November 30, 2013

When Was Your Last True Pause in Time? Relaxing Into Your Whole Self...

Really though....When is the last time you gave yourself  twenty minutes to just relax?

It dawned on me this afternoon how 'seasonal madness' tends to begin right about now.

Well, at least for some...

I like to think of it as the matching book end to "the other seasonal effective disorder". 

Hehe. Just kidding.

Well, kind of. I am more so poking and laughing with myself and the rest of us that together combine to form this unstoppable {and special} little pod of winter celebratory people.

I like to get into the muck of it too, especially when it comes to social gatherings, crafts, and the like.

There is so much fun and appreciation to be had!

I mean hand made crafts with warming spices, natural found objects and glitter? This paired with coziness, candles, lots of music and people open to receive....

It kind of doesn't sound like there is much better than that.

At the same time, I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed by a tight headache and an influx in blood flow when looking at a project that "has to be done".   

Sometimes this task is worth placing under a more realistic dead line.

Sometimes it takes re-evaluating it into a corner of simplification.

Sometimes this "something" is just best when severed from the "to do list".

And, if you are as persistent and stubborn as I am... 

Sometimes all it takes is stepping away from the madness. 

So, for those of you who find yourself winding up already...I have a little request for you;

Soothe your soul, take a deep breathe and sip on a warm cup of herbal tea.

Sit quietly with your thoughts and nothing else...for twenty minutes.

If you have more time than twenty minutes, listen in and allow yourself to relax even more freely until your body and mind feel completely satiated.

Once you feel the weight lifting from your internal timer, you will find you have way more energy dispersed among all of your bodies; 

mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and soulful.*

If you are a creator, your creative juices may be flowing more genuinely.

If you are a care taker, your patience and compassionate energy may be flowing more sincerely.

If you are a community worker, your visions in planning and may be flowing more intuitively.

I know you have likely heard a rendition of this this, but, it is true: 

After every moment you take to love and nurture yourself with a pause,

you unearth a new level of energy that you have to love and nurture yourself and others...

These moments cultivate space and pauses in your life's breath. 

Your needs deserve to be understood and your gifts deserve to shine. 

With adequate rest and relaxation, we learn to appreciate others more than ever and vice-versa.

If there are people around you who don't get it. They don't get it.

You can't let this bring you guilt, or self-doubt. You can't let their choice to not make a pause affect your pause.

If anything, after sometime (maybe even years), you may find that they begin to join you.

I say this from personal experience.

I used to think that "doing" was the only way of "being", but, eventually, I found that this is only a small tid-bit in a broad spectrum of being-ness..."pausing" being it's antitheses.

Marty, my love and life-partner, is a professional pause-er.

I am totally teasing, he's a very hard worker and does a lot for the community in his free time.

But, all jokes aside, he still is really freakin' good at relaxing with a clear mind.

Relaxing is totally an art form. 

Relaxation is different from rest. 

You rest when you are tired. 

You relax when you still have energy, inspiration and flow. 

I have learned a lot from being around his ability to relax in a big fluffy chair with a book + hot cuppa before even considering his day off.

He has showed me without words that relaxation is an art form.

I recently noticed how I have taken many of portraits of him as he looks out the window watching beautiful things between breathes of his new favorite book.

I take them because he looks beautiful. I admire the moment that he not just savors, but, integrates into his balanced way of living daily. 

It took me a while to recognize this.

I come from a family of (mostly) fire-cracker woman who hit the ground running; they work very close to non-stop and make little time for rest.

Well, except for our "crash and burn" periods in which we totally rest (i.e. "play dead").

Sound like you at all?

 Let me clarify:

The fire cracker type works becuase they enjoy it. 

They love to create, make and do for others and for themselves. 

They often have a precise vision for a project and keep working until complete.

 If no one else steps up to the plate in the timeline that lay over their initial vision, they put on that extra hat to get the job done.

Sometimes they feel a bit gruff in the moment, but, when it is all done and perfect, nothing makes them happier!

Being a sister of the fire cracker trice can be inspiring training for care-takers in the making. There are always people around you who need time and space to rest, so limitless opportunities for practice as a child.

I was a little kid who ran hot baths, lit candles, decorated and tried to tidy up the house to make life less-stressful. I often recall asking my mom to rest. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't an angel, this is just a small aspect.

To relax myself as a child, I would also take hot baths, huddle in my room with my piles of books from the library, my journal, collages and music.

This lasted through much of my life.

Until...finally, when I was around 23 the fire-cracked gene really kicked in. I started to work like mad to pull my life together.

There was no rest for the weary.

I was so tightly wound, that when I was on a roll of "getting shit done",  I would barely even pause to pee.

Yes, this may be too much information, but, I know some of you can relate. 

So, I confess...

If you can relate...I encourage you to break into step one...

...take advantage of those moments to rest on the lou. 

See it as an opportunity to take a deep breath. Let the flood gates open, and call it a break. 

If you feel like you are slacking, bring a note pad and paper and write yourself a note that can logically explain reasons not to let yourself pee.

Realize that, unless you are just dying to wear that very first pair of diapers to compliment your worn out bladder bits, there really aren't any.

It's the little steps. 

Anyhow, It did not take long for Marty to discover that I was a a half-creature from the fire cracker clan.

Starting my day off  by organizing and cleaning my house helped me feel calm and in control of my day. I would wake up and make a cup of tea with Marty so that I could enjoy it "just after I get this one more thing organized".

Only, my tea cup most often ended up full and cold hours later.

And, my creative projects? Totally pushed to the wayside.

Apparently the ritual of tea making was enough to soothe my soul...

Or, was I totally missing the point of what it means to relax....

Sound familiar?  

Anyhow, arty and I have this running joke on how the proverbial soundtrack of our lives is a blend of his life theme song, "Old Man River", and my theme song, "The Flight of the Bumble Bee".

If you are in a mental state that feels unscathed by chaotic sounds, you should totally play both songs together in the links above. It is quite the morning duet.

Four years into idiosyncratic Sunday mornings spent together, Marty finally confessed that he would drink my cold cups of tea for me.

I didn't believe that I would leave dirty cups around the house (delusional) and eventually I busted out laughing.

I didn't even recognize how I wasn't having my tea!

After this, I really knew that I officially lost my ability to allow myself relax on my own with a cup of tea.

I mean, I did it a lot for years growing up in my life when I had time, but, once I opened my own business, I kind of lost my ability to casually wind down on my own outside of hot baths.

Yes, I would schedule in special, epic, "self-care" days, but, those were out of the ordinary.

I had to re-learn. 

Relaxation is an art form that should not be disturbed with side projects.

Relaxation is a blurry whimsical focus that is to be savored daily. 

Even if for only 20 minutes

Yes, you do deserve this.

If you are one to put relaxation on hold, I ask you to try it out this weekend. If you somehow fail, then try, try again :)

Consider what it might feel like if you allowed yourself this much extra time to yourself once a week, or even once a day. 

I mean it, really think about it! 

What might it feel like? 

What might it look like? 

Like exercise, this is the kind of habit that you choose to cultivate and make time for. 

Your moment to pause in time will not build itself.

You may need to re-evaluate, reorganize, or re-hack your to-do lists.

If you work best with accountability, make a little affirmation of sorts here. 

Let me know what kind of tea you will enjoy...or if you don't like tea, let me know how you allow yourself to relax to for at least twenty minutes in the next twenty-four hours.

Some Other Heart Shining Ways To Pause Time:

  • Enjoy a slow walk in nature or your neighborhood. Appreciate the little things. 

  • Take warm bath. Know what it is to nourish your cells with deep slow breathes. 

  • Sit with the leaves and the trees. Listen to what they have to teach you.

  • Stretch gently for twenty minutes. Light a candle, burn some incense, release your thoughts. 

  • Soak up your favorite sounds through some headphones to tune everything out. If you can't stop your mind...start out by writing. This is one of my very favorite ways to welcome in an energy shifts of relaxation.

A Few Essential Oils Ideas To Relax and Inspire

Many of the methods of pause mentioned above do well with hot tea or essential oils of choice {in house or to go}.  I will make a little list of essential oil blend ideas for you to try out at the end of this post.

And, as always, I am happy to craft up a special essential oil blend just for you to support you in your new found ritual and habit of daily relaxation. Just send me an email and we can schedule a consultation.

As for oils that you may enjoy at home, I would suggest pairing a relaxing and balancing oils (Geranium, Lavender and Clary Sage) with more invigorating and mind-clearing oils (Tea Tree and Eucalyptus) or maybe just using uplifting and relaxing oils (Lemongrass, Sweet Orange or Red Mandarin.

If you are someone who feels they need more grounding earth energy to relax, you may like to blend some yummy essential oils that are made from the roots and resins of trees, grasses, such as Vetiver, Frankincense, Galbanum, or Myrrh.

Before I go, I would like to invite you join us in answering a few questions that will help you think about what help you to relax. I will share them at the end of this post.

Which ever kind of pause you choose to relax with, be awake. 

Make it special, set your intention and be in the moment. 

And, to-do lists invited to this party. 

<3 Sending you lots of love as I write from my sister's couch.

I am savoring a cup of Catnip and Spearmint tea, the scent of Pine, some really happy + inspiring music and a view of bare trees against a pale sky, grounded by copper leaves and thoughts in between. 

And now, a song I so love is playing, so I will share it with you :) Welcome Home by Radical Face, 2009

Some Mindful Questions to Ask Your Many Bodies

Mental, Physical, Spiritual, Soulful & Emotional

Let this be your very first daydream that welcomes you into a place of relaxation.

Before you answer each question on paper, close your eyes, take  deep breath and listen. Write down what comes to your mind in pictures, memories, words.

Be as abstract or literal that feels right to you.

You may choose to make up your own definitions, and questions, or choose to work with what is below.

I think it is important to realize how our different bodies may speak up at different times and in different ways... so see what bubbles up naturally. 

1. How does relaxation to wholeness feel to you? Is it happy, calm, inspiring, freeing?

2. What activities (or non-activities) make you feel most relaxed? Remember that relaxation can be restful, but, it is different from resting when you are tired.

3. What about your senses? What colors, smells, qualities of light feel most relaxed?

4. What are a few of your happiest memories?

5. What natural element(s) make you feel most relaxed?

6. What room in your home, or sacred space outside of home brings you most peace?

When you have finished with these questions, place your paper in a special place where you can go back to them. This serves as an acknowledgement and manifesto for you to help create the time and space to relax that you deserve.

Truly, Much love to you, 

* Herbalist, Aromatherapist and Shamanic Practitioner, Kathy Eich, first introduced me to this concept; one that I am ever appreciative to have had some light shed. 

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