What’s the first thing you do when you get a headache? Or a stomachache? Or a kink in your neck? Do you head for the medicine cabinet? Pain remedies offer relief, but they don’t heal. Chronic conditions, as well as other health challenges, are your body’s way of trying to get your attention. A creative, holistic healing strategy is to give your pain, condition, or dis-ease a voice.
Retreat to a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Make yourself comfortable. Close your eyes. You may want to use an eyeshade and earplugs to help you turn your attention inward. Take a few slow, deep breaths. Place your hands on the part of your body that hurts. Send your breath into that area and ask the following questions:
What are you trying to tell me?
What do you need from me right now?
What can I do for you today?
Sit quietly and listen. You might want to keep a pad and pen close by and jot down ideas that pop into your head. Before you finish, ask, Is there anything else you’d like me to know? Write down anything that comes forward. Give thanks and lovingly commit to following through on whatever surfaced.
You may also want to have a conversation with your pain or physical discomfort in a journal or notebook. To give you an idea of what this might look like, here’s a conversation I had recently with my clenched solar plexus:
Me: What are you trying to say to me?
Clenched Solar Plexus (CSP): It’s not what you’re doing, but how you do it that needs tweaking. Replace hectic energy with calm.
CSP: Believe in yourself, know that you are enough, and stop racing around. You have plenty of time.
Me: But there’s so much I want to do. How will I get everything done?
CSP: By taking more time for yourself, which will center, ground, and relax you.
Me: Yeah, I need to relax. I worry too much. How can I quit doing that?
CSP: Exercise; stay in the moment (beware: this is easier said than done—it takes vigilance, commitment, and lots of practice!); continue to cultivate a conscious relationship with your breath; and most of all, have faith!
Me: Why is faith most important?
CSP: Your worries come from your mind and thoughts, which you can control. The mind is like a computer. It gets programmed and can be reprogrammed. It’s an excellent tool, but your mind cannot grasp the spiritual truth that you are safe. Your soul knows this. Your soul is eternal. Your soul is pure love. When you live from your soul, worry is not part of the equation.
Me: So I should live from my soul?
Me: How do I do that?
CSP: You start by placing your faith in your soul, by committing to a soulful way of life. Then you show up, listen, and do what the voice inside tells you to do—as long as what it says doesn’t hurt anybody. Acting on your soul’s suggestions takes courage. Drop down into your heart, connect, and respond from there. Then all you do is repeat the cycle: Believe. Commit. Show up. Listen. Trust your inner voice.
Me: You make it sound so simple.
CSP: It is. But first you must believe!
What is your pain telling you today? I’d love to hear from the wisdom of your body!
Today’s writer wears many hats. We are scribes, entrepreneurs, workshop and thought leaders, public speakers, social media experts, publicists, publishers, teachers, coaches, editors, partners, caregivers, and more. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. But here’s the good news: It’s impossible to become overwhelmed when you reside in the present moment. Overwhelm is a result of projecting into the future and imagining you won’t get everything you want (or think you need to do) done. In order to reside in the present moment you must slow down. Ironically, slowing your pace, doing less, enables you to do more. It’s counterintuitive, but try it and you’ll see what I mean. Here are a few suggestions for slowing down and becoming more present in your life. These activities will calm you, and a peaceful person is ultimately a more productive one.
Retreat To Your Sanctuary
If you don’t have a place in your home designed for relaxation, create one. You don’t need a lot of space; surrounding yourself with things that comfort you and make you feel cared for is enough. I recently renovated my bedroom, transforming it from the most neglected room in my house to a blissful relaxation sanctuary, where I now read in my cozy corner, or stare at the altar I created on my dresser, or “bathe” in flickering candlelight. I wear earplugs to savor silence, and I have a lavender-scented eye pillow for when I want to shut out light and relieve the pressure between my eyes. I sometimes listen to music, or guided meditations, and have declared this space a work-free zone. Now my response to my space is Pavlovian—relaxation kicks in the moment I enter that room. I also sleep better since I declared my bedroom a place of rest and rejuvenation.
A lot of folks are confused about meditation; there are as many ways to meditate as there are people in this world. The important thing is to remain open, receptive, and present. Sometimes I do seated meditations with my legs crossed underneath me, one hand on my belly and the other on my heart. Sometimes I plant my feet on the floor and imagine I’m connected to the earth and sky by a thick cord running through the base of my spine and up through the top of my head. Sometimes I follow my breath or my pulse. Other times I imagine my body filled with golden light. Sometimes I chant, or sing, or hum, or speak gibberish, all the while listening and trying to connect with the “me” that is other than my body. Sometimes I do a dancing meditation, or I walk. What’s important is my intention to connect and take myself as deep as possible into my center. It helps when I think of my life as a lake. My breath is the wind rippling its surface. Meditation helps me access calm, still waters. This is a profoundly nourishing place. Wisdom resides here. And guidance. It’s a reservoir of ideas and inspiration. Taking time to visit this place is well worth the effort.
Keep a Journal
Writing slows us down; after all, we can only write one word at a time. Writing in your journal can be like lifting the lid off a pressure-cooker to release steam. It’s also a great way to connect with yourself, and with Source energy. I have conversations with myself in my journal, using different colored ink for different voices. I give voice to my fears, my guilt, my shame, my confusion, and my joy—whatever emotions arise. Often, I’m not clear what’s present inside until I start scribbling. Taking the time to check in with yourself through journal writing will save time in the long run. You will have a clearer sense of what you’re doing and why. You will also feel connected, and a connected person is a happier one. It’s easier to forge connections with others when you feel connected within.
You may not think you’re the yoga type, but more and more people are turning to yoga to heal and nourish their bodies and to press the pause button in their daily lives. Not all yoga is intense, like Bikram Yoga, which is done in a heated room. Not all yoga involves strenuous postures designed for lean, flexible bodies. Many yoga studios now offer classes designed for rest and relaxation. These classes have various names: Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga, Slow Yoga. I recently took a “Breathe & Stretch” yoga class. The pace was borderline geriatric and it took me a while to acclimate, but by the end of the session, which I’d started in a frazzled state, I felt calm and centered. By focusing your attention on your body, yoga relaxes your mind, which is helpful for those of us who live in our heads. I don’t know about you, but my mind needs quieting on a daily basis.
Ask “How” Questions
Consider creating and releasing into the Universe a How Question. Here are three personal examples:
I’d love to hear what practices slow you down and help you to be more present in your writing and in your life.