The Exorcism of Clenched

There is a young child I am working with right now that perfectly portrayed one night, exactly how I had been handling recent stress at certain points throughout my daily life.

He had a meltdown I could relate to on an almost spiritual level.

You see, I am this kid’s pusher. I am the one who celebrates his abilities while pushing him outside of his comfort zone. I am the one who changes the schedule when he gets too comfortable with routine. I reward him for taking risks, and I keep him going when he melts down with perceived failures. I am the one who plays with him, but also has to tell him it’s time get back to work. I surround him with love. I piss him off.

I make sure he is learning, and growing.

I am to him, what life is to me.

The night this was made clear I had decided to reward him after completing a non-preferred task with using “okay Google” on my phone. He was thrilled! He got to ask one question. He got to see the answer. We got to talk about it.

And then I put the phone away.

Tsar-Nuclear-Explosion

With a red-face, and body contortions so extreme I thought we might have to call a priest, this kid proceeded to writhe all over the couch. I stood there calmly, taking loud enough breaths for him to hear. After what seemed like an eternity later he slithered onto the floor and started to breath with me. He wiped his tears, sharply stood up, and with raised up arms he said with a smile,

“OKAY I AM DONE!”

After a big hug were able to transition to the next activity. He was done, but he was not finished. Realistically, his meltdown did not take anything away but a few minutes of awkward observation on my end. It was more of a physical release than anything else.

For most of us, surrendering to an internal struggle is the best thing we can do to release it.

When you are brought down by life it is okay to meltdown for a bit with the intention of repairing so you can get back up stronger than before. Make friends with your breaking point, and even go a bit nuts. If you are thrower-lover find something appropriate to further release the tension, if you enjoy exercise do a bunch of frustrated push-ups, or sprint down the street. Do yoga. Call a trusted friend to word vomit to, or if you are a writer like myself, pick up a pen and without judgement jot down what you are really thinking.

Do something with your body to support your mind.

Because guess what?

We are not robots. Even the most ultra spiritual person can’t possibly have enough sage to smudge away certain stress.  Who knows? You might find a vegetarian eating bacon on their worst day. Or the most poised person yelling into their pillow when it all feels like too much.

This is all okay.

We all feel, we process, we absorb, and we carry on.

This is what it means to be human.

Maggie xo

It is surprising how sane you will become when you allow yourself to go a bit nuts.”

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The Point of Peace

Dear You,

Sensitive Soul

Anxious Mind

Frustrated See-er

Global Feeler

Lover

Fighter

Thinker 

Healer

I know lately you might be looking around at what is going in our world and feel a number of things…and I understand. I feel it too. I am not all of these things all of the time, but I am all of these at different points in time.

It is so important to try to hone in the weight of super heavy emotions, and do what needs to be done to lift them off. With everything that we are it can feel so tough, but we are not the ones experiencing the toughest. There are people suffering in real time, right now, and for those of us who feel it yes, it is a legitimate feeling. But if you are reading this, you are also mostly safe right now. The tears are being shed in the safety of our homes, apartment, office, and cars.
Go ahead and feel it, but please don’t forget this:
1) You have the power to take action with the things you feel are wrong with this world. You have a voice, you have social media, maybe a little extra income, or some extra time.
2) Your getting back to that calmer place inside of you, your point of peace, WILL make a difference in the world.

How?

As you step outside into daily life, going to the office, getting groceries, or taking your kids to the park…your peace could very well become the one refreshing, or comforting thing to someone you cross paths with. Think about how caring for yourself has a ripple effect on the every day interactions you have with other people who could very well be challenged just the way you have been.

This is how you make a difference.

Maggie xo

The Art of Letting Stuff Go

I sto17349184_10155134360375816_572837452_ood staring at it. Someone on Craigslist had made an offer. It was still fairly new and oh so comfortable. I felt the tears make their way to my throat. I wanted to cry but sent it all back down. It bothered me that I was able to move out of an apartment in two hours, chuck a third of my things during the move, and yet here I stood getting choked up about selling a mattress.

Although I knew it was the right decision the emotional part of me that was oddly attached kept taking jabs. “Don’t get rid of it just yet…wait until next week, or next month, or just keep it…it’s YOUR mattress.” I had to ignore this part and focus on the logic. In order to help the friend who was helping me, the mattress needed to go so we could coexist for longer, and more comfortably.

Oy. Why am I so sad over this. The emotional part kept holding on in my thoughts like a young child clinging to their favorite toy “don’t take away my treasured thing!” The logical part had a firmer tone, presenting itself in a matter-of-fact type manner “in order for you to have a roof over your head you have to get rid of your treasured thing.” One I was ignoring, and the other was anchoring me from completely losing my shit as I navigated my way out of an intense series of unfortunate events.

Then I realized there was another voice that I had allowed to get lost in the fog. The voice of intuition. The voice that knew in my soul, not my mind the “why” of the “whys.” She was always soft spoken and often sent me signals that it was time to check in through a feeling in my gut or chest, and even my throat at times. What did she have to say about all this?

After taking a mindful moment it hit me that aside from my car, the mattress was the last of my own space. It was the last thing I owned that was mine to rest in, mine to think in, mine to toss and turn in on those sleepless nights, and sleep in during those dream-filled mornings. The emotional part needed to be sad about that. It needed validation. So I cried over the stupid mattress, and just as quickly as I cried the slight feeling of grief dissipated too.

I could feel it clearly in my mind now, and in my gut.

If you want to have what you need dear soul, you are going to need to let go of many things you want. 

This included my mattress.

Maggie xo

Meditation Hacks to Tame the Monkey

Let’s talk meditation, honestly.

So you already know that sitting in a one-hour guided meditation is the equivalent to sitting through a moment to moment experiment with your utter incapability to focus and clear the mind. Have you ever experienced the monkey brain syndrome while trying to follow a guided meditation with one of those lovely people with breathy, soothing voices? One of my favorite YouTube videos is of a Tibetan Monk describing meditation as a conversation with the monkey: “Hello monkey! Watch breath.” My monkey brain is super smart and clever, always busy, jumping from one tree to another, happily creating havoc and whipping up the energy in my brain.  

mmbi
Heather Gorham, Monkey Mind, 2009

I used to lie on the floor of my guided meditation class writing mental lists of all the things I needed to get done before I could relax and meditate. It was a very, very productive time in my life during my  fancy yoga and meditation classes paid handsomely out of my New York paralegal salary.

So here I am, 20 years later, and my attention span for meditation is much shorter than what it used to be. Yet I still enjoy the health benefits of meditation on a daily basis! How you ask? I call them my Meditation Hacks!  It is 5 minutes of meditation while cooking; really focusing on the sensation of the food I am preparing. How the vegetables look, how it feels to chop them, how the rough textures of the vegetables feel as I skin them. I focus on my breath and the sensation of the water, and the way the bubbles swirl down the drain while I wash dishes rhythmically. I sometimes take 5 minutes to focus on my breath when I lie down with my toddler as she falls asleep.

In the car it’s actively meditating while I drive. Yes, it is safe. In fact, we are so distracted when we drive, that actively focusing on our breathing and the visuals of the car in front of us, and the road, is far safer than what most distracted drivers do! I meditate while I drive, cook, put my toddler to bed and clean. It makes sense when you think of meditation as just a practice of mindfulness. Slowing down and noticing. Allowing without judging. Tuning in and grounding in the moment, whatever that moment may contain. As a mom, instructor, entrepreneur, speaker, wife and caregiver, I have few spaces in my day where I can do just “nothing.”

So I find ways to integrate mindfulness into my daily grind.

I also use BINAURAL BEATS. They are what many might consider a “cheat.” It is music that tricks your two cerebral hemispheres into coming into alignment. I am a sucker for  the neuroscience behind this method, and this is my new fix. I put on my headphones, and the carefully syncopated, electronically coded beats resonate in each ear differently. The effect is very meditative. I have reached a state of what I assume meditation gurus are describe: very relaxed, yet awake and present. It is magical. We all need different things in life. Why do we think one-size-fits-all meditation will work for us? One size fits all may work for clothes, but not for mindfulness work. Part of succeeding at a practice is to play with different tools, notice our experience, and try something different if its not working for us.

The key is to start anywhere and to do it now , and the benefits will leave you wanting more. So you do it more. And maybe it’s not consistent at first, but bit by bit, it becomes a habit. A good one. You can do this. This is how it became habit forming for me:

  • Start with a just noticing your breath.
  • How are you breathing? Where are you breathing?
  • For 2 minutes just pay close attention to your breath and body.
  • Just noticing and allowing your breathing to be your focus.  
  • How long are you breathing in, how long are your breathing out?
  • Count, and then, add a count in and a count out.

Be kind to yourself, and congratulate yourself for each success, no matter how small your strides. Your commitment to care for yourself gently, will pay off in all areas of your life areas where you now find more room to breathe. You will have created more space where energy can flow to your creativity, your health and toward a deep sense of happiness and calm.  So start now, and take that first deep breathe. Let it all out, very slowly. You are doing it, you are making progress, and you are succeeding. Congratulate yourself.

Brigette Irrarusso

Thirsty Thursday

I would like to share a video I made whilst on a quick Self-Retreat trip earlier this week.

Clearly my skills as a writer surpass my skills as both speaker and video editor however, my thoughts are

Why not? Life isn’t perfect why should my video presentation be?

Just do It.

I think my biggest take away from this trip was that it is important to love and accept myself fully. At my very core I am deserving of this, and AM this.

Love and Acceptance.

In the video I mention that I am “Thinking about the things I don’t like about myself.” Which is my way of going within, and pin pointing the things I am attached to that do not work for my highest good. If don’t like it I can change it, but I have to recognize it first.

I really do hope if anything…you the wonderful reader find yourself toying with the idea of creating your own self-retreat. You do not need a lot of money, or a super lengthy amount of time. You just need to decide that you want to do it.

Then do it.

Maggie xo

Interested in creating your own Self-Retreat but unsure of how to make it happen?

Contact me and I will work with you on planning something within your means, and around your every day life!

callavida@gmail.com

Heart Swells and Butterflies

I heart Love.

My ability to simply sit with the feeling without having any particular person or situation in mind is something I’ve only recently really sank into.

Yet I still love that teenage heart leap when someone you find extra interesting catches your attention. I wouldn’t really call  myself a hopeless romantic… but rather a hopeful sapiosexual.

Meaty conversation, certainty in the uncertain, and a genuine interest in the world around us is what gets my heart pumping.

However, now I mean this with any type of relationship.

Romance, friendships, and work life…whomever, and wherever.

What it really ended up coming down to is the understanding that my energy in this life is precious. I don’t write this with any sense of exclusivity, but more so with a deeper sense of how this operates in my daily life. We experience the mundane and “normal” enough in our day to day. I understand every moment of my existence will not be filled with the type of love-feeling I am describing here,

But…

I also understand that between the larger solid rocks, in that metaphorical jar of what goes in on my life, and with who…the tiny grains of sand fillers are what make it exactly that…fulfilling. So as I move forward making adjustments to my own energy, that includes adjusting interactions that align more with who I am.

(Refer back to the sapiosexual comment)

Because I heart to love,

I will never settle for less than the heart swells and butterflies.

and darling,

Neither should you.

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Maggie xo

Enjoy the Silence

images

<— Can you relate to this? Can I even venture a guess that after a few seconds you might have a person (or people!) in mind? It’s okay-I won’t tell.

They’re the people that really drain you after a conversation. You might leave feeling like you’ve developed a slight headache, or need to lie face down on your bed and purge the multitude of thoughts now planted in your mind.

In the HSP community we call these people “vampires” because they literally suck the energy and brain power out of us. Unfortunately when you are a highly sensitive person you also attract these type of people. They’re the type of people that interrupt when you are *clearly* not done sharing, the ones who visually become uncomfortable when there is a lull in conversation, and who have to be right because being wrong means pausing from that constant internal dialogue supporting this belief.

They are also the people who never stop talking.

Unfortunately you might not always be able to shake these vampires every time you encounter one. Sometimes they are stuck in your life one way or another. It’s important to get rid of the ones you can, and to set boundaries with the ones you can’t. Fill your immediate circle with people who can enjoy the quiet with you sometimes, who listen to you, and gracefully cheer you on.

You need people like this in your life. One of my best friends has four kids, 0r 101 as she likes to put it. You should see her when there is some calm in the house, and she has just a few moments to play on her iPad or read a magazine in the sun. It is times like this it does not matter if have something to share because I see the silence is appreciated in a way I can’t relate to, and these cliffhanger minutes before someone needs something should be respected. Plus our mutual appreciation for quiet moments makes for a pleasurable non-speaking hangout. We don’t have to fill the space with constant conversation in order to feel connected to our friendship.

With that said are you comfortable sitting in silence with others, or furthermore, with yourself?

Can you sit on the couch with the TV off and read a magazine, or work on your computer? Can you turn off the music in the car for one ride and just be with your thoughts? Pause on the phone with someone without feeling weird, or sit with a friend and not say a word? It’s a great place to get to, and although you might not always arrive there on every occasion the more you practice being comfortable in silence the easier it becomes to be comfortable with silence.

Practice sitting with the quiet, and I bet you’ll hear more than you ever thought you would. Who knows, you might even end up enjoying it.

wiseman

Maggie xo