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The Power of Conscious Habits

February 14th, 2024 Guest Posts

This is the second of three guest posts being written by for us by Ninakaye Taane-Tinorau, renowned speaker, music manager, yoga teacher, and advocate for positive change. You can read her first post here, or watch her Sobriety Chat here. Photo credit: Pose of Immortality, taken by Beka Maree at the meeting point between the Waikato and Waipaa Rivers.

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Kia ora and welcome to blog two, written as I lead up to celebrating 23 years of sobriety on my 50th birthday, which is 23 April 2024.

For this blog I thought I would share a little about how important being a creature of conscious habit has been for me, and reveal some of the habits I have adopted and practice in order to keep me healthy and sober.

At some point on my recovery journey, I worked out that all the things I did each day, all the choices I made, all the habits I practiced, though sometimes so small, tiny even, had the capacity to lead me either down a path of wellbeing, or alternatively, down the path of “dis-ease”. 

Typically, the habits that led me to dis-ease were unconscious, therefore a little prickly to identify and beyond. Adopting a very conscious approach was required if I was to overhaul my habit system and create a pathway towards not only the sobriety I wanted to maintain, but a prime level of wellbeing also.

On reflection, my list of conscious habits has grown over the years to include a variety of options, as I have identified what things work for me and what don’t. I have learnt that there are some habits which must remain fairly rigid. Likewise, there are some that can be more fluid. Sometimes, as opposed to the “what” nature of the habit, it is has been more about the ”when” or the “where”. 

Some of the conscious habits that I practice are:

·      Morning karakia (traditional prayer) – this can some days be as simple as acknowledging and being grateful for my sobriety, other days as elaborate as focussed meditation and / or full recital or impromptu offering.

·      Connect with and give thanks to our taiao / environment – I try to do this most days, be it stopping at our beautiful river, or just walking barefoot (preferred after years of wearing heels in the sex industry), as I go about my day. Giving thanks to taiao reminds me every day that I am only a small part of a much bigger picture. Placing the environment at the centre helps me find the balance that my addiction didn’t allow me to experience in life.

·      Super simple breakfast – if I feel like eating upon awakening, I deliberately simplify the start of the day and get some solid nutrients into my system by only eating 1-2 pieces (maximum) of whole fruit for breakfast, or making a fresh juice in my juicer out of veges and fruit.

·      Meal intake – I commit to only two meals a day (if I have a Super Simple Breakfast that becomes one of them), as I have found that 3 meals is too much for me. 

·      Snack – I ensure I always have healthy ready snacks in my pantry and in my car – bulk sunflower seeds, raw nuts, organic corn chips, fruit, veges etc. This helps to prevent me heading down the lane of being hungry then craving, which in the past I found then easily led me back into a mindset or practice of addiction.

·      Vitamins – I take a small bunch of them every morning and a little at night too.

·      Drink – where possible, I carry a bottle of water and / or hot cup of herbal tea with me (and tea bags), and these are the only two things I drink.

·      Exercise – 5-6 days a week I ensure I go for a walk, train at the gym or practice yoga at home. I give myself these options because then there is no excuse whatsoever for me to do nothing (unless its just that I want a break which is fine), as these options cover off any possible perceived limitations or barriers on any given day.

·      Time with my children / grandson – this is last on the list but definitely not least as it is one of the things that keeps me the most grounded and also focussed on my sobriety purpose. When I was in my addiction phase, I would hide from my family, and so I have identified this as being one very important aspect of my sobriety, to not hide and to keep a solid constant line of communciation and contact. If I don’t get to see at least one of them on a day for any reason, then I make sure I call at least one of them.

These are really just some of my habits, and I hope my sharing inspires others to reflect upon, examine or dream up ones of your own to help you on your journey. To be fair, anything goes when it comes to creating conscious habits – so long as they are something that leads us towards wellbeing, as opposed to dis-ease.

Please drop me any thoughts below – I look forward to hearing what your conscious habits might be that help to keep you on track with your sobriety. 

Ngaa manaakitanga

Ninakaye

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