Earlier last year, I managed to pull the muscles and tendons in my foot and calf. There went my nice long walks for a while. But with summer coming on, things got busy.
Then came autumn, with multiple weddings and birthdays, along with the bridal showers, and all that goes with a garden wedding.
So, things were healing up nicely until my husband and I went to lunch. As my foot hit something in the parking lot of the restaurant, my still weak right leg couldn’t recovery sufficiently to keep me from falling.
And fracturing my right patella.
Two months later, just before Christmas, my doctor finally decided everything was healed enough to resume normal activities. But in the meantime, sitting for any length of time was painful, walking wasn’t fun, and the stairs were killer.
I’ve also recently had surgery for cataracts, so my time on the computer has been shortened, since it kind of makes my eyes tired.
Turns out all that research on stress helped me out!
I know. I’m a klutz. But funny!
So this has been my world lately. But I’m recovering nicely from all of the above, doing weight training and stretching to get those muscles back in shape. And watching my diet.
I hope to be back on a more regular schedule soon, so stay tuned!
And if you like to read, head over to my author web for news on my books: melliemiller.com
Face it. Modern life is stressful. Everything moves so quickly and with instant communication constantly demanding our attention, it can be difficult to catch a break. If you try to leave your phone behind while you take a walk, or go to the gym, somebody panics because you’re out of touch.
Everywhere you go there is a TV, or music of some sort playing, and announcements at the grocery store, all demanding your attention. After a while, it feels like you’re carrying the world on your shoulders.
Many of us have families at home in the evening, and while it’s nice to have your family around you, it can add to your stress loads after a full day at work. Children need attention, and we understand this. What they can’t yet understand is our need for a few minutes of calm.
So in this day and age, how do you de-stress?
Find a time when it would be best for you to take a little time for yourself. Maybe it’s after work, before you get home to all the stresses there. Or maybe it’s after dinner, when everyone is watching TV or playing games. Whenever it is, let everyone know that this time is private time for you. Your phone will be off, not to worry.
Now, figure out what you’re going to do.
I like to take a walk out in nature, but sometimes that isn’t possible due to the weather. Seriously who wants to go walk in a downpour? And we’ve had quite a bit of that here lately. As an alternative, I might put on some music and just move to the sound.
But there is one thing that helps me find that inner peace we all seek. And I know you’ve heard it before.
You’ll say you don’t have time. You can’t relax long enough. Your mind won’t turn off so you can get there.
As one of my martial arts instructors used to say, you didn’t sign on a black belt your first day in class. Give yourself some time.
Here is one easy way to get started. It is the short meditation we did before every martial arts class to help us shift our minds off of the troubles of the day and focus on class. Our instructor called it the Circle of Life meditation.
Sit comfortably. Anyplace is fine. If you want to sit cross-legged on the floor, do it. If you prefer a nice comfortable chair, have a seat.
Take your thumb and middle finger on each hand and form a circle. Place the backs of your hands on your knees.
Now close your eyes. Picture your thumbs and fingers making a perfect circle.
Breath in through your nose. Imagine the air travelling up over the top of your head, down your spine, and then back up the front of your body and up into your lungs.
Hold that breath for a moment, and then slowly let it out through your mouth.
Now pause and repeat the sequence for a total of three times.
The fourth breath is a cleansing breath. Breathe in deeply and blow the air back out quickly before you begin the sequence again.
Concentrating on your breath, imagining it moving around your body, and holding your fingers in a perfect circle, gives you a focus. Sure you may have random thoughts pop up, but acknowledge them, let them go, and return your concentration to your breathing.
You don’t have to keep to a timetable–thirty minutes or else. But if you have a limited amount of time, set an alarm for however long you want to meditate. Don’t try to start off for with a lengthy period of time. A few minutes to get the feel of it is fine.
Maybe you would prefer a guided meditation, something you can listen to and follow along.
One of my favorites is The Daisy Pond, one of Burt Goldman’s guided meditations. In it, he guides you into a relaxed state, and then takes you on an imaginary trip to the daisy pond.
The Daisy Pond is available for anyone to use on YouTube. You can find several of Mr. Goldman’s meditations there. Just do a search and find one you like.
Make that time for yourself. Teach your family to make quiet time for themselves as well. The world is a stressful place. We all need to learn a healthy, safe way to de-stress at the end of our day. Help them make it a habit which will help them throughout their lives.
Sometimes we just need a break. Maybe a nice walk to get in touch with the nature. I know you can’t actually slip into my world just now, but…
...come walk with me. A virtual walk if you will.
Out the front door, we close the heavy iron gate behind us. The trees arching over the sidewalk invite us forward as we begin our stroll. Turning toward the little country road, we walk in the shade of the trees, cooling us from summer’s sun.
The scent of the earth after a rain surrounds us, as a cool breeze rustles the leaves. The crunching of our footsteps along the dirt and gravel lane provide a percussive note to the birdsong from the woods alongside.
Though it’s mid-day, the shade from the trees cools us as we walk along. Reaching a branch in the path, we turn downhill toward a little stream. The shade is deeper here, and the breeze coming up off the stream is wonderfully refreshing.
Before long, we hear the splashing of the stream as it tumbles over the rocky ledge. Turning off the path, we go down to the water’s edge, feeling the refreshing mist rising from the stream.
The interplay of light and shadow here under the trees, beside the stream, along with the woodland sounds, is soothing, relaxing. It feels as if all your troubles could float away, like fallen leaves on the water.
Stop for a moment.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply of the woodland scent. The smell of moist earth warmed by the sun, mingling with the wildflowers growing along the stream teases your senses. On the breeze, you catch a hint of newly mown hay from further down the path.
Take another deep breath. Hold it in for a few seconds before you slowly exhale, releasing your cares into the vastness of the universe. Listen as the sounds of nature speak to you soul.
I could spend all afternoon here by the water, but I need to go home. So we turn away from the water, taking a last look at the ferns growing there in the shade, and wishing we had time to climb out and sit on the log bridging the stream.
I fell lighter of spirit, somehow, as if a weight has been lifted. Back up the path to the turn, and then up the road toward the drive, we look out across a meadow filled with tiny yellow flowers.
Back to the sidewalk, we slip under the living arch, stroke the cat who is waiting there for us, and open the heavy gate back into the house.
I feel refreshed and ready to face the rest of the day now. I know, it’s time to say goodbye. But thanks for coming with me. I had a wonderful time.