Slow Down and Breathe


The holidays are fast approaching, and challenges are beginning to build. With so many things to do in the next few months, this would be a good time to remind ourselves that just because life is speeding up doesn’t mean that we have to.

How do we find balance? In truth, finding balance isn’t the right word. Creating balance is a better idea. How do we create balance in our world in the midst of so much pressure and busy-ness that the holidays bring?

Here are five ways to help create balance:

1. Plan Ahead: Keep your calendar updated so you can see what is coming. Know what needs to happen and is expected at each event to reduce the surprises. For example, if you must make a dish-to-pass for every party, you will need to find the recipes (or several, as is my case) then you can plan and pick up all the ingredients for the recipe ahead of time.

2. Reduce the “Events”: Not every holiday party or even is a “must” attend. Decide which ones are the most important and go only to these. Not everyone will understand, but you must take care of you. Attempting to attend every event is a recipe for exhaustion.

3. Reduce Gifting: Although there seems to be a competition for the biggest, better than last year, gift giving season, this can create pressure, stress, and, of course, debt. For the most part, we have what we need – for some, we have too much. Do we really need that next gadget? Do my kids really need that “must have” toy? In my family, we have adopted the 3-gift model. For my grandkids, this means a book, a toy, and new clothes. No, I’m not hardcore but when they have three different sets of grandparents, aunties, and uncles, and extended family – each with another party, holidays can be overwhelming. And, the toys are often broken quickly leading to more stuff.

4. Take Time for Yourself: Do things for yourself like long baths, nights out with your partner, or alone time. Have fun. It’s so difficult to give and give, without taking the time to recharge yourself. The exhaustion and burnout can make for an unpleasant holiday season.

5. Breathe: Just 5 minutes each morning of deep breathing can set the tone for the entire day. Breathing can detoxify your system, lower your stress and help you sleep better at night.

If we believe the advertisements or songs, then this is the most wonderful time of the year. But the pressure to have that perfect Halloween costume, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas morning can become overwhelming. Nothing is fabulous if you are too tired to enjoy it.

Step back and make conscious decisions about this season can help you create balance. Maybe, just maybe, you will have the best holiday season ever.

Feng Shui Resistance

feng-shui-resistanceI must admit I procrastinate, freely and, mostly, unapologetically. But I realized tonight that my procrastination is a mask for something else:


I’ve written about resistance previously; you can read that post here.

Tonight is different. With so many different things competing for my attention, it is easy to get caught up in the madness.

The madness caught up with me in the way of my office being nearly unusable due to chaos and general messiness.

Now, I am not a complete neat freak nor do I spend a lot of time worrying about how things look. But every once in a while, it all reaches this measure of fullness, and I have to do something about it.

I must clean, organize, do laundry, file paperwork, etc. until there is space in my life again.

I find myself in a cluttered headspace and workspace. My office (both of them) has stacks of paperwork all over, books piled up, and I’m finding it difficult to work.

Here is where the resistance comes in.

Instead of going to my office to write, which is what is for, I find myself avoiding all manner of work. I will read, play games, check email, etc. until the time I have for work is gone, and then I beat myself up for not getting anything done. Repeatedly.

As I stepped into my office this afternoon, my thoughts went immediately to moving the furniture around to clean things up. Now, my writing space is small, and there are few ways everything can be moved around and still have room to work. I know, I’ve done them all. My office doesn’t need to be moved around to work.

It needs to be straightened up, and the garbage tossed. I need to sort the papers between filing and the garbage can. Anything that doesn’t belong needs re-homing. It truly only takes minutes.

I couldn’t work until my desk was tidy.

At least that is what I kept telling myself.

Give it whatever name you want, the real culprit is resistance.

Resistance is what kept me from my work, not the untidy desk.

Resistance is a refusal to comply. It doesn’t matter what you want to comply with, any excuse to keep you from doing what you want to do is resistance.

Resistance says, “I can’t write until my desk is tidy.”

Resistance says, “I must make dinner for my family before I can create.”

Resistance says, “The house comes before writing.”

Resistance says, “My creative life is just a hobby, everything else is the important work in my life.”

Resistance is at the heart of every failed goal, every story that didn’t get finished, every painting that was tossed, for every creative thing that didn’t get created.

Resistance is also very subtle. It comes most often quietly, in whispers, feeding you a lie, which you fall for and then sucks you into the circle of resistance.

If I were you, I would be angry right now. Resistance has stolen something from you. It has stolen your drive and ambition. It has taken the time you would have had to devote to your craft. All the extra energy you might have had is now taken in by this idea of resistance. Anger is the only defense.

You can’t reason with anger; it must be confronted then ignored. If you only ignore, it may grow stronger and become more difficult to assuage. Confronting the anger also gives you an idea of some of the bigger issues that linger.

Just as with any skill, you must practice noticing the resistance, thereby reducing its power, before moving on with you work. Because that is the goal, getting your work done, in whatever form that takes.

As I write this, I am at my semi-tidy desk, pointedly ignoring the pile of papers on the floor. Resistance didn’t win this time.

Confronting the resistance in my life is a constant struggle and is exhausting.

It is better that I sit down with my work before those thoughts kick in; at least I will get some work done.

What are some ways that resistance makes itself present in your life?

Headaches and Soul Work

water-lily-1413450_1920I have a headache.

Not just a simple one either.

I’m talking a full-blown, my head is going to explode, headache.

The curious thing is I don’t get migraines, not really. Normally, I get tension-type headaches. As a general rule, I don’t have that sensitivity to light or nausea that often accompanies migraines. I do, often, have a sensitivity to sound.

However, that doesn’t mean I can function with this pulsing pressure that builds inside of my head either. Sleep is often the only cure outside of a cocktail of medications my doctor has given me.

I have been blessed in that these headaches only come on strong in times of high stress. I know my triggers thought I don’t always know how to make them go away.

I’ve had them a lot in the past year, and they have stopped me in my tracks.

I’ve struggled to move forward with my goals and dreams. In truth, I’ve struggled to write whenever I am hit with a headache.

How have I gotten through this? Good question.

Most often, I’ve just waited until a headache subsides or I sleep it off.

On days that I am unable to do this, I go slow. Slowly, I write my words. I move slowly and find the silence in my life.

In truth, I refill my soul.

Because, I’ve let ME slide and let everything else take over. I know it is my job to fill myself up. It is my job to take care of ME.

Sometimes I forget, and life overwhelms me. And, then I have headaches.

Headaches are the symptom that makes me take notice because they stop me where I stand. And, they are so not fun.

How do I refill my soul, so this doesn’t happen:

1. By examining my life as it stands currently, deciding if something needs to change, be let go of or simply ignored.

2. By finding ways to rest. The soul cannot recharge without rest and quiet.

3. By taking care of myself, whether this means a trip to the doctor, taking a nap, or chocolate, if I don’t take care of myself, I have nothing left for anything else. Besides I know what I need, even if that need is a snuggle with a grand baby or hubby.

4. By creating practices that take care of me. Whether that is meditation, exercise, deep breathing, yoga, or simply being, each of these has something to offer in taking care of me. By making them a practice, each activity becomes integrated into my life.

5. By finding beauty in the smallest of things. Stepping off my porch at night to see the star filled sky makes me stop in wonder. Catching a flower’s bloom or eating a ripe tomato fresh off the fine are some of the most beautiful things I’ve seen or done. At the top of the list includes watching my grandbabies sleep, snuggling with my cat and seeing a rainbow are among the others.

Taking care of me first is a struggle. I forget that sometimes and pay for it. Apparently, I have to learn the hard way.

Don’t be like me. Take care of you.