From time to time at the end of bodywork sessions I invite people who are in a super relaxed state, most likely in alpha or theta brain wave patterns, to breathe into their heart a feeling of gratitude... something they love about themselves or someone or something they know.
And then to scan their body and remember the feeling that they're feeling, like taking a photograph with their mind and heart of how they're feeling - usually some version of being free from pain, relaxed, whole, balanced, loved.
Then, I invite them to take it with them, seeing how long they can sustain it, how long they can stay with it throughout the rest of their day. To practice embodying this new feeling, new body, new state - changed in some way.
And then, to leave on the table something they no longer want to take with them. Before automatically getting up in a familiar, perhaps hurried way, moving on to the next thing, taking a moment to decide to leave something behind, some thought, some feeling, some action that no longer fits. With awareness and with consciousness, leaving it on the table, getting up from it and walking out without it.
It's like a snake shedding its skin - for it to grow into it's new version, it must let go of something. It can't take it with it. The skin eventually transforms back into nothing. And the snake slithers away with shiny, new skin and a more evolved version of itself.
It's a new year and the internet is full of 30 day challenges and "Let 2024 be the best year yet" posts, etc. I have read some, done some exercises, considered hosting a challenge myself, etc.
Eventually I circled back around to this, a practice I practice every day...
Who do I want to be today?
I'm blessed to see the transformation that happens with people from even just 30 minutes of focused love and attention. It doesn't have to be a massage, it just has to be a break from routine thoughts and behaviors, a time to get into a relaxed state. A time out.
It's a new year. It's a big pendulum swing to set big goals for a year and review year highlights - all good, things I also enjoy - but I like to remember that the little things make the big things happen.
You can break it down from resolutions and intentions each year
to each new season of the year
to each new moon cycle
to a new week
to a new day
to each new moment with each new breath.
What if we reviewed every day of our life the way we review the end of the year? Going over how we did, what the highlights were, what we did really well, what we could do better.
What if we set intentions every new day of our life the way we set intentions at the beginning of every year? Who we'd have to be in order to have the day we want to have.
What's more useful? To start at the top or to start at the roots?
More consistently than ever, I have practiced beginning my morning with a meditation to decide who I want to be in my day today and who I no longer want to be in my day. And ending with a review on how I did, what I did well, what I could improve on. Then consciously releasing the day, shedding my skin, so I'm ready for a new day tomorrow.
begin the day by spending time deciding who I want to be today
example - relaxed and aware, with an open focus
Ask myself : What would I have to no longer think in order to have the experience of being relaxed and aware?
example - I'm not enough; I need to be/do/have more
Ask myself: How would I no longer need to feel if I want to be relaxed and aware?
example: impatient, overwhelmed
What thoughts would I need to think?
example: I have plenty of time, all is well
What feelings would I need to embody?
example: trusting, supported
Walk through my day in my mind's eye, mentally rehearse the same way an actor does their lines or a musician their songs or an athlete their game. Feel every aspect. See, feel and train my body to be the way I want to be through my whole day.
Practice! That's what the day is for.
At the end of the day, acknowledge and appreciate my efforts
What did I do really well? What was a victory? What was a circumstance where I responded in a relaxed and aware way?
What do I need to practice more of? Tomorrow, how can I do it again, where can I adjust? Just like another game, another play, another show, we will get another chance to have another go.
Release the day.
Relax into restorative sleep knowing you've processed everything and you'll be better at being you tomorrow with a full battery bank.
What if you treated every day like January 1st?
Shiny and new and full of potential.
A clean slate, a fresh start, a new skin.
Can you bring that energy into each day?
Forgiving yourself for where you tripped up, celebrating yourself for where you did really well. Can you weave in an attitude of playfulness and lightheartedness while you're at it?
The more relaxed you practice, the more fun you have, the more it will stick with you.
Neuroscience says it takes 400 repetitions to create a neural network for something new, but if you do it from a state of playfulness, it only takes 10 to 20 repetitions.
In this new year and in each new day and in each new moment with each new breath...
may your spirit feel alive with childlike play, joy and wonder,
may your heart be relaxed with love, forgiveness and understanding, and
may your mind be awake to an ever evolving level of awareness.
I love you. I believe in you. I believe in me. I believe in all of us.
Happy new year, happy new day.
*If using a guided meditation is helpful for you, here's a link to morning and evening meditations by Dr Joe Dispenza that I have found to be really helpful.