After a difficult time, it’s easy to recognize a need for peace and quiet. Extra rest, self-care, meditation and other healing practices feel both right and necessary. What is less obvious is a need for quiet after a period of joy and celebration.
I had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and I hope you did, too. I spent days with my family, soaking up every minute of time together, enjoying (too much) delicious food and wine. It was both relaxing and fun, and I didn’t want it to end. But now that I’m back at home, I’m finding that I need to balance those days of activity with some moments of peace and even silence. And it took me a moment to recognize the signs. After all, I’d had a lovely holiday—what did I need to recover from? Wasn’t it time to get back to work, back to normal life, refreshed and renewed?
Once a day, or whenever you’d like to live with a bit more grace and ease, try taking a mini-meditation break. It’s very simple, takes only a few moments and can completely change your entire day.
I like to set a 2-5 minute timer on my iPhone, sit down on the floor if I can, close my eyes and just breathe. In and out. Watching the rhythm, and giving myself a short break from whatever life is throwing my way. I place my hands on my knees, palms down if I feel I could use some grounding, palms up if I could use some energy or insight. That’s all it takes, and it never fails to bring me a touch of peace.
With so many things in life, we assume that we need big solutions, big changes, extreme measures. And often we do need to do something, change something–but that something may not be as daunting as we think. A moment of quiet breathing may be all it takes. If you meditate regularly, these short sessions are an added treat, and a way to weave your mediation practice more fully into your day. If you’re a new or (like many of us) an inconsistent meditator, these mini-sessions offer a convenient opening into mindfulness. Without the pressure of meditating for sustained amounts of time, you may find yourself going deeper more quickly and easily.
I invite you to stop, sit and breathe. Just for a moment. Just for one, precious moment. Notice how precious it is. Notice again. And then let it go.
It’s already December, the final month of 2013. It’s been a wild ride: completing the Martha Beck Life Coach Training Program and setting up my practice; traveling to San Diego, Pismo Beach, Lake Tahoe and Napa… Well, let’s just say that I am very grateful for the shorter, cooler days (even here in the desert) and to turn my focus toward my home and loved ones.
Of course, there’s still plenty to keep me busy–holiday events and shopping, work to do, knitting projects to finish–but during this time of year I find myself a bit more comfortable taking a moment to sit by the fire, drink a cup of tea and enjoy the time I have with my family. And that means that I can also do something incredibly valuable: dream.
When I take the time to dream, I get in touch with myself. I listen to the small still voice inside that reminds me what’s most important, and what I should be focusing on now, in this moment. I relax. I play. I listen. And I remember to pay attention to my nightly dreams as well, which often hold messages from my soul about the way to go.
I’ll be writing more soon about methods of dream analysis that I find particularly useful and enlightening but, in the meantime, let me just recommend this: take the time to dream while you’re awake. Look for those clouds in your coffee, and open your imagination to what you find there. Not only is dreaming a good way to get in touch with a peaceful, joyful part of yourself, but it just may suggest possibilities you haven’t yet dared to imagine.