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Posts Tagged ‘stress reduction’

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.
– Ruth Ann Schabacker

There are always plenty of reasons not to write. I have had lots lately. At least, I’ve had plenty of reasons not to post to the blog, though I remain faithful to my morning pages, which I’ve done for nearly 20 years. (Don’t even try to fathom the number of journals that has filled.)

The surface reasons are things like: not feeling well, lacking the inspiration, too many insights coming through so fast that picking one to write about is difficult, beautiful weather beckoning me outdoors, drawers and cabinets to clean out and organize, get-togethers with friends, client calls, brainstorming and mind-mapping my new offerings and directions, physical therapy sessions (for a frozen shoulder)  interrupting my creative time.

Subterranean reasons are, well they are subterranean, so I am not all that aware of them. My guess about the subterranean reason is that I’m in a period of rapid change and what used to satisfy me as a post, is shifting.

What is it I want to say now? What wants to be shared from this place, this raw, smack-dab-in-the-middle-of-it terrain?

I guess we’ll find out over the next few months.  Meanwhile, I know some people have been waiting for my next post, because they’ve written to me or told me face to face that they are wondering why I’ve not posted lately. Thank you faithful readers! I count you among my blessings.

Speaking of which, I want to share with you one of the practices that spontaneously burst out of me one morning during a few days of peak discomfort. It brought me relief and heartened me.

I was making breakfast and was so tired of feeling crumby, that I made the decision to shift my attention to what is working in my experience from a whole body, mind, spirit, heart perspective as well as from each aspect. I found the first and began saying out loud:

Thank you for the blessing of: (fill in the blank with a blessing of  simple things like):

Thank you for the blessing of another day.

Thank you for the blessing of full breaths.

Thank you for the blessing of the smell of coffee.

Thank you for the blessing of the pink clouds at sunrise.

 

Sunrise Pink Skies copyright(c) JAN 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Thank you for the blessing of a wonderful new client.

Thank you for the blessing of friends and family who care.

Thank you for the blessing of a heater that works and warms my house.

(Pretty soon I was dancing around the tile kitchen floor in my socks, whirling like a 7 year old ballerina)

Thank you for the blessing of these feet and legs that walk and dance.

The inner wretched one (aka party-pooper) wants to say things like “yeah, but…” and “what if …?” Thankfully, it gets drowned out pretty quickly as I persist in finding the blessings and the heart begins to radiate and fill my mind, body and spirit with brilliant light and happiness. (Hint: It helps to begin with a smile, even if it is simply a physical turning upward of the lips.)

It’s all really simple isn’t it? Simple and complex; like breathing.

We are living through some tough times. A courageous heart is one filled with radiant love and light. We can’t go to the well often enough to drink of beauty and raise our vibration.

As with any ritual, it is easier to remember to actually do it if we practice regularly. So, I’ve begun what I call the Ten Blessings Breakfast. However, lately it’s become, Ten Blessings Wakeup, since I have fallen into an awareness that has me look for the blessings immediately upon awakening.

I also have added it to my evening ritual – Ten Blessings Bedtime.

I’ve had occasion to play with it as Ten Blessings Bruhaha. This one I use whenever something comes up that throws me into anxiety or fear; generally conflict in my body, my life or in the world. Recognizing and saying ten blessings in such moments soothes me and brings me present. Most of what I fear is a projection of what might happen (and likely won’t). Most of what causes me grief is past. When I look at this very now moment, I see that right here, right now, there is much to enjoy, embrace and savor.

Why ten? Intuitively, it struck me as a good number. It was something I had to reach for so I would not just stop at a few. In certain studies it is also the number where completion and beginning meet: 1 and 0.

The ten blessings practice opened the way for some amazing insights regarding pain, fear, wholeness and separateness and I plan to share these with you in coming posts.

For now, I’m headed out for an unlimited blessings walk.

Copyright© February 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved
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“All seasons are beautiful for the person who carries happiness within. “ – Horace Friess

“ My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?” – Charles Schulz

It was a Monday (Oct 2008) I will never forget…(hopefully)

Strike One:

Construction had begun on the remodel of a garage-soon-to-be-family-room to which my granny unit apartment is attached. Sledge hammers and crow bars were being used to rip away the old wall. I work, on the phone, on the other side of that wall.  It was disruptive and annoying and the nightmare, as I called it, was only beginning.

Strike Two:

Let me back up for a moment. On the Friday prior I got a warning signal. My computer crashed.  It summarily told me, by way of some error message I can’t recall, that it was done and it died. I was grateful I had a back up drive and I used it regularly. I still had time on my 3 year warranty, so I picked up the phone and waited to have a conversation with a techie in India. Secretly, I hoped my computer would be pronounced dead so I could go out and buy a Mac.

The techie took me through a number of fruitless steps and then told me all we could do was wipe out my hard drive and start over. With her supervisor on the line, she asked me if I understood what we were about to do. I said yes and that I wasn’t happy.

We wiped the drive clean while re-installing the operating system. (Sometimes I wish I could clear my “drive” and re-install my own internal operating system. Do they outsource for this service as well?)

I spent the weekend re-loading software. The only reward was the speed I now experienced with the newly cleaned disk.

So, now back to Monday’s strike two.  It comes in two parts. My back-up drive died after downloading a fraction of what it held. My computer’s wireless card died and some other, less memorable things got funky. Again, I called India (I mean my computer company’s Technical Service). There was a program the techie wanted to download to my computer, but since my wireless card was not working, that was not possible. I had to go around to the landlord’s place and download it through their computer to transfer to mine. This had me traipsing back and forth across the property  into the dusky hours of twilight, carrying my computer at all times.  I was hurrying back to get his return phone call at my place when…

Strike Three:

I stepped down the two stairs between my bedroom and office and missed the second one.  My ankle folded in half and my computer went flying out of my hands and into the desk leg. (Would this be my Mac opportunity?)

The phone rang and we continued our work on my computer, while I had my leg up on the desk with ice on it. The techie came to the conclusion that my problem could not be fixed over the phone and they would now honor my “in home service” warranty and send someone out to the house to fix things. (Gee, wonder why he hadn’t come to that hours and a healthy ankle ago.)

Before the choice comes the surrender

Tuesday found me propped up in bed with no online service available, painstakingly moving from spot to spot in the house with the use of a borrowed walker, unable to drive, listening to hammers, saws, and loud music as the construction crew continued their demolition fiesta. I was trapped. I felt like a cornered animal. My daily swim/float in the pool had come to an abrupt end. It was like the powers that be said “no more fun for you little missy” and pulled the plug. What’s with my life mirroring my computer anyway?

I had a  call with my writing coach and she let me whine and blame for a bit. Then she reminded me of my exquisite imagination. There, on the phone, lying in the bed, I began to float on water. I was as much in the pool as on the bed. As we completed the imaginary float, she asked,  “What did you hear while you were floating?” I was surprised to realize I’d not heard the hammering at all. I’d heard it, but hadn’t noticed it. I was no longer triggered by it.

Floating (c) Kathy J Loh

Floating (c) Kathy J Loh

In that moment, I integrated what, until then, I’d only known intellectually.

Happiness is a choice.

Despite the circumstances, I knew I did not want to feel miserable as well. How I feel is within the realm of my control.  Days prior to this strike-out, I’d been blissfully happy and carefree. I did not want to lose that joy. I may be “out” but I’m not going down! I decided to feel happy. I surrendered to the what-is of a sprained ankle, a lack of internet connection, non-mobility and invasive noise. I asked for help. Rather than spending the hours in anger and frustration, I spent them following my heart’s desire in each moment.  I was truly happy.

So, I suggest following these steps for the next time circumstances knock you sideways:

  • Stop and breathe
  • Notice what is
  • Ask:  what can I change and what is out of my control?
  • Surrender to it
  • Let yourself wallow for a little bit; feel what you are feeling.  (I discovered something about why I’m so triggered by loud noises when I did this.)
  • Ask for help
  • Choose happiness
  • Follow your heart’s desire and create it for yourself in whatever responsible (ability to respond) way you can

Oh, and my laptop computer? I still have it. The in-home technician replaced the wireless, gave me a new keyboard and an incredible deal on more memory and extended the warranty. ( Uhm…can I get one of those extended warranties for me too?) And the Mac is on hold for now.

Copyright (c) October 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Dawdling unrule #1 is to travel in un-straight lines; in squiggly-wiggly lines.

Dawdling is about the journey rather than the destination.

It’s free-form travel: the scenic route.

It’s the flight of the butterfly dancing from flower to flower in the least efficient manner. They appear to be fascinated with their amazing new wings. I imagine them thinking “Look at my beautiful wings. How did I get these? Look at me dancing. Oh, there’s a pretty flower, yummy. Ooh that sun feels good. Think I’ll stretch out my wings for a good sun-soak.”

"ah" (Kathy Loh)

"ah" (Kathy Loh)

Dawdling is hither-thither travel. The beginning and end points are where we start and where we are when we decide we’ve arrived.  When I dawdle, I dream, I float, I stop, I backtrack, I am curious and I investigate for no good reason other than because I am attracted.

It’s not that there is no destination. It’s just that the destination does not overshadow the journey.

OK, let’s just say it…We can live life in the fast lane, super efficient, always focused on the destination and, in the end, we will be able to say we were, well, efficient and productive.

We are all headed toward the same final destination. I don’t know about you, but a straight line to death is not appealing to me. If I’m going there anyway, I’d just as soon enjoy the journey. I want to exercise my wings, take in the sweet nectar of life and soak up the warmth of the sun. I want to stop and spend time with you, with the tree, with the lizard on the porch.

There’s straight line efficiency and there’s energy efficiency, my energy.

My energy is depleted by fast-track living and busy-ness competitions. I am happy to lose that game. To those who embrace that mode of life-travel, I say “You win! You can be busier than me. Knock yourself out, because you will.”

My energy is restored when I dawdle. I feel alive and I have a deep desire to know that when I reach that final destination common to us all, I fully engaged with life along the way.

It’s just too darn beautiful here to miss out on that.

We are all too beautiful to miss out on each other.

If you are not sure how to dawdle, find a butterfly and follow it for awhile. I guarantee you, the butterfly will teach you all about it.

Dawdling is the path of Love and Love is the Great Mystery.

Will you dance with me there?

 Copyright(c) June 2009, Kathy Loh, All Rights Reserved

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I’ve just discovered a lovely set of short talks and descriptions of beautiful meditations with Thich Naht Hanh on Oprah’s site.

I highly recommend them (despite the quick commercial on the front end).

Want a respite from your day?

Want to become centered and grounded right now?

Been at Twitter, email or Facebook too long?

Always useful and perfect for those moments when you find yourself indecisive, overwhelmed and spinning.

You can choose from breathing, mountain solid, flower fresh, water reflecting, space free meditations.

Follow this link below. From there, you can view the others

Thich Nhat Hanh – Space Free

On Oprah’s site there are many brief audios to explore that will rejuvenate your body, mind, spirit and heart.

Click on the link below for more audio meditations for revitalizing the body and then have fun exploring.

Meditations for rejuvenating body

I’ll be back again later today with another post. Meanwhile enjoy this beautiful day that was given to us. All we need to do is receive.

copyright(c) Kathy Loh April 2009 all rights reserved

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Today, I’m sharing with you a very simple and effective way to become more aware, more conscious, reduce stress and guess what….it doesn’t have to be hard!

Stop

Breathe

Notice

Go ahead and try it right now.

Stop:  whatever you are doing and be still

Breathe: let your belly be soft and your back straight so as to give the airways a chance to expand and breathe in and out easily.

Notice: Allow yourself to be curious, from a childlike state of not-knowing and non-judgment.

What do you notice about how your body feels (including your breathing)?

What do you notice about your thoughts? Are they charged, pressured, focused, scattered, whiney, empowering?

What do you notice about your feelings? Are you being with your feelings? Are you repressing them? Are you wondering what it is to feel?

What do you notice about your spirit? Is it present, absent, patient, impatient?

What do you notice about your environment?

Check in with your senses: what do you hear, see, feel (as in touch), taste, smell and sense (intuitively)?

You don’t need to ask yourself all of these questions and you will come up with some of your own. They are all designed to bring awareness to the present moment, by way of body, mind, spirit and heart.

Remember to remain curious and simply notice without passing judgment.

It takes a minute or two to do this. It is meant to be done many times throughout the day. Call it mini-meditation (which you can expand into longer sittings whenever you want).

It’s easy and it’s meant to be easy. Living consciously is a natural state and we are masters at resisting it.

Curiosity is one of the keys to playing in the mystery.

You might be wondering, “How do I remember to do this practice?”

There are a number of ways to remember to stop, breathe and notice. Here are a few suggestions:

Set your cell phone/ watch alarm or a computer beep to go off at various intervals.

Put sticky notes in prominent places like a mirror, dashboard, computer screen (create a pop-up or wall paper reminder) – Be sure to move them around since notes that are in the same place all the time become a part of the scenery and become invisible to us.

Have an awareness buddy and design an arrangement where you call or tap each other at moments to remind you to do this practice on the spot.

Bonus

Once you have become familiar with this practice, you can add the next step – shift

If you want to change the way you are talking to yourself, holding your body (generally with tension), the pace at which you are moving or even open more to your authentic emotions and raise them to a higher level on a vibrational scale, you have a better chance of shifting them after you notice what they are by default.

I’ll write more about that in a future post.

As I stop and breathe, I notice what a beautiful day it is and that I’d really love to go out for a walk right now. It’s Earth Day after all!  Meet you on the pathway…………

all photos and words copyright(c) April 2009, Kathy Loh, all rights reserved
Forest Path (K Loh)

Mystery Path (K Loh)

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