Adventure, Contentment and Making a Difference

I have been working on my values again, really honing in, and doing some work just to figure out what is really going to light me up.

Here I am looking at Adventure, Contentment and Making a Difference and wondering where I can take these foundational, non negotiables (not really I word). I want to start making my life decisions based on these. Obviously I can’t make everything an adventure, or continuously feel like I am making a difference, but it’s high time I put them as a priority. Just looking at the words on the screen I see adventure and making a difference as obviously very action orientated, then I would like to assume that contentment naturally follows.

With that in mind, I wonder where my next adventure will take me, and how I can start making more of a difference. What jumps to mind first is in the past I have perhaps bounced ideas back and forward with others and this hasn’t worked, maybe because I was seeking approval in some way, afraid of my own ability to make clear decisions. I think there is a lot to be said for keeping quiet, holding back on telling everyone and the world about your plans. Yes, I have talked in the past about an accountability partner being important, but you have to pick this person very carefully. Maybe if you do want someone as a sounding board, pick a person that doesn’t know your entire history who can act as your non judgemental mentor, but other than that, maybe your best laid plans should be closely guarded.

I have also been listening to Mel Robbin’s audio book The 5 Second rule, and like every book you’ll agree and disagree with lots of it. However I am definitely taking some great tools away. Mel’s description of the rule is as follows.

If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.

In your head you must count, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and then move into action, sounds simple but she has a ton of evidence and stories describing just how effective it can be. You can start simple as well, perhaps you are a snooze button addict, so maybe try something a little different tomorrow. As soon as the alarm goes off, say 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and get your ass up, it really is a great call to action that can build momentum, and then who knows what big changes you can eventually make. We all know that feeling of, yeah I really should do such and such, then we think about it too long, our brain goes into overdrive and all the excuses come up, but what if you literally don’t give your brain the chance. Certainly an interesting concept. One more point before I leave you, this is obviously to be used in circumstances that you know you should be acting a certain way, you know that uncomfortable calling that you all to often put off for “another day” that’s your trigger to use it. This isn’t about a snap decision to clear off and get married, haha.

I am lucky enough to be a morning person, so snooze isn’t my call to action, but the next time an opportunity comes up, I’m on it, promise!

Karen

Adventure, Contentment and Making a Difference

How to Poop Properly

Has this ever crossed your mind before? I doubt it, it’s a standard activity though, we all gotta do it, we gotta poop, and normally in a bog standard toilet. Now just bare (pardon the pun) with me, don’t call me crazy, you’ve maybe already seen this fun video circulating the web, and we can all have a laugh at it. However, this idea could be a life changer! I have just been reminded of the topic by listening to Shawn Stevenson’s The Model Health Show recent podcast. I guess the video and the image above are fairly self explanatory, but in Shawn’s podcast today he was interviewing the inventor of the squatty potty. Bobby Edwards is literally on a mission to educate and inform people on how to poop better. Now you may laugh, or even cringe and be disgusted. However, lets face it, it happens, and many people are struggling privately and this may be the key to a more enjoyable life. Bobby’s mother had struggled for years with constipation, literally most of her life, and it was making her miserable, especially having to rely on laxatives so much, not to mention the stress of being away from home and having to deal with everything. So to cut a long story short, they needed a solution, and boom came up with a life changing product. A plastic device that simply slips under the toilet and elevates your feel slightly. So what this does is straighten out the part of the colon that holds your waste, and pooping becomes so much easier, simples. I think most people assume diet is the culprit when there are problems in the bathroom, but you could be doing everything right, eating all the good things, but nope, still not working. Well perhaps your colon is sitting a little more bent than others and all you need is a change in position. An important point is that people assume we just need more fibre when we are in trouble, but we must realise that too much fibre can be a painful mistake too. Imagine even more bulk that cannot be easy eliminated! Too much info? Well I think it’s an important subject, at the end of the day this is waste that needs to be removed and we really don’t want it hanging around too long inside the body. At best we are uncomfortable, but this could also lead to painful haemorrhoids, heart attacks (by straining too much) it may even contribute to colon cancer.

Many years ago this is how we would have taken a poop, just by simply squatting, and if you think of a baby, it goes and squats in the corner and does the same thing. You can’t argue with genetics, haha. I’m just the provider of info. take of it what you will, it’s always good to have options 😉

Enjoy your weekend, and apologies if you are eating your dinner haha.

Karen

How to Poop Properly

Grounding

Hey,

barefoot-1394847_1920
*note, not my feet 😉

I posted a video on my Instagram last week and titled it grounding. Have you ever heard of it? Perhaps not. I’ll explain, now I heard of this quite some time ago, but I have only intentionally carried it out once.

Grounding or earthing is the act of connecting the human body to the surface of the earth (direct skin contact such as bare feet) with the premise of it having a number of health benefits. Research carried out in 2015 examined the possibility of the act reducing inflammation, immune response regulation, wound healing, and the prevention or treatment of chronic inflammatory and immune diseases. The findings showed that grounding improved sleep, by normalising your day/night cycle, reduced pain, reduced stress, shifted the nervous system into the more relaxed Parasympathetic state, increased heart rate variability, speeded up wound healing, and reduced blood viscosity. Now we certainly have some amazing results. I mean whether you think it’s woowoo or not, what’s the worst that can happens by having a stroll in the grass. It’s coming into the colder months here but sure a little bit of discomfort is also good for the soul.

I’m going to give it another go this week. Have you tried it?

Karen

Grounding

From Good Clean Chow to Karen McClintock

Hey there faithful reader, thanks for stopping by again. So I just wanted to do a quick blog post about the site redesign. You can’t half tell I’ve been heavily influenced by The Minimalists. Clean and super simple, and now there’s nowhere to hide, the content must speak, haha.. The older posts you will see below were all imported over from an old blog, my half secret one that I talked a little about on the podcast. Perhaps a little self involved as I was going through a bit of phase, but I thought it was important to have just a little peep inside my mind over the last few months. I promise from now on this site will be a little bit more about you and a lot less about me.

So update wise I’m really enjoying focusing all my attention on the podcast. Speaking of which episode 31 has just gone live today, so you can check it out here. I am talking to my good friend Neil McCallion, a creative coder about his take on productivity. The sound isn’t amazing, I’m still trying to get to grips with remote recording, I’ll get there though. All show notes found here too.

Here’s to more collaborations, and fun musings. Stay with me while I go on this journey.

K

From Good Clean Chow to Karen McClintock

Meditation Retreat

On Friday I set off on my very first meditation retreat up at a lovely estate called Lorne House in Holywood Co. Down. First things first I will tell you a funny story before I get to all the details of the weekend.

I arrived super early at 17:30, about half an hour before we were due to meet, standard Karen, I really am my Father’s daughter. Anyway, when I pulled up I thought to myself, ooh this looks very grand, pebbled driveway, all very plush, I could see cleaners inside, and assumed they were preparing for our arrival. I sat in the car for a bit, no-one really likes to be the first to arrive do they? I listened to an audiobook and texted my brother,  it came to about 6:05 and I still hadn’t seen anyone arrive. I thought this was a bit strange, so I got out, over night bag in hand and strolled in through the open front door. I walked down a short corridor, and past two very well decorated rooms, one with a massive wide screen TV, and the type of furniture that is straight out of a show room, or the type of room your parents call the “good room” and you’re not allowed in. Still no sign of anyone, I peeped into what was the kitchen and saw the cleaners at work, they didn’t see me, so I walked back out. As I wandered out to my car again, I saw a Porsche up near a double doored garage, and after a bit of pondering it dawned on me….. I had just driven into a private driveway, sat in it for half an hour and strolled into someone’s house, had a wee nosy and walked out again …. HAHA brilliant. So to cut a long story short, my smart phone maps app had taken me on the wrong route, also in my defence the house was called Lorne Estate, so I’m not totally stupid. With a bit of help on FB and using my sense of direction (sometimes it works) I found the correct place.

I was greeted by a couple of lovely people, one who I’d seen in my work before, Paul, a very welcoming man. I was shown 3 different rooms to pick from. I had paid for a single with ensuite, but ended up in a room with 3 beds, all to myself and no ensuite! All was good, I was happy and did have a bathroom across the hall to myself.

Supper was ready for us to help ourselves to, as a vegetarian retreat I was intrigued as to what would be on offer. I had some carrot and coriander soup and mountains of salad, I enjoyed it and didn’t miss the meat.

Below is a pic of the tiny little book I brought with me, (shows the rough schedule of the weekend) I wanted to document my time there as much as I could. You know yourself, it’s super hard to go back into your head and remember how you felt at the time of certain events. Plus I wanted to take extra notes on the specific meditations.

At 20:00 we had our introduction to the weekend. I have noted in my book that I felt peaceful and was looking forward to reading afterwards in the “‘silent room”. It was raining outside but I felt cosy in the grand house, I noted down what I wanted to leave the retreat with, and that was clarity & an open heart. I will come back to that again of course at the end of this post.

The meditation room smelt like perfume, on day two I figured it was probably incense. I went in and picked up my cushion and sat on a seat that I would continue to go to for the next few days. I used the cushion for my feet, I’ve been to a few classes in the past and that’s just what you do, I guess it helps lift your feet a little making it more comfortable. Instantly there was a really nice vibe in the room, everyone was there with good intentions and there was a real sense of we are all in this together. I felt grateful to be there and have the opportunity to experience something different.

Now my notes on the actual meditations are a little sketchy, it’s difficult to note down exactly what happens, they are long and your mind can wander and stay still throughout. I will try my best to describe regardless. The first session touched upon happiness being a state of mind, it lies within and not externally, we have probably heard this many times before, however it certainly doesn’t hurt to hear it again, and especially in a meditation setting. By meditating we create a clear mind, a mind that is pure and better equipped to deal with circumstances regardless of how difficult. First takeaway point, stuff doesn’t make us happy, perhaps that’s why we have been doing a clear out in the house, a cluttered house could well be a reflection of a cluttered mind.

I read for a little in the silent room after meditation, there were a number of Buddhist books available to leaf through, plenty of info. to ponder over as you head off to the land of nod. That being said I had a horrible first nights sleep, I always seem to be like that the first night in a foreign bed.

As I was so tired in the morning it was probably a blessing that we were to remain silent right up until 1pm, other than the guided meditations there was no spoken words. I sat down to my porridge and coffee at 7:45am, the silence was just beautiful. No forced sleepy conversation, just utter tranquil silence. I went for a walk outside in the beautiful grounds, I came across the Brownies play park, so naturally had a blast on the ropes, haha.. Walking around and not talking to people is the strangest experience, not awkward, just different, I probably could have done that the entire time, but then again when you have a nice mix of silence and genuine conversations it works well, I spent some more time reading in the silent room, I wrote down this one sentence:

Cherish others more than ourselves and you will be on the path to enlightenment

The next meditation focused on the fact that we can either accept a scenario for what it is or do something about it. So regardless of what it is we are going through we can be at peace by getting out of our heads and in touch with our hearts. If you truly want to change something, do it, and if you cannot, we must be at peace with it.

During the meditations there were long periods of silence and at first I found it difficult. Then on reflection it reminded me of the active listening skill I learnt in a counselling course. The more you listen and stop incessant chatter and distractions the more you open your mind and the more the thoughts you truly want flow in.

The next meditation I noted down even at the time is difficult to describe, I shall try my best. If you have read anything about Buddhism you will know there is a lot of talk around attachment. So we become more at ease when we are less attached to something or people. It doesn’t mean we love any less or start abandoning people in our lives, we just don’t base our happiness on them or rely on them to make us complete. I have obviously expanded on topics in my little book, but my expansions shall remain private 😉

Our first lunch together was an extremely spicy number, it even had me coughing, haha. Still it was a tasty veggie chilli type affair with lots of salad to go along side it. I was grateful for the hearty feed. Even though I was super tired I wanted to move my body so I did a little 20 minute yoga session in my room. I then sneaked out in the car to buy dark chocolate and decaf coffee. How very rock and rock, you probably expected me to say vino there.

The next sentence I wrote down in my little book was:

Heal my mental conundrum

Sounds about right eh? Silence the inner chatter and enjoy the simple things in life.

Sitting down to the next meditation I notice the woman in front of me doing a bent right over yoga pose, she must have been in her 60’s, puts my flexibility right to shame, must do work here, try harder! This meditation focused on kindness and giving plenty to others, I noted down that during it I felt like I had an enlightened moment, but it slipped away again, shame. I blame the tiredness, once or twice I did that jolt you do to stop yourself going to sleep.

Before dinner I was practically nodding off in the conservatory and one of the guys asked if I wanted to head down the road and pick some blackberries, of course, I said! Just a simple and fun thing to do, and they ended up in the apple pie for dessert later. Dinner incidentally was a veggie Thai curry, super tasty and hit the spot. At my table I introduced some people to my 100% dark chocolate and I think I have a few of them convinced!

Moving on to the evening meditation, this one centred around empathy for others. This was a good one, we often don’t understand other people’s reactions or moods because we are looking at them from our own point of view. Therefore what we must do is exchange ourselves with others. Or more eloquently put, “decent our mountain and ascend an others”. Everyone is going through their own troubles and inner frustrations, we cannot know exactly what is going on in there, however we can try to get out of own heads, take some space and think, why is this person acting in such a way? They have their own past that is playing on their mind, their own identity, and experiences. Empathy is a huge skill to acquire, and I want it!

I slept much better last night, in fact all the way through the night, perhaps because my body needed it, or maybe because I felt a little more content.

We started the day straight in with a super early meditation at 7:30 before breakfast. I don’t have many notes on this one, however it was about developing our compassion towards others. We all have compassion, we have it routed deep inside us, we maybe don’t always see it, or perhaps people bury it through years of negative beliefs and suffering. However we always have a choice, think of this equation for a moment

LOVE + AWARENESS OF SUFFERING = COMPASSION

If you love someone, and take a moment to be fully aware of their suffering you can bring compassion and help them move along their journey to enlightenment.

The very final meditation of the retreat was at 10am this morning, and pretty much all memory of it had gone, haha. Perhaps that’s called meditation overload, or I’m just not used to such much a lot at one time. The only thing I have noted down is to project myself as who I want to be.

I did have an interesting visual as I was doing this last meditation. I visualised coming out of myself and actually looking at me walking into the room and behaving how I would like to behave, does that make sense? So basically if I was watching me from a far I would want to be seen as welcoming, friendly, open and chatty. I want to be fun, and a compassionate listener, always there to help, be a person of wisdom and a bit of a sage. Sometimes you get so caught up in your own heard you forget how you are coming across to other people. You may say you don’t care about what other people think of you, but I do, I want to show up in the world as my best self, it’s important to me. This is not coming from a place of low self esteem, it is just who I want to be in the world. I think over the years I have become a little cold hearted, and closed off, and what good does that do anyone?

This weekend has as I had hoped been a real awakening for me. I may not have total clarity of where to take my life career wise, but I do know the type of person I want to show up as in the world.

Thanks for sticking with me on this long post..

K x

Meditation Retreat

Meditation Retreat

This weekend I have decided to do something very different, I am going off on a silent meditation retreat, well some of it is silent anyway.

I’ve never done anything like this before and even though I’m always saying how good meditation is for you I’ve never been able to do it for long periods of time. So to say this to going to be a challenge for me is an understatement!

Below is a little description of that the next few days will look like:

Friday
Supper from 1800

Introduction at 2000

Saturday (Silent until 1pm)

0730 – 815 Breakfast

0830 – 0945 Prayers for Meditation with Talk and Guided meditation

1130 – 1245  Prayers for Meditation with Talk and Guided meditation

1315 – Lunch

1600 – 1715  Prayers for Meditation with Talk and Guided meditation

1800 Supper

2030 – 2145 Prayers for Meditation with Talk and Guided meditation

Sunday (Silent until 0845)

0730 – 0845 Prayers for Meditation with Talk and Guided meditation

0900 – 0945 Breakfast

1000 – 1100  Prayers for Meditation with Talk and Guided meditation

I really have no expectations of the outcome, and that’s a good thing, I’m preparing to relax, meditate, walk around plenty (weather dependent) who know what this can do for the soul. I’m excited as it’s certainly not my average weekend, and I do love to shake things up from time to time.

When I say I have no expectations, I maybe lie a little, because what I would really love to come away with at the end is some real clarity as to where I’m going to take my life. I guess we don’t just go on retreats like this for the sake of it, there has to be a reason, a yearning and I guess some unanswered questions rattling around in our heads. There can be an awful lot of inner noise and chatter going on in there that it can be hard to think clearly. On a retreat like this where there is no other option but to stay silent, get off our tech devices and tune into our inner truth ….perhaps this is where the real magic happens.

I’m going to take a little notebook with me and try and write as much as I can. I want to note down what I experience as it happens, work out when I have a thought and what emotion I attach to it. This is about getting to know the real me, not the Karen that is always going with the flow, happy go lucky and not really listening to what she wants. Well will you look at that, perhaps I do have some expectations after all! Isn’t it amazing how thoughts seemingly come from nowhere as you begin to write.

Namaste

Signing off for the weekend.

K

Meditation Retreat

Going Off Grid

IMG_0587

I often talk about going off grid and really disconnecting from technology but never really do. Today the thought seems to be playing on my mind more than ever. Perhaps the fact that I dropped and smashed my iPhone prompted these thoughts! I am sending it off for repair and will therefore be without it for a few days. The thought actually excites me a little. Of course I won’t really be off grid as I’ll have my iPad & Mac for catching up with people, but that temptation to always whip out the phone when at a loose end will literally be taken away from me.

I have also just read a very short book called Live Your Truth by Kamal Ravikant. He writes so eloquently about living your truth (obviously). He discussing being away from it all and really allowing thoughts in our head to come through and then encourages us to action what comes up later when we are back to reality. Focusing mainly on sitting with pain and being uncomfortable, trying not to be resistant to these feelings, and instead letting them sit with us and then slowly pass over us. I’ll just let that ruminate with you for a moment.. let your thoughts happen.

I noticed there was a silent retreat happening near by me soon and I am seriously contemplating going for it. A weekend of mediations, reading, and walks just sounds beautifully simple to me and something that would be great to experience.

Chat soon

K

Going Off Grid