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Posts Tagged ‘relaxation’

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I couldn’t quite figure out why I was so groggy yesterday, and had a hard time focusing.

As with many questions in life, though, the answer came to me at 3am … this time, in the form of an awful stomach-ache.  I’d been coming down with something.

I wasn’t happy to realize I was sick, as of course I had plans on what to accomplish today. But I quickly remembered that sort of resistance wasn’t helping me get well. So I turned my focus on taking care of myself, and I’m getting ready to rest once more.

When mortals are alive, they worry about death.
When they’re full, they worry about hunger.
Theirs is the Great Uncertainty.

But sages don’t consider the past.
And they don’t worry about the future.
Nor do they cling to the present.
And from moment to moment they follow the Way.

– Bodhidharma

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We’re coming up on the halfway point for 2015, and it seems like things have really gotten busy. My prediction for this year was that the currents of life would be more like rapids, speeding forward in potentially chaotic ways. I felt as though, if we could keep our oars in the water, these rapids could carry us more quickly toward our goals. But if we let ourselves slip out of that current, then we could get swept suddenly askew.

I haven’t always kept my oars steering me in the right direction. I’ve certainly devoted more energy than needed in spinning around in circles a few times. But I feel as though I’m getting myself back into my groove, and it’s easier when I stop to breathe and forgive myself for going a little astray.

One practice that’s helping me is conscious relaxation. I remember what it’s like to be floating down a river, or in a soothing bath, just relaxing into the water. I imagine the gentle buoyancy holding me afloat, and I allow that sensation to flow through me, releasing the tension. I remember that my muscles don’t need me to hold them together through tension and pinching, and breathe deeply as I let go of that tension.

I haven’t been as dedicated with my yoga, and I let my mental habits tense me up more than I ought. But when I find myself tensing more as I upbraid myself about those lapses, I practice the buoyancy, and let it all go. My body has many years of practice in holding itself together, and it’s helping to free up that energy so I can use it to keep myself steady on this rolling, churning river of life.

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It seems I’ve fractured my little toe. I banged it against a table a week and a half ago, and it’s still just a little bit swollen and gets tender when poked a particular way (not on purpose). So I’ve been staying off it, keeping it steady, and letting it heal.

As I was assessing its progress today, I realized I was imagining a fracture in my toe, and hoping it heals away soon. It then struck me that wasn’t the best way to visualize things. Rather, it would be more helpful to visualize a healthy, strong little set of bones functioning perfectly as a tiny part of a vibrantly balanced and harmonious whole.

Shifting my focus to the health and balance I would like to enjoy helped me feel a little bit closer to that state. I remembered to relax my shoulders, breathe a little deeper, and calm the electric storm of my mind. I then heard my mind tell me, “Healing isn’t the absence of disease, it’s the presence of health.”

I’m now taking a moment to feel that presence of vibrancy and life. Breathing it in, I feel more present, myself.

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I have been quite aware of how strong an influence is  our baseline state of mind. I’ve noticed myself feeling tense and weary, then checked to find I was carrying a sense of being drained and overwhelmed.

I have been practicing taking a deep nourishing breath, and releasing that baseline mental pattern of stress. I recognized the beauty and generosity of Life, and remembered what at gift it is to have this experience. This lifted off much of the weight that I felt, and allowed me to begin to feel more energized and relaxed.

Soon after I realized this as a conscious practice, I came across this quote. May it help you learn how to frame your own mindset into who you would prefer to be!

You become that which you think you are. Or, it is not that you become it, but that the idea gets very deeply rooted – and that’s what all conditioning is.

– Osho

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Just a short while ago, I was sitting and cooling down after a long, hot Epsom salt bath. I was soaking out the rest of a cold, and the tension I’d worked on earlier.

As I was relaxing and breathing in the fresh air, the thought came to me, “This moment is like no other.”

So I stopped to make note of what made that moment so unique. I’d come out of hot soaks before, but I have a different meditation and relaxation each time. So I suppose, I come out of them a little differently each time as well.

I had also certainly had “working sick” days, but I’d struck a better work/rest balance today. My toddler had a particularly rough time getting ready for bed, but I’d helped him shake it off and go to bed pretty amiably, even playfully. So I suppose those were differences as well.

All that said, I’m not sure the details are really what I was trying to draw my own attention to. Even if I had that thought during a truly unpleasant experience, at least that exact experience wasn’t going to repeat in exactly the same way…

It comes down to the observation about snowflakes: however invisibly they may join together in a drift, they hold a unique pattern, according to the exact conditions in which they formed. Simply acknowledging the beauty of that truth acknowledges the precious gift we can enjoy in receiving each present moment.

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So, there was that break I took.  I suppose I invited it by starting to really focus on enjoying a positive association with everything.  That is how it tends to work: set yourself onto a path, and it likes to raise itself up to help you really learn how to walk it.

There has been a number of things that have carried with them their own positive association.  Many of these were easier to enjoy positively because I had decided to find that open connection and foster it.  I’m also now in a much better place than I was two weeks ago.

It was quite a chaotic path I took, however.  So much had to be brought up for examination and worked through that I just didn’t have the words to come over and share.  It was a very internal process, and it took all I had to process it all and still be there for the people here in my life.

Accepting that was part of my process, too.  I knew I wasn’t coming here and posting little thoughts, and I had to accept that despite my resolution this year, it simply wasn’t time.  Trying to make it “time” just because I felt obligated would have cost me for no practical purpose.

As someone recently told me, I need to learn when to be “selfish” in order to secure what I need.  Well, I’ve been told that a number of times, but it’s a lesson I’m finally learning.

May this next fortnight bring me lessons on how to enjoy a smooth and rewarding ride, in a way that supports what I need without frivolously costing anyone.

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I can’t quite say that anything was wrong with the day today. The weather was beautiful, I got many things done and cups of tea enjoyed, as well as games played with my child and my puppy. Good meals were had together as a family.

And yet, I’m sitting here feeling as though there’s something left undone.

Ah, well. If it remains undone tomorrow, perhaps there’ll be time then to resolve it.

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