2020 has been a very different for me than the last two decades.
In the past, I have been hyper-vigilant and responsive. I would have several huge goals to fulfill and push myself endlessly to finalize a course or project. However, I am now honoring and allowing myself time to reflect and to go inward, momentarily stepping back. The biggest realization that I have had is deeply appreciating and taking care of what I have; my school, incredible students, myself, loved ones, and honoring self-love in the moments of pause and inspiration. Embracing this awareness and going inward has resulted in more joy and balance in my body and mind, as well as spaciousness to create from a place of true inspiration.
Every connection and conversation with each person is so precious and vital. This moment to moment mindfulness is when we can create love, compassion, and understanding for ourselves and each other.
All of us on our journey through life have experienced ups and downs, challenges, and disappointments, which can lead to stress, anxiety, grief, sadness, anger, and resentment.
This long term suffering on the mental/emotional level can also lead to physical ailments.
I find that when I get into imbalanced or disturbed states of mind that it is challenging to deal rationally with the challenges at hand. I have found the practice of mindfulness beneficial.
Mindfulness is a mental state that is achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. To me, this is like kindly treating yourself as your child or best friend.
"Research has shown that mindfulness practice can help us separate ourselves from those thoughts, feelings, sensations, and urges. Note that when we learn to separate or untangle ourselves from those internal experiences, we learn to observe them for what they are — thoughts, feelings, sensations, and urges. By practicing mindfulness, we can learn to notice them without trying to change anything. This can be a difficult concept because our human instinct is to want to eliminate unpleasant events." (1)
Mindfulness is available to us in every moment and every breath. It is as easy as taking time to pause and be aware of your breath, instead of rushing to respond to something in your environment.
One technique I have found grounding, balance, and connecting with heart-opening has been with aroma anchoring.
First, find a quiet place.
Choose your favorite essential oil and put a drop on a tissue, cotton ball, or tester strip. One interesting blend I have used a drop of each on a tester strip is: bergamot (Citrus bergamia), melissa (Melissa officinalis), Juniper (Juniperus communis) and Galbanum (Ferula galbaniflua).
Alone galbanum is a powerful and intense aroma; however, for this purpose it seems to work well for deepening focus and inward attention.
Inhale deeply and relaxing the mind and body. Inhaling your favorite essential oil will anchor this aroma into your mind.
You can shut your eyes to minimize the distraction.
Imagine your "happy" place to anchor into your mind, a memory of a pleasant place, a loved one, a friend, or a spiritual experience that you have had.
Intensify this thought or feeling you want to anchor by visualizing it and making it very powerful and secure in your mind.
Continue to deepen the inhale and exhale of each breath.
Next, bring your breath and awareness to your body, particularly noticing any areas that are tense or feel uncomfortable. Spend a few more minutes to melt the tensions and make a deeper connection with your bodymind.
I have also found it fun and enjoyable to add music, dance, or movement to bring deeper awareness into your bodymind.
May you find yourself more relaxed and present in every precious moment.~
(1) Hagen, A. (2018). Mindfulness: The Anchor in the Storm; Psych Central; Retrieved on October 31, 2019; https://psychcentral.com/blog/mindfulness-the-anchor-in-the-storm/
(2) Getting Started with Mindfulness; Retrieved on November 1, 2019;
(3) Bodhipaksa (2006). Mindfulness of Breathing; Retrieved on November 1, 2019;