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During the past few months, I’d sometimes notice I was getting stressed about the small stuff.
Is the baby falling asleep? Am I going to get to my appointment on time? Is this work partnership going to work out the way I want? Is this conversation unfolding how I hoped it would?
There are infinite moments to tense up about each day, each hour.
In the midst of noticing my own stress, I started asking myself a question – a question I want to share with you today.
The question is simply this:
“How can I relax more right now?”
How can I relax more as I write this?
How can I relax more as I wait at this red light?
How can I relax more as I feed this child, or try to move us to the next step of the bedtime routine, or explain why we can’t go to a toy store right now?
How can I relax more as I have this work meeting, or look at this budget?
How can I relax more?
What happens for you when you ask yourself this question, right now?
I notice that when I ask that, there is a physical change into a state of relaxation. My shoulders drop a little. I exhale.
There is also a mental change that I find quite interesting.
When I ask, “How I can relax?” my mind seems to start looking for all the reasons why it’s okay to relax, so I start remembering all that is already good in the situation and start feeling a whole lot of gratitude.
The spirituality of relaxation lies here: relaxation connects us to all that is already sound, good, blessed in the situation – starting with our basic aliveness.
In our push push push, go go go culture, sometimes we get confused about what relaxing is. Relaxing isn’t being passive or doing nothing. It doesn’t mean letting go of aspiration or drive or fierce energy. We can still do our achieving and working and communicating and being in the world – but from a different place, from a place of spaciousness and rest – not from tense attempts to control.
It means going from a clenched fist to an open hand, a racing heart to a calm one, a shallow breath to a deep one.
How I can relax more right now?
Ask yourself a few times today, and each day throughout the week. Let me know: In what situations did you ask this question? What happened? What shifted?
photo credit: Faye Cornish