Having just finished my Holistic Wellness Practitioner program (where my spiritual journey was at the forefront of every class assignment for two years), I can easily say these five tools not only nourish my Soul, but continue to transform me daily. First, a gentle reminder that you, my love, are a unique individual and you have full permission to edit this list and adjust the time you spend on yourself. Somedays, I need three hours of this magic, and other days, 20 minutes feels like I’ve just returned from a weekend at the spa. However, everyone I’ve worked with agrees these tools are most powerful when practiced in the morning: get ahead of the crazy.
Gratitude/Prayer: Before you even leave the warmth of your bed, take a deep breath, place your hands on your heart, and with a smile, say (mentally or aloud), “Thank you.” It can be that simple. You may feel led to be more specific, or to request guidance and direction for the day; go with whatever feels right for you! Here’s one I use for myself and to open my client sessions:
"Dear God, I invite you into this scared space that you may open my heart to Divine wisdom and healing. I ask that my Angels, Guides, and all Divine Beings assist me in the work I do today, that my mind, body + Spirit be guided by your perfect Love, and that all else is released from this space. And so it is."
Move (yo body): Before you skip past this one, hear me out. Besides, we only have 20 minutes, remember? Even FIVE minutes makes a difference, when you are mentally present and focused on feeling your body move. If you can’t be convinced into some yoga poses or a brisk walk, start by sitting straight up in bed, legs crossed, and take a deep, deep breath as you raise your hands to sky and stretch, stretch, stretch. Release your breath, relax your arms just a bit and do it again. Feel your shoulders and arms reaching up, notice your chest expanding and then release again. Twist gently to each side as your exhale. Slowly, swing your legs off the bed and feel one foot, then the other make contact with the floor. You are powerfully stepping into your day. I follow this by 7-10 minutes of yoga. I drift into the next room and onto my mat and flow through whatever asanas feel right in the moment.
Meditate: You don’t have to meditate an hour, or even 20 minutes to reap the benefits. However, in the beginning, a 20-30 minute daily practice does help establish that space of stillness, as well as reaching it more quickly. Then, just five short minutes can feel like a huge reset for body, mind + Spirit. I recommend meditating after you've moved your body and before you start your day. At this point, you are more likely to sink into that relaxed, alert state most of us are going for in meditation. We want to clear our mind and be laser aware of insights that might suddenly arise from the ethers. You can even integrate meditation right into shavasana (corpse pose) at the end of your yoga practice, or upon sitting up from shavasana, as I do. I like to focus all of my attention on the tip of my nose and my breath moving back and forth, across that point.
Connect with nature: Unfortunately, in today’s “advanced”-everything culture, we forget that we are a part of nature. Very important point here, let me repeat it: We aren’t above nature, we are a part of it. In taking just three to five minutes to step outside (or gaze out of your window), with the focused intention of observing and contemplating what “nature” is up to around you, you accomplish a couple of things: fresh air=fresh energy + perspective; you recalibrate with your true nature which allows you to tune into the subtle wisdom + guidance around you. Subtle wisdom could come in the form of witnessing the naked branches of winter trees against the blue sky, and reminding yourself that we, too, have seasons, and they are each beautiful in their own way. Embrace your season and stop struggling to halt (or fast forward) this part of your life.
Be Mindful: You are adding up the minutes, aren’t you? Thinking, “Ok, Soul Coach lady, we are out of time, here!” It’s true, but being mindful isn’t a separate task here. This is HOW you do something you already planned, not another thing to do. The only rule is it should be something beyond the four tools we’ve already covered. Each morning, as you are organizing your day, choose one activity that you will do mindfully that day. It might be lunch, washing dishes, taking a shower, walking the dog, helping the kids with homework…you get the point. Now, when you begin that selected activity, you give your full attention to it. Remind yourself incessantly to “check in” with all of your senses during this activity. If you choose a meal--no music, no TV, no talking. Feel the weight of your fork. Look at the colors. Smell the food. Feel the textures. And for goodness sakes, taste it! Think about how this food came to you. Imagine the food nourishing your body and invoke gratitude that it will support you over the next few hours. Being mindful is willing yourself to be entirely focused in the present moment. It’s a muscle that builds up quickly and rewards you with so much peace, especially in everyday chores.
Nourishing your Soul strengthens the connection you have with yourself, gently expanding and empowering your sense of self. When you have a really strong, deep connection with the truth of who you are, you flow though your day more easily. You release stress and negative vibes more quickly. Not only do you notice when you aren't feeling centered, when you aren't feeling like the real you, but you are able to identify where adjustments need to be made in order to realign with your Soul. Adjustments to your day, to your life, to your relationships, to how you are showing up in the world, to what you are giving and to what you receiving. And that--having the awareness of what needs to change in order for you to be happier, to be more you--is invaluable. Definitely worth 20 minutes a day!
Give these tools a test ride and share with us how they have changed your experience of everyday life. Do you feel more connected with yourself? Have you increased your peace, compassion, happiness? What other practices you do use to nourish your Soul.
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