Those of us who believe in telling our stories through our words and what we create in the world, who dive into the inward journey to more deeply understand our stories and our paths, give such gifts to this world, to ourselves, through our truth. We do this through our art, our blogs, our writing. We uncover our most sacred dreams, hopes, and we hopefully encourage others to do this same. We share pieces of what it means to be us, to be part of our family, through what we create and weave with our words. Through this journey, this diving inward, we can learn so much.
And all of this is beautiful and brave and real and true.
Yet, we are trying to walk on this “deeper path” while playing many roles as partners, parents, friends, siblings, children, workers, and how the list goes on. Some days, weeks, months this seeking and heavy lifting of sifting through our lives to tell the stories doesn’t happen or it is simply too much. Our brains fill up with all that we “have to do,” and we lose the space to simply experience, well, all of it.
I believe that introducing self-care through spending time in the quiet, even if just for a minute or two, can help us seek a balance in our lives. Note that I say seek and not find. I am not sure we truly ever find a balance like the little kid who ventures atop the sea saw in a physics experiment of sorts as he walks toward the middle until the sea saw balances, arms lifted in the air in triumph. Rather, I believe in seeking this balance with the intention of giving ourselves, our minds, our hectic-ness, and for some, perhaps, our over-thinking tendencies a breather, we can be more fully present in our lives. We can be more fully present as we seek the stories but also as we cross things off of our “to do” lists.
A few practical ways to begin spending time in the quiet:
BREATHE : Close your eyes, right now, and take five deep breaths. Notice how your breath moves in your body. Let your shoulders and the muscles of your face relax.
WRITE IT OUT : Grab your notebook or a blank piece of paper and give yourself permission to write all that is swirling in your head right now. Don’t pick up your pen (or if you are using a computer, don’t stop typing) for at least five, maybe ten minutes. Just let it all out of your mind, whatever is sitting there that feels heavy, and give it a place to land so you don’t have to carry it all right now.
GET OUTSIDE : If you can, head to a favorite park or other nature area. If that isn’t possible, when your kids are taking a nap or on your lunch hour, just simply get outside to the backyard, to the front step, to the courtyard of the building where you work. Stand outside and just notice. Take those five deep breaths again, first with your eyes open, just noticing the world around you. Then, close your eyes, and find your feet beneath you standing on the earth (even if you are on concrete). Find your feet beneath you and breathe deeply, pulling up the strength of standing tall in your world with each breath.
SIT IN THE QUIET : If you have more time than just a minute or two, spending time sitting comfortably and finding your breath through a meditation can be a wonderful form of self-care and for some people, it is an important daily practice. If you are new to meditation, beginning with guided meditations (either by listening to meditations or by giving your mind something to focus on that becomes a guide through the meditation) can be helpful. One meditation that I often turn to involves focusing on each of the senses. I use this meditation as a centering tool to simply push myself to clear my mind of the chatter and focus. I also use it as a way to bring myself to a new head space before I begin to write or create in my studio. It invites me to let go of what my mind and heart might be holding on to and come to a new, clearer frame of mind before I begin creating and writing. I have recorded a guided senses meditation for you to get you started, which you can hear by visiting my blog and clicking on “Senses Journey” in the left sidebar under the “Find Your Center” section.
Perhaps you already have a self-care practice. Maybe you take a daily walk or listen to a specific song that centers you or write each morning. We can learn from one another by sharing these practices. So if you feel moved to do so, I invite you to share in the comments what you already do or what you hope to do to give yourself permission to spend time in the quiet and take care of yourself.
ABOUT LIZ : Liz Lamoreux lives in the Puget Sound area with her husband and golden retriever, and they are expecting another family member very soon. She believes in the importance of time spent recharging and refilling the soul's well so that we can be present in our daily lives in a more open and truthful way. As a yoga teacher, artist, and writer, she sees creating as a meditative exercise for the spirit and is currently focusing on sharing this inward journey with others. Find out more about her adventures at www.lizlamoreux.com.
AE SPONSOR : This month Elle’s Studio is celebrating their 3rd birthday! To celebrate they are shipping one of their brand new Birthday Cut Outs free with every order in March, along with a raffle ticket for each item purchased. Raffle drawings take place every Sunday in March and the winners receive special birthday presents! Along with all this fun, their design team has been keeping everyone inspired at their blog with fun birthday cards made out of the Birthday Cut Outs! If you haven’t checked it out yet, make sure you do! You won’t want to miss all this fun!