As the yoga class begins, I hit play on the Native American flute music and it wraps around my soul like a healing balm. I literally shiver and feel myself becoming more still. More “clicked” in to this present moment. I breathe deeply and scan the energies. What do we need today?
There are so many threads to smooth down at the beginning of a yoga class. So we always begin with a centering exercise that calms the panic and soothes the soul. But what if you have never meditated a day in your life? What if the thought of being still, quiet and centered just seems out of reach?
The truth is, misconceptions to meditation lead to you not wanting to try it. Most people envision a monk in robes at the top of a mountain sitting in stillness for days. In reality, we can calm ourselves and really click in to our bodies in as little as 5 minutes.
How can we add this practice to our day?
- Clear a space on your calendar for “you” time. Literally write it in if you have to. I suggest the first thing in the morning, but if you feel stressed at any point in the day, you repeat your morning practice.
- You do not have to sit on the floor, but you do need to straighten your spine, relax your shoulders. Put your feet flat on the floor if you are in a chair and sit up nice and tall. The eyes drift closed and focus on the point between your eyebrows.
- Start by taking 3 deep cleansing breaths. You can even repeat this mantra: I am breathing in (inhale). I am breathing out (exhale).
- As you breathe, focus on how your body feels. Lift your toes and place them flat on the floor. Put your hand on your belly and feel it expand like a balloon. Just breathe. If thoughts come into your mind, use my leaf imagery. Place these unwanted thoughts on the leaf and watch it float away from you. Peacefully down the stream.
- Allow your body to sit like this until you feel the tension release and a natural rhythm starts to take over.
- If thoughts have come in that you feel are really disturbing your peace, jot them down on a piece of paper after, and if you would like, you can use toilet paper to literally “flush” them away from you. Ahh. Release the you-know-what.
This practice can be done at any time, any place. If you are having a particularly stressful time right now, use the shower meditation as well. Each time you get in the shower, imagine the water washing off all thoughts of pain, anger, anxiety and only positive thoughts filling you up. Continue to filter any and all thoughts that do serve you including panic, worry, thoughts of the past or thoughts of the future. Keep focusing on the word contentment as you wash away worries.
Affirmations to use:
- All I need to do right now is breathe.
- I am safe and protected.
- A warm peaceful energy surrounds me and those I love.
- All is well.
- With every breath, I become more peaceful.
Interested in a meditative type of journaling practice to increase abundance and gratitude? Feel free to check out my e-book here. <<< There are over 30 focused prompts to lead your mind to a better focus as well as exercises for the mind, and additional affirmations to use daily.
Throughout the last 5 years, I have read lots of book trying to point me in the right direction of some “head clarity”. I have shared what I learned with friends hoping to help them too. But in the end, I realized, it doesn’t matter what I share with them because the quest to “find yourself” is a deeply spiritual trip that only you can make.
Maybe you have lost your job, or illness got in the way somehow and changed your entire future…but think about it as the BIG picture, it never really changed your future. This IS your future. What you are living right now. So how do we come to terms with that and find a way to move forward?
5 Tips on How to Find Yourself
- Who were you before this perfect version of what your life was supposed to be entered your head? Is it possible that this person is still under there and if so, how do we let her free? Take out your journal…because by now you know I am going to say that with some of my exercises. Write your name in a circle in the center of your journal page. Write all the words you would use to describe yourself…before you think you got lost. Everything you write must be something you like. I know, shocking, but you can do this. I believe in you. Take a few seconds to ground yourself by breathing in and out and really concentrating on your name. Bring up that vision of you. What is the first word that comes to mind? Write it and go from there.
- Did you remember your dreams? On the next page, think about what you wanted to do before you felt lost. Are you doing it? Again, if this is hard, close your eyes. Breathe. Center. Now write what comes to you as you think about what your soul desires. What steps are you making to get there? What small steps could you make to start going that way?
- Are you accepting what comes to you? If we drop everyone’s expectation for a minute…have you turned down something that came to you because of what others might think? There might be a lesson that you missed because of what others would think or an opportunity you walked away from that you wished you hadn’t. Don’t look back. Open new doors. Continue on. Write one thing that if it came to you, you would be open to accepting it right now! Breathe. Center. Write.
- How often do you practice stillness? Go back to your list of words that you wrote to describe yourself. Pick a word that you really, really like. I’ll start. “I am _____.” I am going to insert the word strong. So in my moments of stillness, I am going to think and affirm to myself that I am strong. No other thoughts are going to come into my head as I think about this. Similarly, you can use “I am healthy.” This puts you in control of your thoughts, not the other way around. They are thoughts. YOUR thoughts. Control them with this practice and remember who you are. Practice these Gratitude Mantras if you are stuck.
- Have you gotten out of your comfort zone, or are you digging in and making it a permanent residence? Interesting and fabulous things can happen when you get out of the comfort zone. This crazy yoga pose I had convinced myself I was not strong enough to do, well I got mad, hahaha, anyway, and then I tried it. I laugh because use your emotions for a higher purpose. Don’t let them take you down a level. So, use your fear of being uncomfortable just for a minute. Think about worst case scenario. For me, it was falling over and getting hurt. But I was safe because hubby, who might have made me mad, I don’t know, was my spotter. So he wasn’t going to let me fall..and when I realized that I could do it, well I said a cuss word really loud because I do that in my head, and sometimes they just come out of my mouth too. But I did the pose. How long could I have been practicing that if I hadn’t been afraid of failure because I was once not strong enough? I was my own worst enemy. So are you…but chances are, you know that.
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Like this post? There is more of this kind of thing in my new program 4 Weeks to Wellness. Or Head|Heart|Health tab at the top of the blog.
I looked up the word “judge” and tons of articles about the Bible teaching us not to judge appeared. Then a few more interesting pieces of research…saying that some people like to throw certain verses around to cover up whatever they were doing. At this point, I was getting warmer, but still didn’t quite find the point I wanted to make. So, in a nutshell, I want to tell you if you have commented saying that “We shouldn’t judge x,y,z” the truth is, you just judged. By feeling like you had to make that comment, yes, you could have held back, but you didn’t, you just judged the other person and felt you knew enough about them or the story to make that comment. The truth is, you sized them up and whatever the meaning was behind their words, off just a snippet of conversation.
So what can we do instead of trying to berate another person publicly?
- Don’t comment “bait”. It’s just not helpful nor is it appropriate on someone’s status. They are entitled to make their status update about whatever it is they want to. Sure, there are TONS of people out there who LOVE to share, comment, and make ridiculous posts. I get it. I do. Unlike. Unfollow. Unfriend. <<< poof. It’s like magic.
- Do you really know this person at all? As one gal said to me recently when trying to justify something that appeared on the book of face, what do we really know about anyone out there? Stop and consider this a moment before you comment. Have you ever had a conversation with this person in real life? Face to face? In a message? On the phone? Skyped with them perhaps? If the answer is no, you honestly have no basis on which to use your word of the day. You have no real frame of reference.
- Think about what was triggered inside of you. Why do you feel the need to comment? Take a step back and notice if it’s because it is a behavior you recently fought hard to push down in yourself. Maybe you have even had the same thought this person had, but quickly pushed it away so now it makes you mad. The emotions that it triggered made you realize you really don’t have a handle on your “stuff”. So it scared you.
- Your negative reaction stems from anger, jealousy or perhaps envy. This one is hard for those of us who are constantly working to reel in our “stuff”. As we try harder and harder to change our thought patterns, and work on our spiritual self, we start to notice when the ego side of us rears it’s head…and then we get in this thought pattern “ugly cycle”. Like it’s stuck on rinse, but not working. Say “Oh that’s an interesting feeling.” I am going to just notice it, and breathe deeply for a count of 5 and see what happens when I allow myself to release it. The trick here is to see if you can release it, so visualize the emotion being released like a balloon in the sky and floating away.
- Try to use “discernment” instead. Discernment is awareness/understanding without the emotional response, and often it is there, but buried under the emotional response first. So when we work to remove the emotional piece like we did above, what are we left with? Hopefully a clearer picture that is not as biased.
As with any journey, learning more about ourselves and what pushes our buttons can ultimately help us understand our fellow man. What we have to learn to do, is pause and reflect before we rise and react. ~Aimee Halpin