New Opportunities in a New Year

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day”  – Edith Lovejoy Pierce

sunlight on trees in snow

I’m inspired each January to move into a time of new opportunities, less clutter and stress, more healthy practices. Beyond the traditional New Year’s resolution lies the true intent of becoming the best we can be. It’s a time of reflection to evaluate what’s working in our life, what isn’t and ways we can make improvements.

In the height of winter, we tend to hibernate spending more time in our home with loved ones. We can let go of activities, commitments and anxiety of the hectic holiday season.  If we allow ourselves time to slow down, rest, read, chill and nourish our bodies with healthy meals, we gain a sense of peace that comes from rejuvenating our spirit.

It gives me renewed energy to adopt new practices like meditating each morning, exercising more, appreciating stillness in nature. Overall, I feel calm and confident finding I’m able to respond instead of reacting to things.  It creates a new perspective within which radiates out in all you do.

 

Feeling Overwhelmed

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” – Sydney J. Harris

Bench in trees

At times, I feel over-whelmed with the craziness of unrelenting news stories, an on-going construction project next door and my personal commitments. Our hectic lives make it difficult to catch our breath, slow down and nurture ourselves.

It’s important to incorporate self-care practices in our daily life instead of waiting until we’re on overload. If I wake up anxious about a busy schedule, I remind myself to take a few deep breaths.  Focusing on inhaling and exhaling calms our mind.  When I begin my day stretching, meditating, or sipping lemon and honey water it starts the day in a positive way before checking Email and to-do lists.

Ultimately, we need to know we don’t have to do everything or be constantly busy. It’s ok and healthy to take time for ourselves.  Relaxing with a good book, sitting in nature, taking a walk, enjoying things that soothe our spirit strengthen us so we can keep going.

Here are some other tips and resources:

 

 

 

Finding Balance

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go” – Rumi

Balance comes into play in so many ways in our life. Achieving a work/life balance makes us happier and healthier.  Our lives are enriched when we engage in activities, volunteer for a worthy cause, learn new skills.  Just as important is making time to rest and nurture ourselves.  As Rumi states, it’s an ongoing cycle of opposite energies.

Yin and Yang CO

Yin and Yang has been a Chinese principle for thousands of years. It represents opposite yet complimentary forces which dynamically join together to create harmony. We see numerous examples of this in nature: day and night, hot and cold, shadows in sunlight.  Autumn prepares for the barren, stillness of winter.  Springtime is a time of growth and renewal.  Opposite forces create the flow of life.

Another perspective of balance is the tipping factor. Being in tune with our body and spirit helps us to understand our equilibrium point.  It’s the process of knowing when to make adjustments before we tip over.  Finding balance is an interconnected process as life changes.  The one thing we can count on is feeling peaceful and content when we’ve achieved it.

Power of Social Connection

Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” – Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Child Reaching for Mother

I’m one of those people who strike up a conversation with strangers in the market, while petting their dog, or dining at a community table. Connections with people can be just for that moment or they can last a life time.  Once when attending an event without my spouse, a group asked me to join them seeing I was eating alone.  We’ve been good friends ever since.

“Research shows the need to connect socially with others is as basic as our need for food, water and shelter,” says Matthew Lieberman, author of Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect.  Studies show social connection improves health, strengthens our immunity system and increases longevity.

It’s heart touching to hear about children who sit next to the kid at lunch who is all alone. The book and movie, Wonder is a powerful example of reaching out to people who are isolated because they’re different.

This is a particularly difficult time for people who are alone or without a family. When we take time to reach out to people, it’s a gift to see their face light up when we connect with them.  Spread joy this season – Best wishes for the New year!

 

 

Pause and Observe

Make peace with the present moment.” – Eckhart Tolle

A friend told me today I seem more calm and content. It pleasantly surprised me she noticed. I’m working on going with the flow and not getting upset by things I can’t control.  I try to take time to pause before responding to something.  Just taking a breath helps me feel more peaceful in that moment.

Pause and Observe

Yesterday I watched Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Her guest was Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher and author of The Power of Now and A New Earth.  They discussed conflict and divisiveness in the world today.  Oprah asked, “Are we taking steps back in consciousness or is this happening to raise consciousness?”  Eckhart explained it is not a linear process.  Like our development in life, we experience challenges and obstacles to help us grow.  When we have setbacks, we need to pause and observe.  It’s not what happens to us but how we react to it.

He says stress is wanting something to be the way it isn’t.  Look at the situation without belaboring it.  When something happens to upset you, watch your mind and what it’s telling you.  “Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.”

If you would like to hear him talk more about this concept, here’s a 2 ½ minute Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ys17xPHS2Q8

Healing Energy of Singing Bowls

Do you know that our soul is composed of  harmony.” – Leonardo da Vinci, Notebooks

Sounds sing to me today. This morning, I thought I heard a bell ringing at construction next door.  Metal clanging sounded melodic.  Walking back to my car after Pilates, wind chimes drew me into their deep tone.  At the studio, I meditated to music with Tibetan Singing bowls.  I could feel their vibration radiating throughout my body. The hypnotic effect pulled me into a peaceful meditation.  Tibetan singing bowl

There’s actually a reason for this effect and why singing bowls are used for healing. In eastern cultures, illness is thought of as a manifestation of disharmony within the body.  Sound and vibration bring a deep sense of peace, releasing tension and blocked energy, balancing chakras / energy centers in the body helping restore harmony. The vibrational effect of gongs and singing bowls comes from a natural phenomenon known as entrainment – entraining or synchronizing the body to a certain sound. Entrainment occurs when powerful vibrations of one object actually change less powerful vibrations of another object.

If you’re ready to feel healing energy from these singing bowls, sit in a comfortable position, take a few breaths in releasing each one fully, and enjoy this 20 minute peaceful meditation.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXcw1VXlRRE

Read more about the Science Behind Healing with Sound in this interesting article:http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/science-behind-healing-sound