Wouldn't it be nice to fully relax the body and mind. Reserving some time for ourselves around the holidays seems so far away from the reality of forced spending, emotional exhaustion, and general frustration. What ever happened to peace, love and harmony? There still is hope. No matter how robbed we feel by the state of our country, family, and friends, we can reserve a few moments to remedy our inner peace. Everything begins here.
I think there are two great ways to relax around the holidays. One is to spend a little time taking your mind off your mind. For most of us our usual way of being is all attention on a very active mind, always thinking, planning, and figuring things out. The very idea of letting this go even creates all kinds of defensive arguments, which can run something like "If I stop my thinking, who'll run the show, feed the kids, and keep me from turning into one of those "blissed out" types incapable of navigating this world?" This is a very reasonable question!
We can start by setting our minds at rest, since that's where the question comes from. We're not talking about a permanent shut-down. We all have plenty of practice running the show from our thinking control center, so there's little chance of losing that ability for when we need it. What can help us immeasurably is letting go a little bit, just enough to turn attention to something other than our thoughts. Things like meditation and physical yoga often pick breathing and moving as good starting points. When everything is focused on our thinking, there's very little room to hear or feel anything else. Focus on your breath for a bit, and you start to notice things. Spending a little time to relax your mind and give yourself the chance to feel can have a very calming effect. You may notice that you feel good!
This brings up a second way to relax that is helpful right around now. It's related to the first because it involves letting go just for a bit all the reaching, planning, and figuring out. The best way to get where you want to go is to be right where you are. Everybody knows that, but sometimes a reminder is helpful. Again, for most of us the logical challenges can come right up with a statement like that, running along the lines of "If I don't plan and figure things out, how will anything ever get done around here?"
Our logical minds can definitely have a hard time dealing with paradoxes. The thing is, reality isn't bound by logic. It just is. Science will keep trying to measure and predict, how things are will keep on being how things are, and this will often perplex our ability to predict and control through logic. In this case the truth is, being exactly where we are, with all our senses focused precisely on what's in front of us right now, is a good way to feel calm and happy. And it's also the best way to get anywhere. If we need a rational explanation for that, it may have something to do with being "right here" enough to see things for how they are gives us greater ability to act appropriately. When our minds wander off, we deal less with reality and more with fitting things into what we imagine as a path to some future desire.
However we explain it, being happy to be right where we are is a good idea. Taking a little time off the mind through some breathing and yoga can go a long way to helping us relax and get wherever it is we need to be. Try checking out this video for a start in the right direction.
. . . and if that doesn't work here is a little holiday humor for you!
Follow Tara Stiles on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tarastiles