Sunday, April 25, 2010

Under Stress? Just Breathe!

Are you a teacher or in the education field? Do you feel harried by the principal coming in with her checklist? Under pressure to get the kids to "perform" during testing season?

Maybe you are in another helping field or job where the expectation to achieve results is breathing down your neck, or you'd just like to learn how to act instead of react in stressful situations in order to be your best self always.

I recently held a call where we discussed what happens when we're stressed and what to do about it:

 What's working for us now and what isn't working.  What are the effects on our lives when we continuing reacting the same way as always?  I guided the attendees through the steps of a one minute meditation moment.  We brainstormed when and where we can use this technique.

I challenged us to try this technique at least once a day for 30 days to see what happens.

If you missed the call, below is a brief synopsis--

I have a technique I use to relax in the moment whenever I'm faced with a situation that I feel myself tensing up against. In my mind I visualize myself standing on a mountain top facing a lovely sunrise. I open my arms out wide and soften my heart,breathing in the wonder of that moment and breathing out any tension within.

I drop my shoulders as I take a few deep belly breaths and remember this situation does not define or control me. This person speaking to me is coming from a place of need within them. It's less about me and more about them. This helps me see that I can hear what they are saying without reacting to it in a way that closes me off. I can then act in a way that expresses my highest self more completely.

Recently I read about Martin Boroson's One Moment Meditation: Stillness For People on the Go - He describes his version of obtaining the same benefits from a minute (eventually, a moment) of stillness, thereby helping us achieve the same peaceful, calm centered feeling that puts us in that OM zone.

It's all about being able to quiet the mind in a stressful situation or tensing when we are multitasking,and pushing the reset button on life in the moment. Embrace the feeling of what is happening now and allow it instead of resisting it. When practiced enough you can learn to detach, step back out of the stress, and act from a place of grace and compassion.

If you'd like to try this practice of meditation in the moment:commit to a minute a day (when you are not stressed) for 30 days. Use a kitchen timer. As you get comfortable, count the number of breaths you take in one minute, then you will be able to do this anywhere by taking the same number of breaths to relax. Then try reducing the number of breaths by one and see if you still get a sense of calm from it. Eventually you will be able to De-stress in a moment and come up with your own moment of meditation.

Try it stuck while in a traffic jam or while on hold on the phone.
*Disclaimer* Keep your eyes open in traffic! My average when deep breathing is 8 complete breaths or 10 if I am breathing normally. When someone says something at work and you feel that burn creeping up on you--excuse yourself for a breath of air or slip into that quiet spot within.

So right now, scan your body. Are you tense any where? Does your back or neck hurt? On a scale of 1-10 what is your stress level?

  • Set your timer for one minute.
  • Sit up straight yet relaxed. Lay your hands in your lap comfortably in your lap.
  • Put your feet on the floor to ground yourself to the power of the Earth.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Think of the top of your head as being open to all the Cosmic energy and wisdom of the Universe.
  • Settle in and just notice your breath.
  • One minute elapses--DING!

Now scan your body again--From 1-10 how stressed do you feel?
What did you notice? Please comment and let me know what worked - was there an resistance? Continued practice of just one minute will make this an automatic response when you need it.

Listen in real time and do 1 minute of meditation now.
Tap the volume button to increase it.




Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gratitude and Growth

Beauty & Growth from the toils of winter


Let me thank all my friends now and say "You've helped make me who I am"!  What motivates me is motivating others to see the goodness already in their lives now.

Look around you right now. What can you see that is a miracle of creation, growth, or motivation?
  • The tenacity of a squirrel chasing a robin away from his stash of acorns or his nest.  
  • The beauty of the budding forsythia, daffodils, or Easter Lily.
  • The cool moist air on your face.
  • The stalks of pussy willows that represent the possibility of blossoming and growth.
  • The gift of friendship. 
  • The ability to be active.
  • The abundance of food.
  • Family gathering around you
What is good in your life right now? What would you like to have more of and how could you take steps toward getting a little closer to that goal?

What are you willing to let go of to have that feeling that you are in harmony in mind body and spirit?

Many of you already know one of my favorite quotes is from Lao Tzu. I recently realized there was a second line to this quote.

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
 When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need".

So get up off the couch, get dressed and go, live your life NOW.

Relax-Renew-Refresh-Rejoice



And don't forget to have some fun too!