As the frenzy — both collective and personal– of the changing of the year dies down and people go about the business of trying their hardest; to keep resolutions to do it better, smarter, thinner, richer, prettier, stronger, happier….yikes!
Yes…let’s do talk about stillness.
Stillness can be the essence of your core even as you are striving or thriving, or even if it’s all seemingly falling apart.
Stillness allows you to honor your soul and be an observer of your life, knowing that you can always come back to your center and be ok – no matter what you are trying to accomplish and no matter what else is going on around you.
This core of stillness and ‘ok-ness’ can be a blessed gift of support that is always with you.
This may sound foreign to some, but truly, being there for yourself – centered, still, and ok – is the best way to take care of your life, your family, your career. And if you are ever in the role of care-giver, this is the only way to survive well or to keep going when you are absolutely.positive.you.cannot.take.another.step … yet you know you have to. Think of this…being able to reach into the core of stillness while you build your new business, work at your career, have your first (or fourth!) baby, take care of your family and home, take care of a sick spouse, friend, or family member, or care for aging parents.
This is the gift of two mind/body practices that got me through 2012 – a year that was incredible in all ways – the year of my family’s journey through my husband’s diagnosis, treatment, transplant, and regained health that was our roller-coaster of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Through it all, I could always reach that stillness, and it helped me be fully present, not only for my husband and son and my husband’s parents, but for me.
Dropping Contractionsand Let Your Soul Sing: The Core Anamsong Mind-Body Practice became my daily practice during this challenging past year. I still use it, almost daily, and I take as much or as little time as I need. My practice is non-negotiable because the result allows me to, at any given time, check in with my body and my soul for the assurance that I am ok and, in moments of crisis, reach into that core and get the support I need to make a quick decision, even if all the answers aren’t known. And it has served me well. I hope you find the same result.
Early morning works best for me. But maybe you have to wait until your husband leaves for work, the kids are off to school, and the baby is put down for a nap. You can do it during a lunch break by finding a quiet spot in nature, shutting your office door, or if all else fails, a few moments in a private stall in your company restroom! Or maybe you wait until you find a quiet time later in the day, or after you get home from work, to sit and relax with a soothing cup of tea. It creates a wonderful night-time ritual before you go to sleep. You can find the smallest spaces of time to fit it in – though when you have the luxury, more time is a real treat.
A notebook to write down your insights is fun. It’s not necessary, but a record of your experience can be truly revealing over time. You can also make a recording of your prompts for this exercise – then all you have to do is to listen and respond.
Sit in a comfortable chair. Take a deep breath and feel it all the way down to your toes. Exhale and breathe in again, this time letting your body ‘breathe’ you…with no effort – just doing what it knows how to do.
Start with your feet, just noticing that you have them. You aren’t trying to change anything, you are just noticing. Is there tension? Pain? Are they relaxed? Just notice.
Mentally focus your attention as you scan the rest of your body, moving upward…your legs, your hips, pelvic region, torso (back and front), down your arms, hands, back up to your chest, neck, head, face…just notice where there is tension.
Once you have scanned your entire body, imagine pouring a large pitcher of warm, thick, magical liquid over yourself, starting at your head…swirling and surrounding every part of you as it slowly travels downward, removing any tension or pain you may have in your head, neck, arms, torso, hips, thighs, calves right on out through the bottoms of your feet, as you let your body take another slow, deep breath.
This can take as little as 5 minutes. Or, if you made a recording with relaxed pauses in it, a delicious 20 minutes is your gift! And don’t worry if you happen to drift off or even doze while listening – your body/mind is doing what it is craving. (Note: You can find the complete exercise in Abigail’s “Hear Your Soul, Heal Yourself” free eBook and the separate Audio Companion .)
When I’m finished with Dropping Contractions, I start my next practice. This is an abbreviated version of the Core Anamsong Mind-Body Practice . It was, and still is, the one piece I use the most. (The entire Core Anamsong Mind-Body Practice also includes hearing your mind, body, and emotions, and I use this at least once every week or so. I increase this frequency whenever I’m inclined, usually because it feels like fun.)
I settle into my space again, and I close my eyes. I picture my soul in my mind’s eye. You may call it your spirit or higher-wisdom – whatever feels good to you. If you have trouble with this, just pretend you can see it there – in your mind.
My soul is a feminine being, sometimes wild, sometimes demure. Once, it was a huge ball of gold light. I picture it emanating love to me…and support, and wisdom. And then I ask her what I most need to know for the coming day, or any other area of my life where I want more insight or direction.
Sometimes I get an answer quickly in my head, in the form of my own thoughts. Other times, it will take several minutes to come to me. I write this down, often surprised by what I read after I write it. And Sometimes? …I get nothing. This happens. But I’ve connected and I’ve pictured or imagined my soul and her love for me. This, alone, can feel like incredible support when you need it most.
And that is how my core of stillness has become a sacred part of my being.
Going back to that core can provide the inner stillness that allows you to travel through this sometimes crazy-busy, crazy-surprising, or just plain crazy- wonderful life. I cannot imagine a more beautiful practice to fit in your day – at least most of the time – during the coming year.
Blessings and love for a 2013 that is everything you hope for…and a little stillness in which to hold it.
Deb Droz is a Master Mind/Body Coach who loves to help women break free from their inner critic so that they can find greater trust in themselves, more contentment, and overall improved health. www.wholewellnessliving.com