A Simple Relaxation Technique to Connect Your Heart & Mind

 

Family visits are usually a roller coast ride of emotions, and my recent three-week visit home definitely qualifies.

There was the sweet nostalgia of spending time with my ninety-one year old grandfather, the indescribable feeling of being there for my parents, and then the sadness of saying goodbye.

This visit was a great reminder of how important it is to slow down, take more deep breaths, and be present.

Because life keeps doing its thing, throwing out unexpected curveballs, and life is just so damn busy.

Your brain has to deal with millions of bits of information each day. It’s exhausting.

We get worn down by it, becoming more and more unresourceful as time passes.

While home, I researched relaxation techniques to help my Dad with his hypertension, which led to discovering the Institute of HeartMath, which then led to a couple of hours absorbing the art and science of connecting hearts and minds.

Connect

And even though I’ve been involved with personal development for many years, the impact of practices like meditation and breath-work on physical conditions still surprised me.

I fell in love with the following exercise because of its simplicity; it’s short, easy to follow, and you’ll feel the difference immediately.

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This Most Amazing Day

 

e.e. cummings quote on image taken at Ruby Lake Resort, BC

Some days I don’t feel grateful.

I feel sullen and resentful, and a bit let down by this thing called Life.

Some days the pull towards the negative is like a strong undercurrent doing its best to pull me under.

I hear it often in my work, but I do my best not to go there; not to talk about it myself.

But the truth is, we all have those days, and moments in life that frustrate the hell out of us.

We all consider giving up at some point.

Until the choice becomes clear.

We can relax and let ourselves be pulled down into the deep, dark waters or. . .

We can refuse to succumb.

We can choose to find some small way to feel better, and reverse the flow of energy.

It’s not as difficult as we think:

  • a walk in nature
  • your toes in the ocean
  • acknowledging your yearnings
  • time with yourself and your journal
  • connecting with a loved one

Feeding your soul in any way that feels good to you.

Start there, and each small step or action will lead you slowly but surely back into resourcefulness.

 

A Surprise in the Mail

Unleashed

Dear One,

In case you’ve forgotten, I’m sending this note to remind you that you are a shining, beloved soul.

Your gifts are many and your willingness to keep exploring and doing the work is inspiring.

I see you sometimes, so burdened by doubt and it breaks my heart. Who I see when I look at you is an extraordinary being who is all heart and commitment.

Unleashed. Fired up. And free.

This is who you are for yourself, and others.

love

Sandi Amorim signature

 

I wrote this note to myself at a workshop I attended a few months ago, no idea when it would be sent.

It came on a day I was beating myself up for not sticking to my writing schedule; self-recrimination and guilt eating away at me until I saw my handwriting on the envelope.

I tore it open, and felt the tears immediately, moved by what I had written so many months before.

A little self-love at exactly the right moment.

Buddha said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

No one is immune.

What It Takes to Nourish the Soul

 

“Amidst life’s busyness, we need ways to slow down, turn our attention within, and reconnect with ourselves.” – Karen Horneffer-Ginter

Self-care, for almost everyone I’ve worked with in over a decade, is an ongoing challenge. For the purpose of this post I use the term self-care to refer to the care of mind, body and spirit.

For many, the challenge is obvious, showing up in the physical: do they get enough sleep, does their diet nourish them, etc.

For others, the majority it often seems, the challenge reveals itself in the emotional or spiritual realms, which is not as easily seen or remedied.

Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit is a book that speaks directly to this challenge.

book cover Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit

Written by Karen Horneffer-Ginter, it touches on the most personal and challenging aspects of self-care in a world that often has us running like a hamster on a wheel.

“We live in a world of constant movement, and our day-to-day lives seem to get busier by the hour. Our days are full of information, full of obligations, full of friends and family, full of everything…except fulfillment.”

This statement is true for far too many people. The busyness and stressors of daily life can easily become overwhelming, and self-care is usually the first thing to go when faced with a time or energy crunch.

So, how do you deal with this challenge?

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Meditate Right Now

 

Amida Buddha, the largest Buddha outside of China, at the Lahaina Jodo Mission.

 We know that meditation is good for us.

  • On a physical level, meditation can reduce your blood pressure, boost your immune system, diminish chronic pain, and that’s just for starts.
  • Emotionally, meditation brings greater calm, a feeling of spaciousness and a sense of humor about the vagaries of life.
  • Spiritually, meditation is the path to become truly human: loving, patient, understanding, forgiving, clear yet relaxed and playful.

Yet, we resist. We moan and groan, “There’s not enough time.”

We keep putting meditation off until tomorrow, next week, next month. Until illness or death arrives and we’re twisted by fear, wracked with regret.

How can we die peacefully if we haven’t tasted peace of mind in life?

There’s one simple and immediate solution to the problem of no time: Meditate Right Now.

You Can Meditate Right Now

You don’t need elaborate preparations, the right space, incense, or even a meditation cushion.

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How Losing Your Mind Can Help You Find Yourself

 

My description of a silent retreat is this…

thoughtful words of challenge painted on the front wall of the old skate arena at Red Hill, Brisbane.

And I’m only partly kidding.

Does the concept scare you?

When I talk about my love of silent retreats I often hear comments like,

“I could never do that!”

“That kind of silence scares me!”

“Why on earth would you do such a thing?”

But what I’ve learned from many retreats into silence is this. . .

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Does Your Mind Need a Detox?

 

This time of year inevitably brings up spring cleaning plans of the physical space, both body and home. But that wasn’t enough for me and I began a month-long focus on spring cleaning from the inside out.

Including a detox of the mind.

de·tox

verb – to rid the body of poisonous substances

How do you know if your mind needs a detox? 

Notice how often you think negative thoughts (yes, these are poisonous substances.)

Notice how often you compare, criticize and complain.

With enough time, these ways of being become habitual and toxic, and left alone long enough they will become default; like running on auto-pilot. Which wouldn’t be so bad except this pilot does not have your well-being as a priority.

You may not realize how much that auto-pilot (aka: lizard brain) has taken over your thinking. You may not yet have connected that drained feeling you often experience to the thoughts you repeatedly think and the stories you live like the truth.

Mostly, you probably think if you just took better care of your body you’d have more energy. But it’s not that simple because you are a system, a trinity of mind, body and spirit and if one part is neglected it has an impact on the whole.

Just like the crap that accumulates in your body when you don’t take care of yourself, your mind gets bogged down by crap of another kind, and rather than pretend it’s not there, sweep it out and make room for something new.

So where do you begin this detox?

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Spring Cleaning from the Inside Out

 

According to Wikipedia, spring cleaning is the practice of thoroughly cleaning a house in the springtime. According to Martha Stewart, it’s a bit more detailed with a three page checklist celebrating the satisfying rite of the annual clean.

Once upon a time, I was enamoured of all things Martha. What? Don’t look so surprised!

But then I grew up and realized picture perfect cakes and anal-retentive holiday decorating was not my style.

So why am I talking about Martha?

Because underneath the surface of all that spit-and-polish, handmade, homemade OCD there are nuggets of wisdom to be found – kind of like finding that favourite shoe that’s been missing for months under the couch!

Her spring cleaning checklist suggests going through your home, room by room, with a detailed list of tasks. And while that’s all good, and I’m sure my home could use that kind of attention, my mind-body-spirit could use it even more, so that’s where my cleaning strategies and I are focused.

woman meditating, dancing

A new perspective on spring cleaning! 

 

Spring Cleaning from the Inside Out

Mind / Office

One of the great things about working as a life coach is the opportunity to continually do my own inner work.

For me to give my best, I have to make sure this ‘room’ is spacious and clear. That doesn’t mean I have to be perfect and have everything handled, but that I regularly take a look at what’s working and not working in my own life and business.

Working with Jenny Bones in creating the Summer Camp for Solopreneurs has presented this kind of opportunity. As we’ve created the Camp’s curriculum, I’ve uncluttered my schedule to make time for more work I love, and am in the process of clearing physical space in my office.

While I’m amazed at what I get done with the stacks of books and materials around me, I also know I’m more productive and intuitive when my physical world is clean and clear. This creates room to move, and space to breathe and create.

 

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Loving Kindness & You

 

Virginia Satir wrote the following poem after a session with a young client who had a lot of questions about herself and what life meant.

We all have those questions.

But it’s easy to forget and think we’re alone. During a challenging time in my life I read this poem often. It made a profound difference for me.

It spoke straight to my heart, and soothed me.

In a world that could use more love and kindness, I share it with an invitation to be kind – to others and most especially yourself.

 

I am me.

In all the world, there is no one exactly like me.

There are persons who have some parts like me,
but no one adds up exactly like me.

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Fire in the Belly

 

I woke up early, awakened by a belly grumbling with hunger.

What do you hunger for?

 

I like feeling the hunger.

It reminds me there are many things in life I hunger for, perhaps some days, even long for.

 

I hunger for solitude.

Time alone, away from the demands of people and life. I hunger for the silence that becomes my companion in the solitude.

“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.” – Henry David Thoreau

 

I hunger for freedom.

To do what I want when I want. And even though I mostly live my life this way, some days I want freedom from all responsibility.

 

I hunger for intimacy.

I long to move beyond the superficial, the comfortable, the ‘normal’ and surrender to the intimate and connected.

“…available people are the ones who are dangerous, because they confront us with the possibility of real intimacy.” – Marianne Williamson

 

I hunger for the unknown.

I want to share myself beyond what I already know, where I’ve already been.

 

I hunger for openness.

Self-preservation and protection sometimes sneak in and make me forget.

“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.” – Chuck Palahniuk

 

I hunger for the deliciousness of life.

Life sometimes seems a buffet; a dilemma because I like choice but don’t always want to choose.

 

I hunger for fire in the belly.

For light and passion, for giving it my all, thoroughly used up when I die.

“Good men and good women have fire in the belly. We are fierce.” – Sam Keen

 

Over to you:

What do you hunger for?

What nourishment is missing that might make the difference?

 

Inspired by Rachel Cole.