How’s it going today?
Here in Massachusetts the heat wave has finally broken and this morning we are enjoying a peaceful cooling rain coming straight down, no wind, no thunderstorm, just wonderful, renewing rain.
So, as I look at my daily planner this morning, already thinking and stressing over the weighty national, as well as international issues affecting us, I now add worrying over my lengthy to-do list. And my anxiety level begins to rise. My shoulders tense, my head begins to throb. How in the world am I going to get all this done, I don’t know! I rub my sleep deprived eyes, set my Keurig to brew, feed my two kitties, and then take my cup of coffee and head into the sunroom. I slide open a few windows for the kitties to look out…..and I hear the rain. I look out and see the little glittering streams of water trailing down from the house eves. Then I see the flowers, some with their faces lifted up to receive the refreshing wetness that will renew their vibrance and sustain their summer lives. Ooooh.
I think how peaceful and inviting this scene is. But then I also think of all the tasks on my to-do list, everything needing my attention today, and I feel the anxiety begin to rev up again. I feel the throb in my head again. I spot my Bible on the table, and remember that I committed (to myself) to having daily morning devotions. But I don’t really have time this morning. But then I look out at the rain. I listen…it’s so calming, so peaceful. My floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows allow a full view, and with them open, it is a symphony of refreshing, calming sound! I realize I am smiling.
Ohhhhhh….. I want to just stand here and take it all in. I want to listen, to hear, to see, to smell, all this enchanted peace – it’s so pretty! It’s so tranquil. It’s so soothing. It’s…yes… it’s anxiety relieving.
But I have so much to do! But oh how I long to just enjoy a moment of this peace.
Some days it’s really hard to make the time, to make ourselves slow down, stop a moment and just rest. De-stress. Rejuvenate. Forget about our troubles, what’s going on in the world, what needs our attention. But that is exactly what we need to do – to replenish our dry and thirsting minds and souls (and nerves!). I am so very fortunate, yes blessed, to live in such a picturesque and soothing place, which sometimes demands I stop and simply see and observe. Beauty, tranquility, peace – all right here for me to behold. Yet, at times I will choose to ignore it all and embrace stress and anxiety instead.
This morning……I chose beauty, tranquility and peace!!
What about you? Are you stressing today? Is anxiety causing you to tense and have a throbbing headache? Do you feel overwhelmed? Are there little feelings of panic inside of you?
Well, try doing what I did, stop a moment. Just for a moment or two, that’s all it takes. Sit in a serene place – or any place out of the noise and confusion. Close your eyes. Take in a slow, deep breath, allowing your stomach and abdomen to fill and pooch out. That’s it. Now slowly let your breath back out. Begin to think about something good; something pleasant; a nice experience you had, something nice that you saw somewhere, something beautiful, something fun; something that brings a good feeling inside of you. Allow yourself to smile at the thought or memory –even just for a moment. Take that moment’s breathe of reprieve from all that is going on, from all that is stressing you out.
Now just sit there for another moment; dwell in that place, in that scene. Open your mind. Let the good feeling seep in. Embrace it in your thoughts, allow it to envelope you. Feel the joy in that one moment. Let it begin to push out the stress and begin to flow and spread, through your mind, down the back of your aching head and tensed up neck and shoulders, into your heart, warming your inner self and releasing the tension. Stay there. Hold on to that feeling. One more moment as you verbally give yourself permission to feel more relaxed, to dwell in that peaceful moment, to relive that wonderful memory. Take another deep breath; drop your shoulders, relax your arms as you breathe out. Feel the calm begin to enter and flow through you. With eyes still closed, smile. For just one moment, allow yourself to feel calm, refreshed, and beautiful. Make the choice within you to hold onto this place of peace and serenity this day.
And then open your eyes, smile at what you've just done, make the decision to see the beauty and any positives in this day and start working on your tasks, one thing at a time, until you’re done. Any time throughout the day you begin to feel overwhelmed again and need a quick refresher, just take this moment’s breathe of reprieve again. The more you practice it, the better you will get at it. And the better you get at it, the more peaceful and less stressed you will be!! Which means a happier, healthier you, better able to leave your positive mark on this world!
..whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -
think about such things.