4.2018

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

calm

A Calm Within the Storm

A marvelous occurrence: 5 + inches of rain has fallen within the past 72 hours. It’s not so much the ferocious storm that has made this time special, as it is the calm and slow pace that I gave myself permission to create and enjoy in the midst of the storm.

Friday’s plans for a snowshoe outing were canceled due to weather and suddenly, on Thursday night I realized that I had a weekday looming–without commitments!

Admittedly, my mind went to all the work-related items I could accomplish! Eight hours of unexpected and suddenly available time can create the space for many To Do tasks to be checked off the list. I thought about it for just a moment when my next thought was NO! Just hang out. Take advantage of the day and of the storm and stay warm, dry, and quiet–right at home.

At that moment, I gave myself permission to just be.

For the past 72 hours, I have not gone out of the house, except to take Grace for a walk. Twice a day for the past three days, I have donned my rain-gear and enjoyed a 1/2 hour of bliss–walking through the storm, cozy and warm in winter clothes, experiencing the fierce wind and rain, senses stimulated by the sights, sounds, and smells of the storm, and I’d return home with a joyful heart and a smiling dog.

I’ve sat quietly and have felt grateful for that quiet. I have baked dozens of mini-loaves of cranberry and coconut-pumpkin bread to be shared next week as holiday love. I have savored the aromas wafting from my kitchen. I have watched the flames in the woodstove. I have made soup and roasted squash. I have had fun on FaceBook and yes, I have even answered a few emails. I have watched the great trees bend and sway in the powerful winds. I have enjoyed seeing the birds braving the elements to stay well-fed from the feeders. I have slowed down.

I gave myself permission to be calm within the storm.

Relaxation 101…Inhale calm, exhale tension

  • Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
  • Close your eyes and soften your jaw.
  • Let your breathing become rhythmic and smooth. There is no need to force the breath. Notice your breath as it moves in and out.
  • As you breathe in, see if you are able to imagine that you are breathing in a sensation of relaxation. With your exhale, imagine that your are breathing out any feelings of tension you may be holding. Just continue to do this for the next ten breaths.  Each breath is smooth and rhythmic; each breath in brings a feeling of relaxation, each breath out releases tension or tightness.
  • Assume a passive attitude.  Don’t worry about how well you’re doing.  When mindless thoughts occur (and they will!), simply observe the shift in your focus, let that go, and gently return your awareness to your breath.
  • Continue for 2 to 3 minutes. Over time, work your way up to a 10-minute practice.
  • When you have completed your relaxation, do not stand immediately.  Continue sitting quietly, allowing other thoughts to return.  Then open your eyes and sit for a moment before rising slowly.
  • Take one more moment to express self-gratitude.  Thank yourself for the gift you have just received—from you!
  • Practice the technique once or twice daily. The regular practice of eliciting the relaxation response will allow for more ease and familiarity. You will also reap the recuperative benefits to your health.

"After thirty years of eating healthy foods and participating in regular, vigorous exercise, I was astounded to discover I have Coronary Artery Disease. In March of 2010, I had two stents placed in my Left Anterior Descending Artery- this was big. I consulted Robin Mallery, RN, knowing she is a local expert on Cardiac Rehabilitation. I especially respected her lifestyle of nutrition and physical fitness. Robin’s reassurance that I was doing many things correctly, and her instructions on how to fine-tune my program to deal with this life-threatening disease, was invaluable. Robin’s exquisite grasp of balancing traditional medicine with diet, exercise, relaxation and fun has helped me through this medical crisis". --Maiya Gralia, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and cross-country ski instructor and coach

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