I made something for you – with spring coming up soon and everyone in a panic over this COVID-19 virus spreading – here are a few things you can do for self care. I hope you enjoy!
I made something for you – with spring coming up soon and everyone in a panic over this COVID-19 virus spreading – here are a few things you can do for self care. I hope you enjoy!
When I was a child, I did not understand why adults found the holiday season to be stressful. It was great. There were parties. There were family gatherings with presents. And the food was so yummy. There were trees to decorate, cookies to make, and maybe even some snow to play in. What in the world was stressful about these things?
Now that I am an adult and “life” has happened, I totally get it. When I was in my early twenties, my father died suddenly from a massive heart attack during the Christmas season. Each year, Christmas is a yearly reminder of my father’s physical absence. And, all those things that were so magical and enchanting as a child are now tasks to conquer on my list. Looking at that list can create stress and anxiety that can be difficult to manage.
Over the past decade of cultivating a yoga practice, I have come to realize that my practice is the doorway to finding peace during the holiday season and all year long. Yoga equips me with tools that help me find my true, higher, peaceful self. Yoga is so much more than a physical practice done in a studio. Yoga equips me with a set of tools that have a positive effect on my being.
Poses or the position we put are body in has an energetic effect. Through self-awareness, it is important to recognize when we are anxious and stressed. Responding appropriately during those first moments of realization is crucial to finding internal peace quickly. The longer we are stressed and anxious, the more time it may take to return to center and peace. Face-down positions have a grounding effect and are great for balancing anxiety and stress. You can simply turn your palms face down. If practiced over time, the subtle practice of turning your palms face down may yield large returns of internal peace. Or, you can lie on the floor or your bed face down for several moments and see if you feel a subtle grounding sensation.
The breath is central to the yoga practice because it interfaces directly with the nervous system. There are simple breathing practices that we can employ to upregulate the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system responsible for helping us rest and restore. We can be in a truly crazy environment and through some simple breathing practices stay relaxed. One easy thing you can do is lengthen your exhale. A basic practice for lengthening your exhale is to take a breath and count the length of your inhale and exhale. Then, for the next 5 breaths, keep your inhale the same count, but lengthen your exhale by 1 count each time. At the end of those 5 breaths, notice how you feel. Do you feel more relaxed? You may need to repeat the practice several times to notice a positive effect.
Another wonderful tool for grounding and finding your higher self during the holidays is disciplining yourself to bring your concentration to one specific thing. This is mindfulness. Find something specific you want to bring your attention to during the holiday season. The more specific it is, the better. Maybe it is the sound of your breath? Or maybe you want it to be the sensation of air passing through the very tip of each nostril? Or maybe you want to visualize a color you associate with peace and visualize that color moving into your body as you inhale and out of your body as you exhale. Are you sitting in holiday traffic? Are you worrying about the weather forecast and how it will impact your travel plans? Or are you sitting in front of your bat-shit-crazy relative at Christmas dinner? Any of these mindfulness practices can be done inconspicuously to help you find your center, stay in control of the emotions and sensations arising, and know peace.
Knowing peace independent of what is going on around you and even inside of you is key to finding the magic and “child-like” wonder in this holiday season. Pick a tool that resonates with you and commit to practicing it. These are simple practices that can be done anywhere that, if practiced over time, will bring you the greatest gift of all: an internal fountain of joy and peace.
About the Author: Michelle Smith is a program manager for Geisinger Health System, a rural health system in central Pennsylvania. She manages The House of Care, an outpatient home for adult cancer patients undergoing treatment, and the system’s Integrative Medicine program. Michelle uses the tools of yoga therapy, reiki, and vibrational sound therapy to help staff, patients, and family members know peace during very stressful circumstances. Additionally, Michelle teaches yoga at various studios in NE Pennsylvania. Michelle is the author of the book Always With Me: The Guide to Grieving Death through Integrative Medicine which is available on Amazon.
Is it possible to live a simple life, given the velocity that life careens through the cosmos these days? A life that gives you room to breathe and ultimately to live life on your own terms. Not necessarily life as the result of ditching everything and living off-grid in a self-hewed cabin in the wilderness of northern Ontario, but a life regardless of where you are, that in all intense purposes is “simple.”
How many of us are desperately seeking this kind of quiet change? A major hurdle to overcoming this pilgrimage of living “simple” is the concept of “living simpler”. Sadly, this is pretty much polar opposite to the world as we know it.
This comes as no huge shock, but we live a crazy, and insanely busy time.
What defies logic is; although we bemoan and complain about how insane it all is, when we flip the coin over we find ourselves glorifying busy and all the insaneness.
We extoll with our friends and colleagues on how many hours we can work. All of which goes hand in hand with how little sleep we need to work all those hours. At the expense of friends, family and relationships in general, we glue our noses to computer screens or our smartphones, using each precious second we can find. We become addicted to the “likes” and “comments” hoping they will inject a level of validation into what can be a somewhat superficial and sad commentary of our affairs.
Like sitting around a poker table, we raise the stakes higher and higher. We take on more commitments. Our jobs demand more and more of us, to produce greater outputs, meaning longer hours and even more commitments. We are driven to do more and, yes, buy more. Many people abuse themselves with drugs and/or alcohol in an out of control attempt to get distracted from the insaneness until they are anesthetized into dreamland and stressed beyond human comprehension.
Okay, that might be a stretch for some, but it certainly is the reality for many. But, granted it is tough.
Many of us were raised in environments where achievements and the pursuit of wanting more is hard-wired into our DNA. So, there is never enough and there is always more to be had. We push more and more to get further ahead. To be better than last year, striving for a better and more prestigious title at work. And always lurking out there somewhere, like a northern pike circling the shallow water for his next meal, is the lure of more money. We believe “money” to be the answer to all our troubles and strife. Believing that more money will buy us the peace, happiness and a simpler life we have so longed for.
What might happen though, if we decided to take a bit of side-step?
To strategically work on leaving the craziness and insaneness behind, and to go for a life that was much simpler in its complexity?
Is it even possible?
Let’s make the assumption that it is. If so, what might a less simple existence even look like?
Again, I’m not suggesting or promoting heading off to a northern Ontario wood-lot deep in the boreal forests anywhere north of Manitouwadge and hand whacking a tiny cabin together with nothing more than an axe, grit and determination. Although, if that’s what you think it takes, more power to you!
Like I do, most of us live in the real world and we have real-world commitments. It is those commitments that require us to live in the real world. The reality we see each day when we open the front door.
How can we be in this world (the crazy and insanely hectic one), but move towards living simpler? How to get out of the “race” and to step away from the busyness, whether self-imposed or not. How can I/we slow things down, while fulfilling our purpose, doing great work and living a wonderful life?
Creating and living a much simpler life is all about breathing.
Establishing space through cutting or scaling back gives you space to breathe.
Doing more and having more doesn’t lead to happiness and fulfillment. In fact, the opposite is true. It’s about finding joy in the simple things, and being content with solitude, quiet, contemplation and savoring the moment.
All of the stress, the irritations, the dissatisfaction, and disappointments; all the craziness and rushing around; we created all of it. So, whether you like it or not, we are our own worst enemy. Every one of those things we created in our own minds. We made those decisions and we created these with attachments in our heads. By letting go, we can relax and live more simply.
Get rid of “stuff.”
When we can get rid of “stuff” and become less attached, a couple of things can happen. If you sell some of the “tangible stuff”, you’ll have a bit of cash in your hand and most significantly, getting rid of clutter can result in these benefits:
Might as well blurt it out there – “social media is the scourge of today.” Okay, it might not be “the scourge of today,” but it rates right up there.
There is no getting around it, we are addicted to those little electronic devices. Our phone, Ipads, computers and all that they deliver – we can never get enough. We check our FB feeds to see how many likes did that post get. We upload a picture of our dinner on Instagram and then head over and update our life on Twitter. Each time we “just check for a second,” a wee tiny blast of dopamine let’s loose in our brains and we become more and more addicted.
For too many of us, it’s insanely hard to stop.
In search of making our lives simpler, cutting back on social media time is an excellent element in our quest. In checking to see who’s doing what and who said what, we waste time and energy. Sadly, we get stuck in a trap of comparing ourselves with “influencers” and others on social media, which over time can erode our confidence and takes away the power we have within us as individuals.
Less screen time equates to more breathing time and space.
How many feel that their lives and activities need to be complex. In that, complex equates to better. Often, that includes a cycle of “more complex and better” as time moves along. Yesterday’s complex and better doesn’t cut it today.
Striving towards a life that is simpler means looking inside of us, deep inside of us to discover those simple joys and activities in life.
For me, those include writing/blogging, reading and discovering new things; as well as the outdoors; including hiking and walking. Most importantly, spending time with Lynn, while she captures all of this with her photography skills and passion.
When we downsized our home after our daughter left for college, we gave more stuff away than I can remember. And when I say downsize I mean downsize… to a 700 square foot two bedroom home.
When our lives become focused on the simple things you love doing, life suddenly becomes simpler.
Less clutter; less stuff; less worry.
Most of us are not very clear about what we want. How many of us see a post on social media of something really neat or exciting and we become obsessed about doing whatever that was. Next thing you know, we find ourselves heading in a new and totally different direction.
When someone invites us out, we instantly say, yes. Why? Because we’re “yes people” or “people pleasers.” We simply cannot say no.
Because we can never say no, our lives and schedules get stretched to the breaking point. There’s never enough time left for the things that are most important to us.
No is not a bad word.
What if we worked really hard on those things in our existence that held the most and dearest value to us? Saying, “yes” to those things and “no” to the other stuff. If we knew what we wanted to create and the direction we want our lives to head in, we could say yes to these things, and no to everything else.
Saying no to more things would simplify our lives. No is not a bad word!
Have you ever just sat back and did nothing for a day? Just hung loose and did NOTHING. No need to feel that the day had been wasted if something had not been accomplished.
We all need idle time. Time built in to sit and watch the clouds drift by on a warm summer’s afternoon. A time that is free to do nothing.
Many people feel the need to have every waking moment filled with activities and the need to accomplish so much, each and every day. The reality is we need that “down time” to rejuvenate ourselves…..to meditate; to think; to reflect.
Having that time to do nothing and just “be you” helps to foster and create contentment with life.
When working towards achieving a simpler life, at some point along the way it will become clear to you which things in your life are no longer in alignment with your values.
Part of living more simply will help you identify those unnecessary aspects of your daily life. It might be less FB and social media time, or it might be areas in your life that need significant review and thought. This could be your job; friendships; where you live; belongings (getting rid of things) or anything else that just doesn’t line up with your simpler existence.
So, is it even possible?
Yes, it is possible and like much of life, it comes down to a decision. We are the only ones who can decide if we want our lives to be less hectic and more simple in existence.
It doesn’t mean packing up and living in a tiny cabin out in the hinterlands cut off from everything. It’s about making priorities; figuring out what we want our lives to look like and then acting on those things to accomplish it.
Something tells me that as time marches on, life will become more and more complex, with greater demands on our time. Perhaps now is your moment to re-evaluate where you are… where you’re headed. To start now and simplify your life to create something that gives you room to breathe and room to live!
“Algebra applies to the clouds, the radiance of the star benefits the rose–no thinker would dare to say that the perfume of the hawthorn is useless to the constellations. Who could ever calculate the path of a molecule? How do we know that the creations of worlds are not determined by falling grains of sand? Who can understand the reciprocal ebb and flow of the infinitely great and the infinitely small, the echoing of causes in the abyss of being and the avalanches of creation? A mite has value; the small is great, the great is small. All is balanced in necessity; frightening vision for the mind. There are marvelous relations between beings and things, in this inexhaustible whole, from sun to grub, there is no scorn, each needs the other. Light does not carry terrestrial perfumes into the azure depths without knowing what it does with them; night distributes the stellar essence to the sleeping plants. Every bird that flies has the thread of the infinite in its claw. Germination includes the hatching of a meteor and the tap of a swallow’s beak breaking the egg, and it guides the birth of the earthworm, and the advent of Socrates. Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has a greater view? Choose. A bit of mold is a pleiad of flowers; a nebula is an anthill of stars. The same promiscuity, and still more wonderful, between the things of the intellect and material things. Elements and principles are mingled, combined, espoused, multiplied one by another, to the point that the material world, and the moral world are brought into the same light. Phenomena are perpetually folded back on themselves. In the vast cosmic changes, universal life comes and goes in unknown quantities, rolling everything up in the invisible mystery of the emanations, using everything, losing no dream from any single sleep, sowing a microscopic animal here, crumbling a star there, oscillating and gyrating, making a force of light, and an element of thought, disseminated and indivisible dissolving all, that geometric point, the self; reducing everything to the soul-atom; making everything blossom into God; entangling from the highest to the lowest, all activities in the obscurity of a dizzying mechanism, linking the flight of an insect to the movement of the earth, subordinating–who knows, if only by the identity of the law–the evolutions of the comet in the firmament to the circling of the protozoa in the drop of water. A machine made of mind. Enormous gearing, whose first motor is the gnat, and whose last is the zodiac.”
― Victor Hugo,
I recently found this quote from Les Misérables and I forgot how incredibly amazing of a writer Victor Hugo really was. Knowing the story in and out and seeing it on Broadway more than enough times to count on two hands .. I love this. I’m not sure where my book went but I really want to get my hands on it again. I’m hoping I still have it .. somewhere really. If not I’ll find another and buy it online.
Anyway, today (Saturday) was fun. We went down to Centralia, WA. It’s nothing like Centralia, PA but it was a cute little town with a lot of antique shops and (best of all) frozen yogurt! A few bars and taverns and food places places in between and a breakfast place even right attached to the one antique mall. (Which actually turned out to be a hotel as well so that’s pretty cool also.)
I hate being lazy though. I waste my weekends and never get anything done and want to be more productive if I can. I have no ambition so I feel what he’s going through with not having a job. But still. We have things to get done and things we want to do and keep talking about doing but we just don’t do them. Then I’m mad/upset they’re not done. I really need some motivation in order to be domestic. And it sucksssss.
Any advice? Haha
“When you’re dumb enough for long enough, you’re gonna meet someone too smart to love you, and they’re gonna love you anyway, and it’s gonna go so poorly.” – Neil Hilborn, Ballad of the Bruised Lung
Been awhile, life’s been crazy. I’ve been trying to find the time to keep writing but I just haven’t had any. I mean I have, but I’ve had no ideas really to make me want to write anything substantial in my opinion. It’s been a blur to be honest, I can’t believe a year has almost gone by since myself and guy started dating again.. and it makes me feel semi good, that I can make it better than the last time we dated since we both effed up the last time and several times after that. Seems like we can’t just get it right.. Maybe this time won’t be so bad… here’s to hoping!
I’ve taken some photos recently, with guy’s other camera the Sony a6000 and I like it. But I only like it with the 90mm Macro since it’s amazing. I kind of want it. But there’s no way I can afford the lenses for it. Yes, I can borrow his, but what’s that going to do for me should something happen with myself and him. I will never give up my Canon camera for something else. I would only add to it. I plan on trying to start a collection of some sorts and when I finally get a home, I will have a camera closet for all my things.
Here are a few shots of the Sony a6000 that I took just yesterday around Nanticoke, PA.
When you’re tired of waiting and time is not on your side
When you’re tired of hating me, you no longer want to hide
It’s time for another session of relaxation and tea bath before my roommates get home and take their long shower. I’ve been thankful enough to get to take some nice showers lately thankfully, and it’s helping my mood a lot surprisingly. *hand clap* Off I go because then I’m going to sleep forever tonight, maybe I’ll put my hair in curlers again. We’ll see since it seems to poof then I use them, lol!
Happy 11 12 13!
Today is just like any other day. The wars, the dramas, the celebrities and their sick crap they do *coughmileycough* but it’s also snowing! Well, it did snow here overnight. Its snowing in Jersey right now and they’re getting what we got I believe.
But anyway, this photo was taken last week actually, I just haven’t gotten to upload it yet because of things going on. It’s probably my favorite and I’m actually going to be selling prints of it if anyone is interested. Koral.Novak@aol.com if anyone would like one and for pricing details. Make your subject line say “interested in purchasing a print” and I’ll get back to you within 12 hours.
Let me know what you think, feedback is always appreciated on artwork and photography. I love love this picture and it was edited with Snapseed.
|| KoralDawn ||
I am working on a book, and I have been for quite a long time, if you couldn’t tell, and I’d really like your opinion on the inside cover/short description of what it is about. If I need to add anything, take anything out, work on anything. I’d really really love the feedback on this if you could. It’s nowhere near done, I have the first few chapters completed and written down, but no where near what I want to accomplish.
A NOVEL, BY KAYERAVYN [SMC] 2006-2012
Darklings. What are Darklings? Well, we are figments of your imagination. The little tiny voice that’s inside your head telling you whether or not to live or die; that’s us. We live off emotions. We hunger for more. We are unlike any other voice. Don’t listen to us, we’ll probably kill you. If you want to listen to us, however, we speak the truth. We are able to take your soul, turn it inside out, and read you like a book. Welcome to The Heart and The Shape; where your dreams can come alive.