I still feel guilty sometimes when I take time off to relax and play …

I still feel guilty sometimes when I take time off to relax and play . . .
When I launched my photography business, 30 years ago, I didn’t have a clue about work/life balance.  Never even heard the term until years later.
I threw myself into the business and loved every minute of it.  Worked in my home office, marketing and doing paperwork, all week long, then went out to photograph weddings and families on the weekends.
And I did that for 15 years until my body gave out and I was forced to slow down.  Ahhhh…
Gradually I learned to take Fridays off and one week of vacation each year.  I still vividly remember the first time we landed in Hawaii and stepped off the plane.  Now that’s a great place to relax!
Eventually I learned that it was challenging for me to relax at home, because I worked from a home office.  I could really relax when we went to the ocean or away on a trip.
The physical and emotional collapse taught me the hard way – how to slow down and rest.  Even when I take time off to rest and play now, I still feel guilty sometimes.  As if it’s not OK to stop working.
Do you feel guilty when you relax and take time off?
Well, you are not alone.  It is scary!!
Giving yourself permission to relax takes some practice.  You may need to ease into it slowly.
*  Take part of a day off and see how that feels. 
*  Take a full day off and see how you do.
*  Schedule a weekend, without work, only fun!
*  Work your way up to a week away to relax & play.
This past holiday season I allowed myself two full weeks off from teaching and coaching and it felt great.  Big difference in my level of enjoyment and ease – instead of taking only one week off between Christmas and New Years.
Things will not fall apart while you are unplugged – I promise.  And you can always Meditate & Tap on the anxiety, guilt and doubt that you feel about not working – and let go of the worry, fear and tension.  Ahhhhh…

Simple Breathing Practices to Ease Your Meditation

“There’s nothing like illness to get your attention.
The soul comes to us through our bodies.  And the good news
is that there’s always hope, no matter what.”
Goddessses Never Age by Dr. Christiane Northrop
Simple Breathing Practices to Ease Your Meditation
Many of my students and clients have been saying that they are not able to settle into Meditation, for one reason or another:
  • Can’t quiet the zooming thoughts
  • Concerned that they don’t “know how” to Meditate
  • Feeling restless and agitated
  • Not finding the time to Meditate
Do you relate to any of these?  You are not alone.  Ahhhhh…
Fortunately, we are blessed with some simple, effective techniques to help us ease into Meditation.  Our breath is free, continuous and completely accessible.  Thank goodness!
We are primarily focused in our heads when we are awake all day long.  Seeing, speaking, listening, thinking and keeping track of everything.
One of the most effective ways to relax into our Meditation practice, is to begin by breathing deeply into the abdomen, allowing our body to be supported and to release the activities of the day with a sigh.
Each time we take in a slow, deep breath, we are oxygenating our bodies and our brains.  Each time we exhale, we are releasing tension and toxins from the body.  Being more conscious of the breath is a wonderful practice in itself.  Rather than focusing on the future, we are invited to rest in the present moment.
No where to go, nothing to do – just present here – focusing on the breath.  This calms the nervous system, reduces stress and allows us to pause from activity and to simply be.
3 Simple Breathing Practices
1.  Double Breath – This is the two inhalations through the nose and two exhalations through the mouth that we do with the Energization exercises.  We call it “sniff, sniff, ha, ha”.  Do this three times, including tensing your whole body on the inhalations, and relaxing everything on the exhalations.  This can be done standing or sitting.
2.  Measured Breathing – While seated comfortably, inhale to a count of 7, hold the breath for a count of 7, and exhale for a count of 7.  Adjust the count, so you feel comfortable with it.  Feel the breath flowing up the body as you inhale, hold, concentrating at the point between the eyebrows, and feel the descending breath taking you deeply into inner peace.  Repeat for several rounds, then allow the breath to flow naturally and focus your awareness of the sensations of the breath.
3.  Alternate Nostril Breathing – This is a bit more involved and is very effective for quieting the mind and body.  In a seated position, take a few slow deep breaths into your abdomen.  Using your right hand, place the thumb next to the right nostril and the ring finger next to the left nostril.
Close the right nostril and inhale through the left for a count of 8.  Hold the breath for a count of 8.  Open the right nostril and close the left nostril, exhaling to a count of 8.  Repeat six times.  Do not strain.  Shorten the count if that’s more comfortable for you.  Slowly increase the count as you are able.
You may be reminded of the sound of ocean waves as you breathe.  Ahhhh…
May these simple practices bring you ease and well being when you Meditate.