In my work as an Intuitive Consultant and Life Stylist, I often prescribe this to my clients…the importance of taking time to reconnect in silence with yourself. The answer I receive is often the same. “I know, I know. It’s important for me to take time for myself! I will." Unfortunately, many of them don’t take this route as a first choice. Why?
It’s ironic. We all claim to want peace and quiet, yet it seems that we find it easier and more comfortable to focus on "busy-ness” in our lives. When life has us feeling a bit overwhelmed, we go for the quick and easy fix…'outside things.’ Shopping, snacking, watching reality tv…whatever. These things make us feel better instantly, but their therapeutic affect wears off as soon as we walk out of the store, finish that bag of chips, or turn the tv off. None of these fixes helped us; we simply distracted ourselves with a different “busy-ness.” The end result? The same cluttered state of mind and the same to-do lists.
Paying regular visits to yourself (i.e. “getting centered”) is crucial to our authentic health, well-being and quality of life. In the past, when I would speak about my challenges in dealing with daily stress, many people suggested meditation. I’m amazed at how many people suggest this….but don’t actually DO it themselves. Meditation is amazing and so powerful, but there are very few people living in my world for whom it is natural or easy! As I write about this, I am reminded of a scene in the movie “Eat Pray Love.” Julia Roberts is sitting in the meditation chamber at an ashram in India, determined to clear her mind. Her mind wanders and she begins planning and visualizing how to decorate her own mediation room at home. “Stop that!” she says to herself “Clear your mind.” Ok, she is back in peace and harmony. But just for a moment. A buzzing fly begins to irritate her. She peeks at the clock. She’s only been sitting there for a minute. ARGH!
My suggestion is this. Start with baby steps; an introduction into meditation…through simple meditative activities. It worked for me. I can’t begin to express to you how powerfully centering it is for me to take an hour walk 3-4 times a week! Something so simple was my only link to sanity at times! Walking is vital to my peace of mind and, when I am unable to take regular walks, I see the impact it has on my ability to handle daily stress. It’s not pretty! So here’s my simple suggestion…and it’s excruciatingly easy…you just have to make the time to do it. Do an activity, any activity, that is simple and natural for you….one that you can do almost without thinking and one that you enjoy doing. I love to walk…I can walk and walk and walk for hours! Some people like to garden, wash their cars or clean their bathrooms….do what is easy and enjoyable for you. This activity should take place in a relatively peaceful, quiet setting and, in the beginning, you should perform this activity for 1-2 hours every time you do it. Why so long? Because, in the beginning, it will take a more time for your mind to stop swirling with thoughts before it gets into the eventual “Zen-like” state we’re shooting for. You’ll know when you get it. I think all of us have had moments of Zen moments in our life. Remember what it feels like? You are doing something peaceful and easy, flowing with it, not thinking about any one thing and, all of a sudden, you are at peace…no worries….completely in the moment of what you are doing….totally calm and flowing easily. Ahhhhhh…now that’s a Zen moment!
After you finish your activity, sit for a minute and take a moment to reflect before jumping immediately back into your life. Try to retain the same mindset you had when you were in your Zen moment. This is important because it allows you to transition back into your life; kind of like merging back onto a freeway smoothly. As you continue on in your day, you will probably notice that there is a different energy surrounding you. You are less easily caught up in the things swirling around in your life. Affectionately, I call this being the “Eye of the Storm” and THAT is the goal of paying regular visits to yourself; the ability to see all the things happening around you and handling each smoothly, peacefully and gracefully. It’s a beautiful thing when we can flow with life and not attach to reactive feelings of drama, anxiety and angst!
If the simple exercise I explained works for you, do it……and keep doing it. The more you do it, the better you get at it and the faster you get to that “Zen-like” centered feeling. This is just a start, but it may awaken a desire within you to take more steps in this direction…especially when you see what an amazing impact it has on your daily life! One step at a time…