Mindfulness as Stress Relief

Mindfulness as stress relief is something that I am immensely grateful for. Without mindfulness, I would be unable really hone in on the things stressing me out and resolve them.

This morning, I woke up with a headache, body aches, tension in my neck and shoulders and that awful, tight feeling in my stomach. Immediately, my thoughts went to worry and guilt over two things. Instead of wallowing and being upset; I decided to follow this awareness and see what it was telling me.

I made my coffee, grabbed a journal and pen and began to write how I was feeling. The main source of my stress was over the quote we received for a bathroom remodel. Okay cool, source acknowledged by why was that stressing me out so much? After all, this bathroom remodel is in the category of “this would be awesome” instead of “we have problems.”

I kept writing and asking myself questions. What the writing revealed was blocks and traumas involving myself, money, relationships with men, self worth and boundaries. It was very eye opening and I gave myself some time to then do forgiveness and gratitude work on those blocks.

The end result has been a decrease in body tension and stress. Awareness on personal blocks and a grateful feeling towards my mindfulness practice. Had I not been mindful to how I was feeling, I would not have recognized that I was having a physical reaction to emotional issues. The muscle tension and headache could easily been attributed to sleeping wrong, change in weather or the nightly blanket battle with my husband and dogs.

Let’s do a mindfulness exercise:
Grab your journal and pen or electronic device.
Get comfy and prepare to breathe.
Breathe in through your nose … one … two … three…
hold your breathe … one .. two … three …
Exhale through your nose … one … two … three…
okay, put pen to paper and take stock of how your body is feeling. Then check in on how your emotions are feeling. Write down what comes to mind.
We are simply practicing mindful awareness of our physical and emotional connection.
If you feel called to write more and follow this awareness, please do so.
If this was enough for you for today, then congrats on beginning the journey and mark you calendar to do it again tomorrow.

Mindfulness works in ways you may not yet imagine. It brings an awareness and clarity that cuts through the mental and emotional clutter. This helps us grow and heal as an individual.

May you find peace in mindfulness,

Luxury: is it only for the rich?

Hello gorgeous one! Today, we will focus on luxury … your idea of luxury, no one else’s. To do this we need to break through and see what reaction you have to the word luxury … excitement or I can’t afford that. First, drop the can’t. Around here that is a four letter word that is not used because it blocks your energy which keeps you from living a life you adore.

Everyone can have luxury in your life no matter the condition of your bank balance or credit cards. The first thing to remember is that luxury isn’t solely about money, but is defined as something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary. This is the time to think of life’s little pleasures. Creating a life that allows luxury opens yourself to the Universal Abundance, increases Self Love and opens you to knowing yourself through self-care.

Now is the time to take out your journal and pen. Let’s take three deep breathes: in through the nose, out through the nose, again breathe and feel your diaphragm move slow and deep, lastly one deep breathe in the nose and out through the nose … breathe and feel relaxed. Now, return to your normal breathe.

I want you to create two lists. The first list are those things you enjoy that cannot cost a dime. The second list can involve investing in yourself financially. The purpose of this exercise is to see luxury and self-care in a new light. For each list I wish you to come up with 8 items.

Write: I feel amazing when ….
This is the time to list anything that makes you feel fantastic, beautiful, cared for, loved, sexy, decedent, luxurious …. just flat out amazing!

I’ll share my journal with you …

I feel amazing when:
1. I start my day with a hot cup of death wish coffee
2. I listen to music that makes my soul sing
3. I read for at least 30 minutes a day
4. I post affirmations around my house
5. I meditate in the morning and evening
6. I take three breathes and check in with how I truly feel before making a calendar commitment
7. My house is clean and organized, not cluttered
8. I take time to care for my hair and make-up

This next list is not to worry about money but just what brings you pleasure and makes you feel luxurious …

1. Professional pedicure and manicure
2. Fine chocolates
3. Eating out at new restaurants
4. Going to a yoga retreat (a yet-realized dream)
5. Travel
6. Going to the gym
7. I spend time in small bookstores, they always have amazing gems on the shelves and with the staff
8. Surround myself with beautiful crystals, candles, essential oils and incense

Shift your energy with luxurious self care. Each of us has a different idea of luxury and that is alright. Whatever brings you joy is luxury. As I was writing this part, my children started interrupting me non-stop. Instead of getting irritated that they were knocking my train of thought off track, I managed to take a deep breathe and think about the type of interruptions they were.

Instead of the usual hunger or this child won’t share a toy with that child, it was come look at this cool butterfly or I found a spiderweb. I am grateful that I noticed instead of letting fear in the form of anger or irritation take over. I listened to the Universe and closed my laptop. From there I spent the afternoon in luxury. We spent time with them showing me the world through their eyes, then when they wandered off I noticed it was a beautiful day outside.

So, I grabbed my tablet and read outside, alternating between watching and chatting with my children. After a while I decided to attempt a challenge in a video game. Then I helped my daughter with a request to make her room more open and loving. So, we moved her furniture around and I left her with directions and ideas on how she can continue to clear the space and make it more hers from there versus cluttered.

Feeling rejuvenated and inspired, I came back to my laptop with a lovely cup of lavender honey tea in a mug from a place that brings me warm memories and love to my heart. I am grateful that I listened to the Universe instead of letting the fact my expectations of my morning were interrupted irritate me. I breathed and listened. Then I received a day of luxury and bonding with my children. The Universe provided us with a beautiful gift because I took the time to listen and observe without judgement or expectation. I am grateful for today. I am grateful for the lessons. I am grateful.

There are so many ways to make yourself feel luxurious from big splurges to small everyday moment that are meaningful if we are mindful to create the space to enjoy them. Sometimes, I set my alarm a bit early to just enjoy the coffee in silence or better yet outside in the cool, dewy morning air. What can you do to fit 5 minutes of luxury into your day today? I would love for you to comment and share.

Feed your soul and you will have the loving support and guide of inner wisdom and the Universe with you at all times.

In love,

Lost and Afraid: Daily Subtitles for 2020

Wanting to know ourselves, understand our place in the world and our soul purpose is as old as humankind. The rise of our global pandemic and quarantines have paused all society from the frantic pace to a much slower lifestyle. Humanity is seeing a shift in how we spend our time, while including a focus on political, social, economic, human and educational issues; also, has forced a shift back to self.

For the first time in decades technologically advanced societies are not moving at breakneck speed. We are forced to slow down. This not only has forced us to see and acknowledge global, country and local issues but personal ones. Our lives are quiet enough for us to see where we are in our lives. To notice something beyond our busyness. There is a rise in depression and anxiety that I believe is bigger than the pandemic. It is a loss of sense of self.

Many of us are taught to define ourselves by the job, income and home that we have. That also influences who we spend our time with, the places we go and activities we engage in. Quarantine has stripped all that away. Each of us is left facing the same uncertainty of health and economy. Plus, we have time to see beyond our hectic bubbles and see the many problems and inequalities that humanity still has not solved or even acknowledged.

With all of this laid at our feet our world view shifted overnight. This touched each of us as an individual, whether or not we want to admit it. There isn’t any one of us who is not going through some sort of personal evolution at this time. A personal reckoning of who we are.

Google the phrase ‘journey of self-discovery’ and you will find articles, blogs, web posts and quotes aplenty. Knowing who we are and our life purpose is central to an individuals need to fit in and find a place in the world. I believe it is why we are obsessed with labeling ourselves and others. Human beings need things to make sense and fit together. This gives us a sense of control and order in our lives.

Control starts with knowing you, truly and honestly knowing you. The you in your heart that you do not speak about to anyone. The one who is afraid of being made fun of for liking XYZ. That is the you. That is the person you need to know and cultivate to have a life you adore.

How do you get to know yourself? Make yourself a priority. Set aside 30 minutes a day for just you. Is 30 minutes too scary? Then start with 10 or 15. Make you a priority for that amount of time. Ready? Great! Now what?

I have previously discussed Meditation and Mindfulness, these skills are a great way to know thyself. To go with this I would recommend a journal. Something that makes you feel wonderful and delicious or an old notebook or a private document on your pc. It is your choice. Those who love journalling are probably squealing with delight. For those of you who despise journalling or have never tried it … breathe.

Journalling is simply a private place for you to have conversations with you. Yes, you can have them mentally or out loud, but journalling will let you look back later and remember with clarity things that your subconscious mind has brought forward. This is important because it can often be the most enlightening part of the work to get to know yourself.

This is the part that will help you admit what truly does and does not make you happy. Where you feel uncomfortable. Define blocks in your energy and emotions. Things that tie up your growth; especially hidden fears and feelings.

If you have never journaled before it isn’t that difficult. No one but you will ever see it. This is between you and you. A place for your mind, body and spirit to connect in authenticity without fear of judgement. A place for your true emotions and thoughts to come to the surface and express themselves. NO JUDGEMENT. TOTAL SAFETY.

Meditation Exercise

Wear comfortable non-restrictive clothing. Have the journal of your choice and pens or power supply. Also, a gentle timer.

Find a comfy place to sit and place your supplies next to you. Set a timer for 7 minutes, but make sure whatever tones you use to bring you out of it are gentle and slowly increase in volume. You are trying to relax, not restart your adreneline.

Begin your timer and close your eyes,
Then breathe …
Slowly, in through the nose until you have taken in as much air as possible;
then slowly exhale through your nose until you have expelled as much air as possible;
Repeat until the timer goes off.

You will find your mind drifting to thoughts. Simply bring your awareness (be mindful) to your breathing and the movement of air through your body.

This is your entire goal for 7 minutes.

After your timer has gone off, restart it and pick up your journal of choice. Put pen to paper and begin to write. The goal here is to keep your pen moving (or fingers typing) for 7 minutes without pause.

If you do not know where to begin here are some prompts:

Hello beautiful/handsome self. I am beginning a new journey of Know Thyself. I started with a breathing meditation and now I am writing in this journal.

If at this point you don’t know what to say, continue with: I don’t know what to say so I will tell you about my day. After I woke up this morning I …

Soon you will find the timer has sounded. You can either continue writing or stop. The choice is totally yours.

Obstacles. Every single one of us has obstacles. Every single one of us can think of reasons to not do this.

Here are some of mine:
* There is too much housework to do and if I don’t do it, it won’t get done
* My kids are too little to be left unsupervised
* My partner will feel neglected or ignored
* The puppies will destroy stuff if they are not being played with
* I’m too busy

Let’s get some perspective on these “reasons” a.k.a. obstacles:
* There is always going to be housework and it is never going to be done. Tell your family you need help, it will be the first of a zillion conversations you will have with them about restructuring expectations of who can do what around here. Your loved ones giving you 15 minutes isn’t going to end the world. In fact, it may just make your part of it better.
* The kids. If they are infants or babies, they do sleep at some point. Try it then and if you fall asleep there is the next time you nap. Just accept your house and you are going to be some form of tired and messy for the first two years and you will retain some of your sleep-deprived sanity. Older kids. Let me guess they are always begging for tablet or tv? Make it a win-win give them 30 minutes of television or tablet for your 15 minutes of sanity. Give the older ones some sort of treat for wrangling the smaller ones while you do this. With some training, it works. Currently, my 8 & 6 year old are with the 3 year old on tv. They have been taught to help him with the potty and get milk/cereal/granola bars while I work in exchange for accumulating free time of their choice (usually a game).
* My partner isn’t a baby and he will be the first to tell me to do what I need to do. Because if I am happy with myself, I am a better partner and parent.
* The puppies can either be watched by the kids or like infants they too will sleep, eventually.
* I’m too busy. Open your calendar. Pick a time of day that feels right, morning, evening or afternoon … schedule 20 – 30 minuets for the next 7 days each day for you. You are in your calendar and just as important as date night, kids play dates, picking up the dry cleaning, work and whatever other social things are there.
* Post this mantra on your mirror, in your wallet, in your cell phone case (wherever you will see it): I am important. I am valuable. I am a priority in my life … repeat three times each time you see it.

As one overworked, overextended, struggling human to another … I give you permission to give yourself this delicious gift.

Try this and let me know what you think.
Irisa MacKenzie