Pen Your Thoughts
Tap into your spiritual and creative sides through this time-tested tradition. Journal writing has been an important part of my life since the wise young age of eight. Writing your innermost thoughts on paper allows for reflection, the chance to capture the moment, and a private space where you can spill how you really feel without concerns about grammar, tear- or ink stains, or losing a friend. Do you find yourself complaining about the same thing repeatedly? Do you see patterns in your comments about relationships? If so, this is the perfect realm in which to explore ways to make changes. Do you notice a negative tone during certain months? Maybe that’s the time to dash off to a warmer climate for some much-needed R&R.
In the morning before your coffee kicks in, start writing whatever comes to the surface. This allows you to start your day with a clean slate. You can also do your writing before bed as a tool for reflection. Others use their journals to recap the day with basic information like where they brunched and what movies they saw. Some write to diffuse pent-up emotions they dare not share publicly. Over the years I have found that the volume of my journal writing increases during challenging times of transition, such as breakups or moves. How you use your journal doesn’t really matter; just using it is the point.
I find that handy phrases to jump-start my writing can be helpful tools on days when staring at the blank page seems overwhelming. For example, try:
Today I am feeling _______.
I am most happy when _______.
I am bothered by _______.
I really want ________.
I continue to struggle with ________.
These small springboards can uncover some interesting material.
Assume Your Meditation Position
Ah, the simple act of being – so much harder than doing. Why is sitting still and focusing on our breath such a tricky endeavor? For the girl-on-the-go, this single act can bring an enormous amount of tranquility. Meditation encourages us to slow down, empty our overactive minds, and provide rest for our bodies. One teacher describes the benefit of meditation as the chance to have space between a stimulus and a response. The practice of meditation allows us to be less reactive. Remember this tip the next time you receive an unpleasant email. Take deep breaths, create space before reacting, and notice that you can retrain yourself to more compassionately handle situations that push your buttons. The benefits may not seem obvious immediately after you’ve sat on your hot-pink cushion, but hopefully they will be apparent in your words and actions post-meditation. You, your colleagues, and beau will thank you for this newfound spaciousness and your thoughtfulness.
Now, let’s go through a simple seated meditation together. Gather these accoutrements: a kitchen timer, chime, meditation cushion or firm pillow to elevate your hips, and (optional) incense or a peony-scented soy candle. Sit comfortably cross-legged on the front edge of your cushion with your hips elevated above your knees (or in a chair), light your incense or candle, set the kitchen timer for ten minutes, and sound the chime. Rest your hands on your thighs with the palms facing down, let your elbows rest comfortably, and allow your eyes to close. When the kitchen timer goes off, open your eyes, do a few gentle stretches, and prepare to emerge from your meditation more grounded.