Peace is Every Step

When things aren’t going the way I want or I need, even if a train is running really slow on the way to work, before I get frustrated I (try to) remind myself that I’m going at that pace for a reason. Either to avoid something or to experience something, whatever it is, I know there is a reason.

A Quick Story
Recently I went on a less than 48 hour trip and flew a red eye home. I decided last minute to take a cab because I was afraid I’d either get lost taking the subways or just fall asleep and miss my stop altogether. Either way when the cab driver got close to my apartment, I said what I always say “Alright, thank you, it’s at the end of the street on the right.” So what does he do? Stops the car, right then, at the wrong end of the street. I wasn’t upset or surprised, just kind of thought to myself “oh ok now I get to walk the block in the humidity with luggage.”

I tipped him 25%. I was feeling very tippy that morning; and he actually sincerely thanked me. I didn’t even know drivers could see the amount immediately when paying with a card – either way it made up for any resistance I had towards walking down the block. And in reality, my legs really needed the walk.

And then, on top of a pleasant drive home, a sincere moment of gratitude and finally being back in my neighborhood I saw a book on a stoop. (In NYC people leave things on their stoops for other people to take.) Most of the time you just walk past – it’s never anything good but that morning it was exactly what I needed. Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life. Written by World-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh. UM HELLO! The universe essentially hit me in the head with it. I am so glad the cab driver hadn’t stopped at my door but instead dropped me to the lap this book was sitting in.

Think about the way I came into finding this book, it can only be defined at serendipitous.

  1. I had to have gone on that trip
  2. Returned that morning
  3. Flewn the redeye
  4. Opted for a cab rather than subway
  5. Then the driver had to stop at the wrong house
  6. AND I didn’t correct him

The stoop it was on is not the the direction I ever go, not for work, the subway, restaurants, shopping… only to the park. or a very delicious, specific ice cream place (hey Ample Hills!) If all of those things had not lined up, someone else would have picked up the book I have fallen in love with and was so excited to find.

What good have you find without looking?

Stress, Man.

I was recently told by a masseuse that I am very tense and that he could tell I hadn’t stopped thinking throughout the massage. I didn’t realize it until he said something, but now I notice how tense I really am – and I’m not happy about it.

Think too much

More and more, we fill our homes with electronics, constant communication and distractions. I know for me, I get caught up in entertainment and need to be continuously fed new information. Pinterest is basically the online version of my brain. I am always looking for more images, more recipes, more workouts, more knowledge, essentially, more unimportant information – just filling my day & brain with things that clutter my thinking. It is all just junk food for your mind & spirit.

The worst part is, I never had somewhere to go to get away from it all. Do you? Ideally, it should be someplace in your home. Even making tiny changes to your everyday routine can help cleanse your brain of the nonsense.

Breathe – The most simple but hardest to remember is to breathe. Try once an hour or every couple of hours to walk away from everyone & everything to take five deep breaths. Go into the bathroom or the supply room if you have to…

Morning Yoga & Before Bed Yoga – Turn off the TV, turn on quiet calming music and put down your phone for five minutes. Do these sequences twice and just breathe.

good-morning-yoga

Meditation – I never really understood the power of meditation until I tried it with assistance.  The Meditation Podcast has some awesome pod-casts that walk you through the experience. I have never been so relaxed or slept so well. You can even download it on your phone and take it with you!

Hot, decaffeinated Tea – Make a hot cup of decaffeinated tea and sit outside, alone or with a friend but leave the electronics inside. Just focus on yourself (or your friend) and your cup of tea. Caffeine can cause jitters, and the point of this exercise is to calm your thoughts. Breathe, sip, laugh… just be present.

Tea

Hang Mint or Eucalyptus leaves in your shower – When the steam starts rising, a relaxing scent will fill your bathroom and help you to, you guessed it… relax.

Image from BLDG 25
Image from BLDG 25

Let me know how you feel after a couple of time trying these!

Images from Pinterest – I do not take any credit for any of the above images.

Remember to Take Breaks

After going on a hike recently and looking through the pictures, I realized something… People need breaks. Physical breaks, mental breaks, emotional breaks…. just breaks. Yes, this was a picture taken purposefully but as hard as you work and as much as you do for other people, you need to remember to take a break for yourself and just sit.  Now granted, mid-work out is not the ideal time to sit down and think about nothing, but who knows? Maybe it is, and can give you a new perspective on a tough decision that has recently come your way.
Now sit down, even for just a couple of minutes and take a break… meditate! If you are new to meditation, check out this meditation podcast.
One of the things I like to focus on while meditating is the quote “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” What can you do to improve yourself that will inspire or motivate people to improve the world?

Image

Image