Part of this post appeared originally on Askgrandmothercottonwood.com, my channeled blog, on December 18, 2018.
Dear readers, please take some time out during this holiday season to rest, relax, and take loving care of yourself.
In this season, there is so much busynessthat can fuel anxiety and stress– rushing, doing, trying to beat the clock, meet the deadline, make the holiday celebration perfect, trying to please one and all, beat the crowds, put on a magnificent feast.
You run yourself ragged and you wear yourself down! You override your body’s natural rhythms and needs, pushing yourself over the limit of endurance. Another word for this is “stress”.
Can you pull back, breathe, regroup, rethink, and slow down?
An Easy Calming Exercise…
Take a few moments to Find your center of gravity. It might be your heart, your upper abdomen, lower belly, or at the base of your spine near the tailbone. Feel your inner power and balance here, your connection to the earth. Now Bring your awareness to your heart and breath. Breathe deeply for a few minutes as you hold both palms over your heart. This will help calm you naturally. You can also add toning or humming on each out-breath. Find a pitch that resonates in your heart. This feels good and adds to the calming effect.
Tune into your innate wisdom. What is most important to you this year as you celebrate your holiday? What can you let go of? For your health and sanity, let go of the elaborate expectations and preparations that you do not enjoy! Let go of extra events and “must-dos” you have to squeeze into your busy schedule.
If others expect things you do not want to deliver, let them do the work, take the time, make the effort.
What activities will satisfy your soul and connect you with love to family and friends without leaving you overwhelmed and depleted?
Do those things! They can be free, simple, and easy! Play a board game, sing songs, read a book together. Go for a walk, have a heart to heart conversation.
If the holiday stress gets to be too much, please consider scheduling a healing session (distance or in-person) with me to help bring yourself back into a calmer state of body mind and spirit.
Remember the real heart of the season; gathering with those you love and enjoying each other, greeting the sun, celebrating the rituals of your chosen religion, and creating light, love and warmth together.
Have you ever noticed that when you are anxious, upset, or unsettled, your little ones, even your tweens and teens are often fussy, upset, and anxious too? There is more than a little truth in this pearl of wisdom – ‘When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.’ ( You could substitute ‘Daddy’ in this old saying too.)
In a household, everyone lives within a sea of energy. Everyone’s personal aura (or energy field) overlaps and picks up information from everyone else’s energy fields.
Because of this, children sense the energy of the emotions, thoughts, and feelings you are radiating. Sensitive children may also absorb them and take them on as their own.
Children sense the mood of each person around them picking up on impatience, joy anger, fear, depression, unhappiness. In this way they are learning from the adults and other children around them.
Energy doesn’t lie! You can’t pretend to feel something you don’t feel on an energetic level in order to protect or shield your children from these emotions. If you try to put a happy face on your sadness, anger, fear, or other emotions you might not want to share, your kids will see right through that. They will be able to sense the disconnect between what they are experiencing about you and what you are communicating to them on an energetic level.
Ways to help…
If your kids are nervous, anxious, upset, fussy, first take stock of your own energy and take care of yourself. How are you feeling?
Where do you feel your emotion in your body? Is your heart tight, your throat constricted, your stomach full of butterflies, your gut unsettled? Are you nervous, anxious, stressed, unable to sit still or focus for any length of time?
Have your kids do this too. This can help them develop emotional literacy skills.
First, bring your awareness to your body and locate your emotions (throat, heart, etc). Give them loving attention while breathing deeply. If you don’t have time to do this practice, move on to some of these calming exercises and try the emotional processing when you are ready.
Do these yourself, then teach these easy exercises to your kids! They can help you calm stress and anxiety so you will be more on top of your game, more present in your body, and your children will react more peacefully to your calmer energy.
Pretend to be a tree with deep roots. Breathe in the Earth’s energy through your imaginary roots. Let it fill your feet legs hips and trunk, then reach your branches up to the sunlight. Take several deep breaths pulling the air from your deep roots to your stretching branches over head. Imagine soaking in the sunlight through your leaves to fuel your growth and pulling water up through your roots to nourish you.
Heart hold and tone:
When feeling stressed or anxious, hold your heart chakra with both palms on the center of your chest. Let your awareness drop down into your heart. Take a few deep breaths while holding your heart. Now continue holding and make an AH sound at a pitch that you can feel in your heart. Keep going until you feel a shift in your energy, or mood.
Make figure 8s with your arms, swinging them out and around and crossing the center-line of your body. Swing your hips too if you like. Draw them in the air in front of your head, your neck, your upper body, lower body, legs, feet. Make them any size you like.
for areas of pain or tension, try Tiny figure 8s directly on the body using your fingertips. you can also draw them large on a chalkboard, whiteboard or sidewalk, using your whole body and getting your arms into it. Kids love this! This also helps strengthen your aura. (Eden)
Calming head hold:
When the fight or flight response kicks in; when you feel panicky or fearful, hold your forehead with one palm, and the base of the skull with the other. Hold and breathe for several minutes until you feel calmer and able to think more clearly. (Eden)
Self hug – two variations:
Put the fingers of your right hand in your left armpit. Hold your right bicep with your left hand. Hold and breathe while for a bit until you feel a shift in your energy. Switch sides and hold again. (Levine) Another variation – hold the outside of your elbow with one hand and with the other hug your opposite side under breast level about midway between your waist and armpit. Switch and do the other side. ( Eden)
Sources: Eden,Donna; Energy Medicine: Balancing your Body’s Energies for Optimal Health, Joy and Vitality; 2008.
Levine, Peter A.; Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body; 2008.
Here’s an easy way to relieve stress. All you need are your hands, your heart and your voice.
Find a quiet comfortable place where you won’t be interrupted. Put both hands on your heart and breathe deeply from your belly. Soften and relax your body. Let any tension in your belly, chest, shoulders, neck and jaw and face melt away with each out breath. If you are frowning, let the muscles of your brow relax. This helps calm your mind.
Now tune in and ask your heart what it wants and needs today. The answer may come in the form of a picture in your mind, a memory, a song title, a sudden inspiration, an emotion, a feeling, an insight, a knowing. You may know right away what the answer is, or it may take a little longer for that to be clear. Listen deeply, don’t rush. Your heart is wise beyond the intellect and will never steer you wrong.
After a few minutes begin making an AH sound, keeping your hands on your heart chakra at the center of your chest. Let the sound resonate there. You might have to adjust the pitch up or down to feel it in the heart. Continue making the sound and feeling the vibrations in your heart until you feel calmer and more peaceful. (Do this step silently, or leave it out if you need a quick stress reliever at work.)
Making sounds that vibrate in the body, also called toning, helps calm and relax the mind, body and spirit. It’s fun to experiment with toning for each chakra, and for areas of your body that are tense or uncomfortable. Sound is energy, and it can be directed to any part of your body. Play with the sound of your voice and allow it to relax you.
For more information about toning see Jonathan Goldman’s books about sound healing including: The 7 Secrets of Sound Healing (2011),The Divine Name (2015), and Healing Sounds (2002). Also, check out his website at healingsounds.com.