A year before I started this blog I had a whole different plan. I had a strong pull to help people de-stress and be present. The original plan was to offer affordable retreats that were available for anyone on any path at any point in their lives. (You can read more about why this was important to me at living out loud, my first blog post. ) I have attended many retreat type weekends from church retreats to scrapbooking retreats to most recently a cancer retreat (Stowe Weekend of Hope). Some have been more refreshing than others. While all are good it’s important to be able to achieve this state of calm early in the experience or you won’t get as much out of it. I planned out the logistics of a weekend retreat. I plugged in numbers and I did some internet searches for possible locations. You know what? It wasn’t in the cards, at least not at this point in my life.
This blog was created to give you a retreat experience through writing.
Have you ever gone to a yoga class or any type of meditative thing where you are told to focus on your breath. You do it, but your whole body wants to jump out of your skin because you just can’t stand sitting there doing nothing but breathing? I often wonder if this is the experience yoga haters have. I have experienced this, but since I bought a 6 class pack I had to stick it out and take all my classes!! What I found was the longer I took the class the easier it became to settle in and absorb all that delicious relaxation that was being offered.
Since this blog is to give you some experience of relaxation and peace that you would receive by the end of a weekend away, I need you to do a little work. Here’s the thing, there are times that I feel my pulse quicken as I look at the clock and realize I have to get three kids out of the house in 5 minutes or they will miss the bus. There are times when I look at my calendar trying to figure out how to be in 2 places at once and then my blood pressure really rises when I see the rest of the month and I just can’t imagine having the energy to tackle it all. Having 3 boys, my blood pressure rises quite often! We all need some coping techniques. For the next week let’s start recognizing the things that make our blood pressure rise or bring us down into a funk. Once we feel ourselves starting to go there, find something to change your direction.
For me it’s living in crunch time that gives me the most anxiety. I’ve learned that not everything has to be done. If I feel myself getting overwhelmed, I remind myself I can be late or we can skip a practice or someone can help me. Many times all I have to do is slow it down in my head. To take a deep breath and just put one foot in front of the other keeping aware of my inner peace and staying grounded in the routine. It helps me to think clearly and it helps me to keep breathing calmly. Maybe this will resonate with you; think about exercising hard….your heart is pounding and you are breathing heavy. Have you ever tried keeping the same pace but controlling your breathing to a slower pace. It’s amazing how just controlling our breath will send signals all over our bodies and create more relaxation. Just remember, deep breath in and slow breath out.
We can take an hour off. We can take a day off. We can take care of ourselves and we should! We have to bring our "A" game to all that is important in our lives and we cannot do that without being the best we can be. This takes contemplation, self-awareness and self-care! Taking a day off doesn’t necessarily mean calling in sick. We have responsibilities. What it means is really looking at your day and deciding whether or not to drop some of the “to dos” and to breathe more. Maybe get to practice a few minutes early and just sit in the car instead of running three more errands. Chances are they can wait. Or it might mean indulging in a walk or run, a stretching routine, meditation, a good book or a creative outlet like coloring or drawing zentangles (doodle). I’ve been given the chance to have everything stop and observe what I want in and from life. Now that I have a packed schedule again I’m realizing I always had that opportunity. I am constantly re-evaluating situations and schedules. I have a tendency to want to do EVERYTHING and it is real work for me to dial it back. I guess that’s why we don’t live as intentionally as we should. It takes work, but the rewards are much greater when we live the life we choose.
The important thing is, we start some self-reflection. How can we achieve more stress free, worry free, happy moments? After all we deserve them, right? Life is hard at times, but it’s not without joy. It gets easier to spot joy and live in peace, but it takes a little work. That is why this is a journey. Find the wonder in your journey. You won’t regret it!
Check my resource page for some meditation, coloring and yoga links. Enjoy!!
With Love, Tosha