There’s a lot of frenetic energy out in the world lately. As we rush to obtain vaccines, travel, and all of us hoping to return to the normalcy of daily life – pre-pandemic. I’m hopeful for a return to normalcy. The comfort of hugging a friend hello. The simple joy of saying, “God Bless You,” rather than thinking, “What fresh hell is this?” Still as we all adjust to a pace that is slightly faster, as more opportunities to spend time together open up, and as the weather blesses us with the warmth and sunshine of spring I am attempting to stay grounded.
There are a few practices that are giving me comfort as I consider for myself and my family what the future might look like for us. The following simple practices are helping me to balance my desire to get out in the world safely and my need for calm, comfort, and balance.
Walks – My son and I take daily walks – and sometimes when one of us is angry we’ll go on a walk until we’re ready to talk about it. We take Dr. Brenee Brown’s research into breath work and exercise and apply it to our conflicts. Exercising, getting out into nature, and allowing ourselves to be distracted and embraced by the beauty we find outside.
Meditation – I have had, “meditate daily,” on my new year’s resolution list for five years now and I never seem to find the time. Lately, I have made it part of my afternoon routine. Walk, lunch, meditate, and write. I use the guided meditations provided by The Mindful Movement, you can find them on YouTube or simply Google a guided meditation for the amount of time you have to work with at the moment. I feel most refreshed after 20 minutes, but any amount will do.
Breath work – Just taking deep breaths. I find my anxiety flares up when I spend too much time staring at screens. This happens with work, my phone, email. Sometimes it seems every screen I see drains something from me. So taking a break to make the bed or clean up the accumulated cups, cords, and clutter that seem to accumulate around my work space – I take a moment to breathe deeply. I’m not religious about it but that simple intentionality helps me to feel grounded and connected to the present moment.
I must say that with these practices I have found myself more present, still, and calm.
I continue to be productive but the process of getting there is much more enjoyable and gentle. There’s always something that can rattle us or distract us from who we want to be, what we want to accomplish, and the universe typically finds a way to test our boundaries. It seems to me that when I’m feeling proudest of my progress that is when the universe starts poking, just to see if I’m serious. This week it came in the form of work emails, a simple correction cc’d to the team, a routine process I did the old way not the new way, and overtired kiddos not willing to help clean up dishes without a fight. But even as these minor annoyances piled up, as they do at the end of the day, I was able to stay calm, take my main culprit on a walk and work out our challenges together. I also noticed that with my family, when I take a breath I stop that cycle of anger trickling down to every member of our household we are all better for it.
There will still be moments where I am not at my finest – but if I can send an email that says, “Wonderful – thank you!” instead of, “Listen here buddy,” I know I’m making progress and staying true to who I am and who I want to be in the world rather than reactive to every curveball that comes my way. These practices may not change the world but they will definitely change your day and for since this is the only moment I can live, it changes my world anyway. For me, that’s enough.