With all the turmoil in the news and day-to-day life, we could all use a little zen. I’ve realized that mornings and nights are my most sacred times of the day. These are the moments when I feel most fragile, emotionally and spiritually and it always seems to help if I “plug in” to peaceful solitude.
Lone experiences allow me to be truly vulnerable and aware in a personal space.
Meditation, journaling, walking in nature, speaking positive mantras, or reading a lively book are all positive ways to find your peace. Below are a few practices I engage in to lift and center my spirit.
- Pray or talk to God, especially at night. If you’re not spiritual or religious then find some source bigger than you; a providential spirit you can confide in. Lay all your baggage out by way of speaking to this higher power. I find that when I speak my prayer aloud, I am affirming my truth. I am then able to let go of any feeling that does not resonate with my truth, barring myself from the unnecessary baggage these ill feelings might bring. In essence, let the bullshit go. You’ll know it’s bull because you’ll tell yourself every reason why it’s not. If something is meant to be in your path, there will be zero reasons to convince yourself it should be. It simply will be. Find a haven for personal prayer that will aid you in releasing negative thoughts and dubious energy – a closet, the bathroom, a park, your car, wherever. Let loose and let go.
- Take time out of your day to simply breathe. Don’t think about anything in particular or worry about the past or future. Simply, breathe. This one is really hard for most people to commit to because in a way, breathing is meditation, and we all know meditation is something you have to practice in order to reap its benefits. I’ve tried this new thing where I take a breath when I start to feel overwhelmed, or I’ll take ten long breaths if I’m feeling a bit apathetic. This practice has proven to lift my spirits in times of stagnation and keep my mind on the present.
- When you wake up, take a moment to reminisce on what it is you are grateful for. I do this by keeping a small gratitude journal close by my bed. In the morning I reach over and jot down what I’m appreciative of in my life, from a stranger-child’s smile to my paycheck from freelance writing. Whatever I think of in that moment, I write it down. I hold it in my mind for a few seconds, rolling the thought around in my psyche. Another way of achieving this, is to speak your gratitude aloud, that way, you hear the words and a positive affirmation is set for the day.
- Write down 10 ways to stimulate your spirit when you are feeling moments of tension. I learned this in dialectical behavioral therapy. I deal with overwhelming emotions, therefore it is very easy for me to lose myself in my feelings. Ever heard the saying, “I let my emotions get the best of me.” Well this was me, but now I know that every emotion starts as a thought, and that thought then manifests into a feeling, which is then felt as an emotion. I wrote my “comfort experiences” on a 5×7 notecard and carry it around with me wherever I go. I engage in one or more of these activities in the morning and at night (or whenever I need) to center my spirit. Below are a few of my personal examples:
- Repeat: “ I am always my best self because I am always becoming…”
- Read “Sunday Morning” by Wallace Stevens
- Stretch for 5 minutes
- Count a few deep breaths
Your sacred moment may be in the afternoon, or sporadically throughout the day. Whatever time you unplug from reality should be considered a personal moment, because you are refueling your spirit. There’s a reason you feel like something’s not right. There’s a reason you’ve been trying to meditate or eat healthier or even talk to people more.
Your spirit is signaling to you that you are in need of more.
More of what, I do not know, but possibly more growth. I am a strong believer that in moments of discomfort we are actually growing although we tend to feel uncomfortable at the time. Nonetheless, we should remember to use these uncomfortable moments as a pivot to find our zen and refuel the spirit.