What I would like for this New Year is more ease.
January is the time to set our intentions, to think about how we would like our lives to be. We paint a picture of what we want and open our minds to this new possibility.
Like so many of us in this Western Culture, I grew up believing that success came from “hard work.” I worked hard in school to get good grades, in the university to earn my Ph.D., and at all my jobs. I am accustomed to working hard. It feels safe to work hard and people appreciate me for it.
So why, you may ask, do I want more ease? This is an important question to ask about any intention. With this question, we go beyond the mind and into the body. How will I feel when I have more ease? How will you feel when you get your intention?
TIP: Put your answer in the present tense.
My muscles feel relaxed, particularly my neck and shoulders. I have less fear. My breath is strong and easy. I have more fun. I am more creative. I appreciate the good things in life. My heart is full of love and gratitude.
The good news is that we don’t have to wait for the universe to bring our intentions to fruition. We can start to create what we want right now by changing how we think and what we do.
Admittedly, we need to make a leap of faith here that life won’t fall apart when we act and think in a new way.
Here’s my list for creating more ease. See if any of them apply to your own New Year’s Intention.
1. Put the Body at Ease
Whenever my body feels tense, I can relax by taking slow, deep breaths. Breathing stimulates the autonomic nervous system, which is designed to relax the body.
Breathing give us a pause, a moment to take stock, to notice how we are feeling inside and make adjustments. Taking regular conscious breathers throughout the day helps us to stay present and in the body.
A good practice is to breathe before going through any door. Check in, relax, and prepare for this transition into another space.
Be Aware of Pushing
Sometimes we are not clear about how we feel, particularly when we have been taught to ignore our bodies and focus only on our thoughts. For many years I was either all in my head or up in the ether meditating.
Practices like yoga, body scanning, and self-massage can help us to become acquainted with the body and learn its language of sensation.
In my yoga practice, I have recently become aware of the difference between pushing and easing into a pose. Pushing HURTS. The muscles resist. And the more I push, the more they complain. When I ease into the pose, there is no pain.
This is such a different orientation from seeking the “burn.” The jock in me thinks, “Oh no, you’ll never improve that way! No pain, no gain.” This is an old mindset. Easing into the pose actually allows me to go deeper and to hold the pose longer with out additional effort. Even the muscles that are engaged in the pose are at ease. I am finding that poses I used to hate are now interesting when I approach them with ease.
I can apply the same kind of attention to all my work. How does my body feel as I write this? The body does not disappear when I think, although I often try to ignore it. By checking in periodically, I stay grounded in my body and aware. Is there tension in my neck, my shoulders, my legs, or my head? How does my jaw feel? Are my eyes straining? My mind? Maybe it’s time to stand up and stretch.
Pushing is when we continue to work in spite of the body’s complaints.
It is important to have patience with ourselves. From the early age of 5, we have been taught to sit in hard chairs for hours at a time. This is not natural. It may even be abusive. Our bodies are designed to move. When the shoulder and neck hurt, the body is saying it’s time to take a break.
Notice the resistance of the mind — the thoughts that surface just by contemplating a break. See action item 2, below.
I have found that sitting on a medicine ball helps because I can move while sitting and eventually my butt gets tired and I have to get up. I have also found that the more I practice taking body breaks, the easier and more natural they become.
2. Put Your Mind at Ease
Change Your Thoughts
Thought has a huge impact on whether or not we feel at ease. If we think things will be hard, I guarantee they will be. Partly this is the law of attraction at work. What we think, we create. It is also a matter of focus.
When we think life is hard we will see the world through that lens.
In this mindset, we will only notice the hard stuff and this will make us more tense and negative. Our tenseness and negativity will then invite the same in others. Ever notice that when you bark at technical support staff on the phone they are less helpful?
By choosing to see things as easy, we look at the world with a different lens. One practice is to look for signs that we are getting closer to what we want, that is, to look for signs of land.
Look for Signs of Land
In the early days of seafaring, sailors became adept at spotting signs of land. They might notice the change in the rhythm and color the waves. Perhaps they would spot a bird or piece of land debris.
The more we notice the signs of our own destination the more encouraged and better we feel; and the better we feel the more we notice. It is a very positive loop.
Notice everything that is going well and ignore the rest. Or better yet, look at bad in a different way. As Thomas Edison said of his failures, “I’ve learned one more way how not to make a light bulb!” The “bad stuff” gives us lots of valuable information. We can learn to embrace it all.
It is helpful to pay attention to our words, because the body reacts to everything we say and think. Instead of words like hard or difficult, we can say challenging, character building, or interesting. These words feel more inviting and hopeful.
Affirmations replace the negative thoughts with clear statements of what we want, e.g. “I attract everything I want with ease.” When we have a negative thought, we can use an affirmation to countermand it. e.g. “Making a video blog will be a lot of work and could be awful.” becomes “I make video blogs with curiosity and ease.”
Affirmations should always be put in the present tense: “I am at ease.” or “I am prosperous.”
When we put our statements of desire in the future tense, what we want will stay in the future and never arrive.
Those who are struggling with a recent loss may find this list of strategies for creating more ease a challenge. Even setting an intention may seems hard. I want you to take advantage of this special time of new beginnings. As a New Year’s gift I am offering a complimentary Grief and Loss Breakthrough Session to the first 10 people to sign-up. In this 45-minute phone call, I will help you get clear about where you are now with your loss, where you want to be and what’s stopping you from getting there. You will leave with some resources you can use right away.
Schedule your session HERE.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Grief, Loss and Death Expert Dr. Michelle Peticolas, empowers professional women struggling with grief and loss to find peace-of-mind, closure and a life worth living. If you’re ready to shift into a whole new way of being with death and loss, a new way of living your life, get Michelle’s complimentary illustrated guide, Essentials for Grieving Well at www.secretsoflifeanddeath.com