Which side do you get out of every day, metaphorically speaking? Left or right?
Every day we humans wake up from our hopefully comfy beds and there is a new story to be unfurled. Some days are glorious and sparkly. We are emotionally up and feeling exuberant. Some are just so-so. Things may not work so well for us on those days and everything seems blah. And others, well, are downright crummy and depressing. We sleep late, veg in front of the TV and a general malaise can overcome our mind, hearts and bodies.
Sometimes we even have droughts of so-so and crummy days that seem to never be quenched despite attempts to nurture ourselves. What do you do when that happens?
Many can't imagine how to crawl out of the abyss of such an existence and resort to addictions, depression and some, tragically, suicide.
But life can be better if you take turtle steps. Little by little, with great care and compassion for yourself, you will get to a place of peace and calm which will give you vigor.
But here's the thing. You have to.....
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST!
You know what they say...put the mask on yourself first in the airplane so you have your wits about you to care for others. If you are the selfless giver in your world, stop it now! Put your mask on, breath and self care! Take that first step to loving you.
#1 Take time to do nothing
How boring, huh? Nothing. No TV. No books. No housework. Just be. Take a walk with no electronic device. Go sit in nature. Walk your dog if you have one. Walk the neighbor's dog!
Maybe you can begin to incorporate a daily 10 minutes silent/still or even walking meditation into your life. Direct your attention to your breath, not your thoughts. Feeling the blues coming on? Go ahead, feel them, cry if you need to. Let go of the emotions and don't stifle them inside.
Be mindful. Listen. Don't give up. There are messages in the nothingness of life.
Oh, and did I say to leave the phone behind? :) Your boredom will turn to bliss.
#2 Connect to humanity in person
"What people need to feel to live is a feeling of intimacy, of transcendence, of joyful connection and of stimulating happiness". Rolando Araneda Toro, founder of the movement system, Biodanza.
Embracing joy and vitality in life begins with your connection to humanity. A life of loneliness and Facebook envy is not well lived or felt.
Creating space in your life for at least one or two weekly activities that involves joyful in- person communication with other humans beings doing something that pleases you will increase your capacity for joy and connection.
Human beings need to smile, laugh, be playful...everyday.
What could you do that increases your intimacy factor with others, the feeling of being connected to something greater than you and that also stimulates your happiness?
Choose one thing now. Go do it! Then do it again and hour later! And so on and so forth!
#3 Be more in your body and less in your head
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” Friedrich Nietzsche
I think a lot. All day. I read. I am constantly using my brain and my cortex is mostly on overdrive...I am a Gemini, for sure. And a mother. That's exhausting in itself!
I am aware that some people think I'm lovingly odd with my bent for Biodanza in my life...all that hugging and connecting to other people, looking them in the eyes and, God forbid, a gentle caress and connecting to my sexuality through movement.
But I respectfully don't care.
For me, I am happiest when I leave my head space and allow my heart space and body the opportunity to expand and live in authenticity. Sometimes when my heart is hurting, I just need to dance...to let it go. Nothing else works for me. I find healing in my dance and my dance community who support and love me.
When I dance to my own personal beat with no choreography involved, my heart grows bigger and I am more able to embrace the chaos of my life in my dance. I am directing it. I get a total say in my chaos. Will it overwhelm me or will I allow my body to let go of it through movement...disperse the negative emotions?
Movement helps me to create the shifts I need in my life. And it can help you, too. Even if you are in a wheelchair without use of your lower limbs...it is possible.
When I dance, I am not thinking rationally or logically in my movement. I am just there. Being. Dancing. Feeling. Releasing old stuff and rejuvenating my essence.
So you, too, can do the same.
Dance allows us to embrace JOY & VITALITY in life in the body and heart...and we carry that outside the dance and into the world.
#4 Reach out to someone who can help guide you into joy & vitality
On the days that are crummy, it's so easy to sit and wallow in your pity party.
This is when you REALLY need to ASK FOR HELP and create the shifts you need to happen. Stop taking care of and pleasing everyone else and focus on you. Take that first step somehow.
A counselor, a trusted spiritual adviser, a life coach, a best friend....reach out. Make a plan to create the JOY & VITALITY that you deserve in your life.
Ask and thou shall receive.
#5 Focus on bringing the positive out from life
Don't focus on the trauma in life!
Story fondling over and over again will NOT create joy and vitality in your life. Just the opposite, in fact. You will remain entrenched in despair.
Instead, tell yourself what is good about your life? Make lists. Tell yourself every morning ONE good thing about life, yourself. DO something fun and joyous and above all, MOVE IT, GROOVE IT, SHAKE IT!
Take a baby step by ACTING on one of these ideas above...be still, connect to others, dance it out, reach out to a trusted guide.
Don't forget that love is just a heartbeat away....you are loved!
Blessings to you on your journey to joy & vitality,
And now to introduce you to three more writers:
Sarah O'Leary is a life and wellness coach certified by Dr. Martha Beck. She helps women reclaim their radiant vitality at midlife and beyond, so they can choose and live the life they've dreamed of. Find out more at Holistic Hot Sauce, www.saraholeary.net
Wendy Gauntner is contributing blogger at www.MondayLunchTrio.com, a weekly blog that marries family friendly recipes and life lessons. She’s a certified Martha Beck Life coach who likes to think she embodies old soul wisdom in a manic modern world. The rest of the time she’s a busy mom to her 11-year-old adopted son who defies every parental paradigm and inspires her to read parenting books others might never take off the shelf.
Julia Bushue works with recovering perfectionists who have trouble making progress on their goals, whether it’s finishing a project or finding a dream job. She writes on topics both specific and universal (from learning self-love to making good decisions) over at www.juliabushue.com.