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How do you check in with yourself?

I went to a sunflower farm at the weekend, it was lovely to spend an hour walking choosing which ones to pick and take home. What struck me was how different they all were from each other. Some were still in bud, waiting to grow and bloom, some showing the tips of yellow petals on the cusp of bursting forth, small new blooms, large established flowers, a hive of activity full of bees and other pollinators, and those that were starting to droop, about to go the seed and start their next phase.

I found myself appreciating the gifts of each stage of their development, valuing them for the different possibilities they contained rather than how they looked. The bouquet we brought home included a small but perfectly formed flower to sit on our altar, a few full of pollen to attract the bees into the garden and some larger ones, ready to be dried and left out for the birds to eat or harvested for next year’s seeds. As each bloom fades, the cycle will begin again.

Because I live to the rhythm of an academic year, September is always about new beginnings, change and transitions for me. Walking through the sunflowers reminded me that endings and loss are often part of the same process and that successful transitions will make space to honour both the old and the new. Finding the balance in the space between one thing and another, to hold the tensions and the possibilities that arise there, allows us to make our choices with intention. Even when things change around us, we can choose how we respond, but only if we first acknowledge the range of possibilities that already exist within us.

I often tell my clients that the first step to making any change is simply to notice what is going on inside. Learning to find the space in these moments to check in with ourselves and the world around us so we can make choices with intention from a place of knowing, even if we only know ourselves.

How do you check in with yourself? Is there a time, place or ritual that helps you listen?

Three sunflower heads at different stages of bloom growing from a single stem in a field. Text reads: How do you check in with yourself?

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