My Top 10 Personal Zen Secrets
I've found my loved ones (and myself for that matter) to be the most beautiful when we're at peace. This holds true for everyone really. Mental health issues are a problem for 44 million Americans, or 1 in 5 adults. The first noble truth of Buddhism is that life is suffering, pain and misery. We have to find a way to live with (or accept) the suffering in order to make our way to peace.
There are plenty of stress triggers in life. For me it's lots of things. Being in the weeds at work, PMS, relationship woes, my angel being difficult with his mama, the thought that our country is slowly morphing into Handmaid's Tale, bills, bills, bills, family issues or that random negative thing that pops into life every now and then to keep us humble. I'm just like everyone else, we all have problems and need ways to relax and get back into our comfort zones.
Below are my Top 10 Zen Secrets. These may or may not work for you, I know they work as I've experienced them. Granted some I've made up and others I've learned from family, friends, books and magazines. I thought I would share for Mother's Day ideas (and I enjoy writing about these things). And so without further ado, when you put the below secrets into action, prepare to be moved into a place of OOOHHHMMMM...
A hot cup of tea. I don't know what it is about tea, but I swear it has magical powers. Just filling the pot with water begins to settle my rattled energy. There's not much that can jostle my vibe when I'm enjoying a steaming hot cup of tea. The U.K. knows what's up.
Catching a sunrise or sunset. As humans, this is something we're absolutely meant to do. Without it, we're definitely missing a connection with our planet and the universe.
Watching the moon rise. It's so healing for everything. I enjoy it more than the sun, believe it or not. Just soak up its positive energy and stare in awe at its beauty. (Yes, I'm a hardcore dreamer.)
Sleeping. On days I'm feeling stressed I like to go to bed super early. Ever since I became a mom nine years ago (that's crazy to type), my bedtime moved up considerably. I'm a creature of habit, so rocking my boy to sleep when he was a baby, would also knock me out. Then there were the nightly feedings those first six months or more that took its toll as well. (I now know exactly what I will look like when I return as a spirit.) Like most parents, I now consider sleeping to be a luxury. As anything in life goes, only when something precious it's taken away do you realize how much you loved it.
I treat sleeping as a sacred ritual. I never have time for naps during the week, only on the weekends. To my horror, I still rise before the sun on the weekends, so I will do a good nap session in the afternoon. Instead of coffee, I'll close my eyes for thirty minutes and re-boot. It works really nicely. Sometimes that thirty minutes easily turns into two and a half hours though, oops.
On the subject of coffee. If you find yourself saying, "I can't ever sleep." Check yourself first, do you drink copious amounts of coffee during the day? If so, you really don't have the truest read if you have trouble sleeping or not. Try not drinking coffee for a couple days straight and see if you don't fall asleep easily those nights. If you don't, then you can truly say you have trouble sleeping. To fix the problem, try laying off the coffee and incorporate melatonin and magnesium (natural hormones found in our bodies and plants) into your bedtime routine. Give neuroSLEEP a try - it's what celebs use to get shut eye - and has both melatonin and magnesium and it works (found on Amazon and major retailers / convenient stores).
If you tend to wake in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep, the first thing you don't want to do is check your phone, the blue light will wake you up even more. Don't think about "time" at that hour, stay in your sleepy state and let the alarm do its thing. Easier said than done? This is the perfect time to meditate. Don't know how? Then just rest. Rest means you don't have to sleep or get up, just lay there and enjoy the peace and quiet. It'll take a little time but you'll eventually go back to sleep, just ask a baby! (Also try the chants from the paragraph above...and an eye mask!)
Not talking. Taking a time out from society. Ignore the phone and people for a bit. Don't really ignore people in real life, just let them know ahead of time you're taking some quiet time. This is a good chance to draw a hot, bubbly bath or get into a long, steaming hot shower. This is probably not one parents of small children can partake in, unless someone else is there who can keep little, non-stopping people away! Alone time without any talking is a breath of fresh air.
Listening to music. Obvi right? I play it all day, it really only goes off when I'm ready for bed. I start the morning with the spa channel on SiriusXM, I have it on now in fact and it's nice and soothing.
Zoning out into a fire. Although the weather is changing up here finally...the cold is making its way out. We've had a couple summer days to give us a peek as to what's ahead, but Spring can still get chilly.
Playing OM chants while I work on the meditative mind channel on youtube. This doesn't only work while you're working, anytime of course. My plate can get real full at work and can feel overwhelming at times, hearing the peaceful OM Chants re-centers me with the positive vibes it sends, allowing me to plow through it all and get everything done.
Since we're talking about sounds while we work, I'm also in love with coffitivity. It's another amazing one to work to, although a different vibe. I find this one helps to boost creativity.
Meditating. I think the Buddhist monks in Tibet live a pretty interesting life. Meditating and floating in and out of their bodies on the quest of nirvana. If only I had the time. I meditate usually in the morning. When I'm stressing out or PMS'ing (I get it bad) I'll meditate as much as I can. I also like to switch it up and light candles, incense and play the singing bowl, it's like meditation with atmosphere. I'll take it further and do a positive chant of sorts, such as: peace, love, calm, success. It's my version of "praying" and reminds me of my grandmother, whom I remember always carried a rosary everywhere and would say the Hail Mary over and over, bead by bead. All of this has set my default mood to happy. (Don't get me wrong, I can still get a little bitchy on PMS...)
Exercising. I'm not much of a runner, but I do go crazy for a good long walk. My sister advised me to add in sprints and I've been doing so and I love it. I've also seen better results on my rear end with this new addition. I'll walk for about fifteen minutes and then muster up some momentum and sprint! It's amazing. I do it randomly throughout the hour walk. When I get home all sweaty and exhausted, I know I had a great work out. Thanks Jess (queen of fit) for that one. Exercise is by far the best for zen, as you're also looping in your body and making it healthy, so win, win and ... won.
And now I'm off to enjoy some sounds from Africa with the fabulous Fela Kuti and some of his greatest hits. If you can, check out his 1975 album, Expensive Shit (you can find it on youtube, it's just not letting me insert it here for some reason). His music just makes me happy. Join? ...
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