Rain

“Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth, without rain there would be no life.”

-John Updike

Dance in the Rain

Dark clouds and a cold downpour. To some people rain means sadness. Being stuck inside, with the sunshine gone, isn’t what most people think of as a good day. The busy, upbeat pace of life is fueled by sunshine. Being out in the day, going to work, spending time with friends and family, our lives are fast paced and moving. Yet rather than be dampened by the rain, I find myself inspired by it. Rain lights up my spirit in a way that few things can. The seeming contradictions within this all make sense when we take time to think about the rain and what it means to our lives.

The Calling of Rain

When it rains, our lives naturally shift pace. We are forced to slow down, to take a deep breath. Rain calls us inside and we tend to shift focus to the needs of ourselves and our homes. When we have been running full steam for too long and not getting proper rest, rainy days make us sleepy. We become introverted, curled up with a book or a favorite movie. Finding time to relax, grow our minds, or just be still for a while is so important to our health and well being.

Life of the Earth

Outside the rain pours down on the earth. Everything seems gray and dull. But the waters pouring down are giving plants time to nurture themselves and the energy they will need to flower and grow when the sun returns. Just like those plants, you need time in your life to unwind or absorb. To slow down and focus on what you need. This recharges us, providing energy and strength for the bright, upbeat days to come.

Live in the Rain

This week, whether it is raining or not. Take some time to focus on the positive lessons rain teaches us. Stop for a few minutes to evaluate the areas in your life where you need to slow down and recharge. Take a few minutes for yourself today and focus on something you need to grow.

Sun

Sun

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows”

-Helen Keller

The Best Part of Waking Up

Few things in life are as instantly uplifting as sunshine. Just thinking of a bright sunrise can put a smile on my face and help me feel motivated for the day. The Native Americans of the Great Plains had a daily ritual of greeting the sun. They would wake just before sunrise every morning and take a walk towards the rising sun to greet the day.

In the rush of the morning I more frequently find myself reaching towards a cup of coffee, bustling around to get ready, and rushing off to the tasks of the day. But all too often this type of morning ritual leaves me tired and groggy. It’s amazing how long you can be awake, without ever truly waking up.

Soak in the Sunshine

The Sun is what brings life to the Earth. Plants open their buds and spread their leaves to feel the warm invigorating light it brings. Our lives can be so disconnected from the Earth that it’s easy to forget we are a part of it too. Just like plants soak in sunlight to grow, we absorb vitamins and energy from the Sun. Walk through this exercise with me today for a positive and invigorating way to have more energy and feel uplifted.

If your schedule and the weather permits, do this exercise in the sunshine. If you are unable, simply hold a picture in your mind of a bright and beautiful sunrise. See the golden rays of light reaching out to touch the earth. Beautiful tones of orange and yellow fill you with vigor and energy. The beautiful blue contrast of the sky clears your mind. Edges of clouds tinted in pink and gold bring you positive thoughts and motivation for the day.

Feel the sunshine on your skin. The warm caress of light reaches through, to your core, filling you with energy and happiness. It lights a spark of sunshine within you and you can feel this light radiating out from your center. Holding the energy of the sunlight in your heart brings a smile to your face. You feel more positive and motivated for the challenges of the day. You can face each new situation with a smile and a song in your heart. This sunshine you radiate can uplift the people you meet as well, making the day around you happy and bright.

Walking with Sunshine

As you go through your week try to keep the invigorating feeling of the Sun in your heart. Notice how it affects your mood and your energy. Do you feel more positive and capable of handling the day before you? When you walk through the day with sunshine, can you notice it shining out to the people around you? Are others more frequently uplifted, just from seeing the sunshine you hold within? Keep the Sun with you this week and share your experiences of walking with the sunshine.

Cozy

Cozy

“A single poem is worth a hundred cozy winter nights, kind words, and healed wounds”

-Sanober Khan

A Deeper Meaning Inside

For such a simple word, “cozy” brings so many feelings and images to mind. As I went through this exercise I was surprised to find my perception of this word changing. What seemed so simple at the start actually held a deeper meaning for me.  Walk through this experiment in mindfulness with me and learn what “cozy” means to you.

Create Your Cozy

Think of something that makes you feel cozy. What is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it soft or cuddly? Safe or secure? Does it remind you of home or somewhere you have been? Does it make you tired or calm? Is it an object or a place? Pay attention to the feelings that it creates in you.

When I think of cozy, I imagine a small cabin in the forest.  The wood that makes its outer frame is beautiful and worn. It creates a safe haven from the wilderness and keeps out the cold and wind. A small stream of smoke makes its way out of the chimney from where the fireplace burns, keeping the house warm. Inside there is softness, knit blankets and hand sewn quilts. There is soup cooking over the fire, hand baked bread, and coffee to share with friends.

Find the Coziness

As you focus on your own picture of coziness pay attention to the feelings it creates. Let it fill you and remind you of the moments in your life that made you feel this. Focus deeply on each memory. Where were you? Was anyone with you? What were you doing? Relive each of these memories individually. What is different about these memories and what is the same? Find this common theme and hold onto it. Does it match your original idea of what is cozy? If not notice the differences. Does the word cozy mean more to you than you thought it did?

For me the strongest memories that relate to this feeling are those with family. My husband and our home, my sisters when we were little, snuggling up in the blanket that my grandmother made for me, these are the times that make me feel cozy in my life. My original idea of cozy was a place, an atmosphere. Yet when I think back to the times in my life when I have felt this the strongest, there is no common place. So although it wasn’t my first thought, when I more deeply examine what cozy means to me, it means family.

Bring Coziness Into Your Life

Over the next few days try to recognize the things in your life that make you feel cozy and appreciate them. Do one thing today that makes you feel coziness inside.

Breathe

Breathe

“For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth”

-Sanskrit Proverb

The Need to Slow Down

Too often I find myself rushing through the day so quickly that I don’t even notice the little things passing me by. In an attempt to be more mindful in my life, one of the simplest exercises I’ve found is to focus on my breath. This helps me clear my mind and let go of stress, helping me be more energized and focused throughout the day. Walk through this simple exercise with me to feel the powerful effects that something as simple as mindful breathing can have on your day.

The Simple Act of Breathing

Slow down. Quiet your thoughts. Just breathe. Feel the air coming into your lungs and the cool, calming sensation it brings. Feel the sense of release as your exhale the warm air inside. With each new breath we are drawing in life. Refreshing and calming each part of you. The rush of thoughts and list of tasks for the day can all be let go for these few moments as you just breathe.

As you focus on your breath notice the changes throughout your body that this simple act of mindful breathing creates. Your heartbeat slows. Your nerves relax. Worries and stress from your day slowing start to sink away. The stress we build up throughout our day can slowly start to wear us down. The fast paced buzz in our system needs a few minutes of rest and quiet. Our heads clear from the cloud of thoughts that build up and we can see things more clearly.

Physically and mentally each new breath draws energy to your body. You are able to focus on the tasks at hand and break them down into manageable pieces. You feel refreshed and prepared for the rest of your day.

Taking Your Breath With You

Challenge yourself this week to take a few minutes every day to just breathe. You can set aside this time in the morning before you start your day or in the evening to unwind. Practice it when you are feeling overwhelmed and notice the difference this small exercise in mindfulness can make.