Never before has the idiom "clever like a fox" carried more credence than now. Thanks to Dutch nature photographer Roeselien Raimond, we all know definitively what we always believed in our hearts to be true: foxes really are brilliant. Case in point? The stunning "Zen Foxes" photo series — which, let's face it, proves that these adorable creatures have seriously got their lives together. "Foxes are smart," she tells Bustle of the inspired project. "Unlike some species, they don't spend a lifetime wondering how to become happy. They rather spend a lifetime just... being happy."
To create the collection, Raimond immersed herself in the animals' habitat, at which point she realized she would need to think like a fox to capture the relaxed essence of these furry fellows. "If you are too eager, an animal will sense that eagerness and will remain alert. They know you want something from them, which makes you a potential danger. But if you manage to take things as they come, by just enjoying the beautiful nature around you, who knows what might happen," she told Bored Panda.
And because that's a philosophy I fully endorse, I decided to dig up some tips to help you channel your inner zen fox — each illustrated, of course, by one of Raimond's foxes.
For something so deceptively simple, inhaling and exhaling can be profoundly calming. It releases tension, helps your re-center your thoughts, and holds you in the present. Zen blogger and author Leo Babauta suggests creating a screensaver that simply says "breathe" as a gentle reminder to practice mindful breathing throughout the day.
Do you ever feel bogged down by... stuff? We're so prone to accumulating — possessions, worries, roles, responsibilities — when, really, we should be following the clever fox's lead. "They smell the fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun on their fur, close their eyes, and then it's a matter of just being there. Simple as that," says Raimond.
Here is a life-altering concept: Relax is a verb. It is an action! We don't have to feel guilty for relaxing. Activities such as reading, taking a stroll, and even lounging in a hammock are all examples of relaxation. And, go figure, they all fill you with a sense of calm and contentment.
It's difficult to find inner peace when it's being blocked by negative thoughts. "When you accept what is you stop feeding energy into resisting what is," explains positivity guru Henrik Edberg. "You don't make a problem more powerful and sticky in your mind. Instead, somewhat counter-intuitively, when you accept what is, it loses much of its power. It just is."
We're all familiar with the expression, "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life." So, why is it more of us don't take that advice and run with it? Says yoga and spiritual advisor Gabrielle Bernstein, "When you focus on what is joyful, you bring more joy into your life. Take time to engage in your hobbies, read inspiring books, or listen to music that you love. You don't have to wait for inspiration: Find it by focusing on what gets your mojo working, and you'll energize every area of your life."
And the greatest of these, as they say, is love. Too often, we're so busy working at living a good life that we forget to actually live it. Be compassionate. Peace is a choice, and few things are more restorative to the soul than kindness. When you catch yourself feeling too rushed to so much as utter a simple hello in the direction of a wayward stranger, stop and get your Zen Fox on, girl.
Images: Courtesy of Roeselien Raimond/www.roeselienraimond.com