how we can make this learning-from-home experience a little less stressful for everyone.

The tips and suggestions Sarah offers apply to kids of all ages, but I also know there are a lot of parents of older high school students who have specific concerns about their kids’ schooling. Considering my kids are still in primary school I wanted to dig in to some of the ways parents can support their older kids at the moment so Sarah and I delve in to that at the beginning of the episode. 

Sarah also offers some advice on how to best advocate for your kids if they are struggling under the current learning conditions, as well as how to make some of the learning (which for many students is almost 100% digital and online at the moment) more analogue.

Lastly, I wanted to find out how local communities can come together and offer help and show support to teachers during this tough time, and Sarah has some really lovely practical ideas to share.

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

As always, thank you for listening.

Love Slow? Support the show!