With Easter weekend approaching, you may be feeling sad that you won’t be able to spend it with friends or family doing the things you would typically do during the long weekend. I too will miss painting eggs with my grandson and enjoying a yummy meal with my family. So now it's time to get creative! What would a virtual Easter look like for you? You could eat your Easter dinner together via Facetime, Skype, or Zoom. You could watch your grandchildren online while they look for hidden eggs or whatever ritual you would normally do together. You could hang colourful pictures of Easter eggs or bunnies on your windows or doors to lift the spirits of your neighbourhood.
My father once told me that when in crisis do nothing. It seemed so counter-intuitive at the time that I initially dismissed what he said, choosing instead to grumble even louder about the challenge I was facing, trying to defend all the reasons why my panic was justified. But he held firm to his advice. Years later I finally got it. And perhaps today, more than any other time in my life, his words echo with such profound clarity. You see, doing nothing means leaning back, looking at the situation with a clear head rather than through the lens of heightened emotions – never the best time for making decisions. So today, I’m encouraging you to lean back. And once you’re acknowledged your emotions and allowed yourself to grieve the loss of the world as we once knew it, shake yourself off, lean in, and begin to see beneath the disruption.
One of the best ways to relax your mind and body, especially during these unprecedented times of uncertainty, is by being in the presence of beauty. And for me, the most peaceful and relaxing beauty is found in nature. Whether it's through the simple gaze at a bouquet of colourful wildflowers or hearing the crickets or frogs on a warm summer night, nature’s beauty can quell my compulsion to go-go-go, like no other. Today, I’m sharing some images that touch my spirit in such a way as to slow my breathing to let my joy in. I hope they will do the same for you.
Why is it that when we decide to take a few minutes for ourselves to just exhale and relax, sometimes we feel that we should be doing something? That by taking a break we might be perceived as being idle, not caring, or simply not being productive. But it’s actually the opposite. Taking a break enhances productivity, not the other way around. Sure your list isn’t done. Spoiler alert. It never will be. In fact, it’s not supposed to be. We can take ourselves so seriously, giving our “tasks” a much higher degree of importance than they really warrant in the grand scheme of things. No wonder so many people are on anti-depressants.
The use of aromatherapy has been around for thousands of years. But it’s only been within the last few decades that it has reached mainstream popularity and understanding, being used for emotional well being as well as physical health. Without getting into all the science behind the effectiveness of aromatherapy in this blog, I want to focus on my top five favourite scents for promoting relaxation since this month’s joy habit is Be Relaxed. If you’ve read this month’s Joy Matters newsletter, you’ll have read the chapter from my book Being Joy™ that explains some of the benefits of relaxing for your body and mind. I also provided some links to articles that give practical tips for stress reduction, and handy self-assessment tool for determining your level of stress. But today’s blog is about taking time to smell the roses…literally!
I’ve always been a music lover. I listen to all types – classical, country, jazz, folk, hip hop, soul. You name it. Doesn’t matter to me as long as it’s music that makes me feel something loving, or is thought-provoking, or just makes me want to shake my booty. I watch the Junos and Grammys every year. I love to hear music from up and comers, even if it’s not always my cup of tea. It’s about honouring someone who took the time to express their thoughts through music. I love that. But my favourite kind of music is the gentle sounds that soothe my soul. The background notes that don’t try to compete for my attention when I’m working or writing. The notes that lull me to sleep each night. And the tracks that help me relax so that I can deepen my daily meditations.
Have you ever noticed how tense your body gets when you "dig your heels in" because you're fixated on having to be in control? So the notion of just stopping for a minute, taking a deep breath and surrendering to the moment might feel like you're giving in. But the truth is that surrender means you’re letting go long enough to let your joy in. Surrender is sweet. It’s liberating. It heals your spirit. It opens up a new window allowing you to see with your mind’s eye, all that you need to see. But in order for that to happen, you must remain flexible as you surrender to a path that may wind in some new directions.
how do you change if you’re fearful of the unknown? In my free eBook 8 Barrier to Joy and Abundance, I have rated the need to control right after the joy blockers of “I’m not Worthy” and “There’s Not Enough”. It’s a biggy. In actuality, the habit of having to control everything and the reluctance to change is based on fear, which leads to desperation and begging for what you want. This type of fear is based on push or chase energy and will inevitably block the flow of that which you most desire. You see, the more you struggle to get what you want, the more you are pushing it away. Why?
With just two more days until Valentine’s Day, this week’s blog is about how living with an open heart can soften the resistance that may be blocking your joy. Being open-hearted means being flexible and not rigid. And it means allowing yourself to be vulnerable. To me, it’s the combination of both of these elements that opens you up to the truth of yourself. As Neale Donald Walsch said, “When the heart is cracked open, we access the most profound human secret of life and that is the secret of your true identity.” To crack open your heart means to let go, to allow yourself to be seen, not just by others, but by yourself as well. It’s where the real power lies.
In this week’s blog, I want to expand a bit more on the message behind the full quote I wrote about in this month’s Joy Matters newsletter from martial arts legend Bruce Lee. (By the way, if you don’t get my newsletter, you can easily sign up for it here.) Here's the quote: “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” When I ran across this quote a few years ago, I immediately understood the magic behind Lee’s amazing martial arts abilities. It was all about being flexible, going with the flow, surrendering instead of forcing. And in my opinion, one of the fastest ways to remember your joy. This is what I mean.