12 September 2013

saturn / zen

I've been really drawn to minimalism lately.

I'm not sure what the driving force behind it is exactly. Most likely a lot of little things wearing on me. Living in a small space (not complaining, just saying), having too much stuff that just looking at gives me bursts of anxiety. Clutter is making me feel claustrophobic.

I went through my clothes last month and earlier this week I went through them again.
I sifted through my son's toys and put the neglected ones in a bin in the laundry room (but now I need to figure out what to do with them next).
I got rid of stuff around the house that was just taking up space (there's still more).

And I got really into it like I tend to do with things and then I started to feel impatient and frustrated with myself because I wasn't getting there fast enough. I keep thinking of the things I have to do to work toward my goal. Which is both motivating and repressive. That mindset is holding me back. In reality, it's a process. The process matters. I'm trying to be more zen but at the same time being totally un-zen with this anxious mindset. The monkey mind is up and running and taking a lot of my attention as usual, but there's more beyond that in our brains. Like breaking through a layer of Earth's atmosphere. I think of it as a clearer place. Not as cluttered.

I have more to say on this topic but the thoughts are currently swirling and not sentences.

What are you drawn to lately?

art on congress st., portland, maine.

04 September 2013

The Care and Keeping of You / Living Intentionally

Something that I've been hearing about from multiple people lately is that they're feeling worn down. Tired. They know that they need some mega relaxation and rejuvenation time, but are so overtired they don't know where to begin, so the stress just keeps building. I find myself in that boat, as well. And I'm tired of it. I figure, there's got to be some easy ways to deeply relax so that we can feel better and more clear headed and thus able to move forward in life, instead of circling around in indecision. That's something else I think this chronic tiredness leads to- we can't see things clearly. Our minds are rattled along with our bodies and it keep us trapped.

So. Where to begin?

This is counter intuitive, but I think scheduling this time, or consciously allowing it is paramount. Allowing time for it shows us that it is a priority, the same way work, or grocery shopping, or the list you have of things to do is. :) Not saying it has to be exactly at the same time every day, but if you make a general time, or even just have the intention after dinner but before bed, or whenever works best for you, this makes it INTENTIONAL. This needs to be an intentional act. No one is going to hand it to you, ya know?

Secondly, you'll need to ignore your phone/computer/iPad/whatever during this time. A mental break from the dings of notifications and rings of phone calls. I'm sure this goes without saying for many of you, but not for me, haha! So I am writing it here. :)

Third, I think music plays a big part in getting into your zone. Again, this is probably a duh one for most of you. But I needed the reminder, so again, writing it  here.

So by the time you've gotten to this point, you're already focusing on yourself and your needs. You've taken away distractions, gotten yourself in your own peaceful space. You should be feeling better already.

The best part is, by this point you have total freedom. You can do whatever you want. What relaxes you? Maybe you take five or ten for a little meditation to clear your head, to get away from the monkey mind and into your elevated consciousness. In fact, I highly recommend this part, and part of the new goals I have for myself is to get into this state nightly. I've been majorly slacking, and when I FINALLY meditated last night, my head felt hot and jittery at first. Not a good state for me. No wonder I was feeling rattled. (Also, if you're interested, here's a post I did a while back on meditating and clearing chakras)

Okay, so now you should be feeling much, much better. What now? Well, what do you love to do but don't have time for during your busy day? Art, some yoga stretching, reading, playing with cards, playing music, doing some photography, doing a foot soak, whatever. Now is the time to sink into it.

I think that these things, intentionally doing things that you love outside of your busy daily life, help to relax and rejuvenate us. It will make you feel better, like you are living your life intentionally, and making time for yourself because you value yourself and know that you can't run around on empty all the time because you'll go crazy.

I'm seeing how this relates to other areas of life too- making little pockets of time in your day for the things that are important to you. So it can expand out, like the veins in a leaf, to living your life the way you want to, a way that nurtures you and empowers you to move you forward.

What do you do to relax? Please share in the comments below!

Rainy day farmhouse and willow in Maine.