Silence is the true friend that never betrays. ~Confucius
Stillness and delight,
Mellow yet upright.
Alert and aware,
Seeing what is there.
I have quiet and I have space,
no need to hurry or race…
This day is what I have,
right now and nothing else.
this day, this season…
Without reason I must say,
I may dream a bit today…
For some days are paced for
not much more.
True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. ~William Penn
There is something about those wee early morning hours.. if we are not sleeping, it is a time when we are most vulnerable to repetitive anxious thoughts and not sleeping (as a result).
I believe we are not truly awake but we are only semi-conscious at this time. Somehow if our minds get to thinking about things (unpaid bills, issues at work, an argument you had with your spouse, something someone said to you at a party weeks ago…) it can get all blown out of proportion during this “witching hour”.
I’m amazed when I succumb to this form of anxiety at this hour just how bad it seems at the time. It feels so real. I’ll get to thinking about all of my responsibilities at work or focus in on something about my marriage or health that is downright fatalistic.
It is important for us to realize that this kind of thinking is not real. It is not really us, not really our lives… it is our mind doing its witching hour monkey tricks on us. That’s really all it is. Remember: it is not real! Don’t get up out of bed and threaten divorce with your spouse or draft a letter of resignation (or worse, an email) to your boss… do not take any action!
All that you need to do is realize that none of this is real. If you can, create some distance from it. BREATHE. Be an observer of your own thoughts
( a great skill that can be developed it you practice meditation on a regular basis). Laugh at it if you can.
In time, you will go back to sleep. You will wake up, have your coffee, start your day…once you are fully awake and have your center back life will feel all normal again. Trust me, it will!
Here’s to making light of that witching hour and not letingt our anxious minds have any power over us.
Tonight, before you go to sleep, meditate on all things soft and gentle. You can think about the day or anything that comes to mind, so long as the image or feeling that comes out is one of softness, tenderness, or gentleness.
I will give you a few examples to get you started. This can be a journal writing exercise as well. You will probably end up feeling very calm and peaceful. You may even end up with a beautiful bedtime verse. Ready to give it a try?
Okay, let’s see…
Soft and gentle was the day today…
gentle breezes on the beach..
The warmth of the sun gently caressing me…
My daughter’s soft skin that I wanted to protect from the skin’s rays
How soft my hair felt after using my new coconut conditioner
My soft slippers I am wearing on my feet right now..
The soft blanket and covers that I will curl up under soon
The soft chorus of frogs I hear singing their lullaby in our pond out back..
Soft, gentle, tender is this Spring night
There is a peaceful softness that comes from a silent but happy household: after the “good nights” are said, the hugs and tender kisses are made..
The soft pillow awaits…sweet tender dreams are there somewhere patiently waiting.
Good night, soft and gentle Spring night!
True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment. ~William Penn
Making time and space for silence in our daily lives is essential.
What does silence do for us?
Here are a few benefits of silence:
1. It calms our mind and nervous system
2. It helps us to slow down
3. It helps us to become more aware of our surroundings and what is going on inside of us.
4. It puts us in the NOW.
5. It connects us to our higher power
6. It recharges us
7. If we are stuck, in a rut, or need clarification about something, a bit of silence may be all we need to to have what we need surface when we need it.
8. It centers us. As a result of being emotionally balanced we will make better decisions, feel less stress, and react less emotionally to life’s circumstances.
Yes, silence is essential. How do we make time and space for it in our busy daily lives?
Here are a few ideas:
1. Take walks (without your music). Walk in the morning, during your lunch hour, or in the evening.
2. Limit television in your household
3. Sit outside when you can
4. Have a designated quiet room or space for meditation in your house. Train family members to not disturb you when you are in this space.
5. Take a hot bath. Light a candle.
6. Ear plugs can be a blessing!
7. Close your office/bedroom door
8. Unplug. Turn your cell phone off.
9. Drive with your radio off.
10. Visit a park.
What will you do with this time and space for silence?
2. Be still
4. Write in your journal
7. Take in the fresh air (if outdoors)
8. Feel how blessed you are
14. Just BE
Stress is one of the leading causes of losing sleep at night. We aim for a restful night of sleep here at The Warm Milk Journal. It is time to put Stress to rest!
Three main sources of stress:
In your journal this evening (or morning), write down anything that is causing you stress right now. There is a very good chance that it will be one of the three sources listed above: job, family, and health.
Once you pinpoint some areas in your life that are causing you stress, put down your journal and close your eyes and breathe.
Continue to breath, be still, quiet… just be with yourself a while.
Now, open your eyes and your journal and write down anything that comes to mind.
Some questions I ask myself when I do this exercise that are helpful are:
1. Is this something that will really matter tomorrow, next week, next year, or five years from now?
2. What if I were to remind myself of the fact that “this too shall pass”? All things good or bad will pass. This will too in due time.
3. What action steps can I take now to deal with ______ ?
4. When dealing with family issues, what is more important: to be right or to make love be my guiding principle and have peace and harmony in my home?
5. When dealing with something very large, sometimes I just have to ask myself: “Have I done everything I can do?”. If yes, then I truly may just have to focus on my faith and “let go and let God”
Other things that really help with stress?
Take a walk/bike ride/ jog around the block a few times (I have a great music playlist on my Ipod shuffle for this purpose)
Watch a funny movie with loved ones.
Be in the now and appreciate what you have all around you NOW.
You have an active full life. You have many things to do, people whom you are responsible to, duties as a spouse, parent, employee, and business owner…
You have dreams and aspirations. You are ambitious and working hard to create the life of your dreams…
CONGRATULATIONS! You have an incredibly rich and full life!
Does this rich and full life leave you feeling overwhelmed at times?
Do you ever feel like you can’t possibly get it all done?
Do you feel pressure? (from others, society, and especially from yourself)?
I am going to ask something of you right now: TURN IT OFF
Yes, turn the shoulds, and must dos, and everything on you never ending list and inbox on off.
Unplug for a few minutes, please…..
now…. soften or darken the room a bit if this is night time for you. Light a few candles. Even if it is daylight, just close your eyes for a minute and breathe. If the weather is nice sit outside. Be still.
Keep focusing on your breathing.
Don’t think about anything. If your mind wants to start thinking about something, stare into the candle flame or close your eyes and imagine fluffy white clouds in the sky gently floating by. Those are your thoughts. They come. They go. Let them sail on by. That’s right… goodbye thoughts.
When you have been still for a while you may open your eyes.
I will close this post with a few parting ideas:
1. You are magnificent. If you were not, you would not have such a rich life.
2. Life will not stop happening if you don’t get everything done today. Lighten up a bit. Yes, you are doing and creating important things for yourself and the fortunate people around you… it’s all about the pacing though… you won’t be much good to anybody (especially to yourself) if you are exhausted and burned out. Let up a bit. Be at your ease…. things will happen and be accomplished at your ease.. (the alternative is at your dis-ease and you or nobody around you needs or wants that!).
3. The universe abhors a vacuum. If you let up a bit you will create space for great things to come to you.
4. Give your body and mind and spirit a chance to recharge and renew: take that walk, take that bath, turn the computer off, the work you brought home from the office? Bless it and go about your business of life.
I truly believe that whatever our jobs are: whether we are business owners, teachers, corporate employees, homemakers and stay at home parents…. we will do our jobs better if we permit ourselves to HAVE A LIFE. yes, that is right: have a life!
I encourage you to not fall into that trap of feeling like you have to work all the time. That kind of workaholism ethic will only deplete and drain you.
- the candle
- the music that wants you to turn it on
-the bath that beckons
-the spouse or lover that awaits you with tender arms
-that juicy novel that has been sitting patiently near your bedside while you are checking your emails…
In other words, your LIFE is waiting for you.
When your mind is spinning on stuff, worrying about the bills or the to do lists or just thinking about stupid things, it is hard to have much peace.
Here is a simple technique to do to stop the monkey mind.
When you find your mind is controlling you, take back control by simply stating: “I Am consciousness”.
It might take a few times to get used to saying it but this statement will effectively stop your mind. It immediately gets you in the now and more present.
Write it down a few times in your journal.
I Am consciousness.
Breathe. Be still for a few moments. Just BE
I have been experimenting with this technique for the last two days and it really works! Try using it right as you are drifting off to sleep too.
Resource: The Power of Decision by Raymond Charles Barker
Take no prisoner attitude-
You are enough. Believe it. Own it.
I truly believe that believing in ourselves and loving ourselves is the best cure and medicine for anxiety.
Tonight, I invite you during your meditation and journal writing time to focus on your strengths and your power.
Close your eyes and get silent. Breathe. It is a full moon time so harness that energy. Think of the moon light shining on you. Breathe.
Be in that special space for as long as you wish. Don’t think. Empty your cup and bask in that wondrous moonlight.
When you are ready to, open your eyes.
Here are a few journal prompts for your journal writing…
1. What are your strengths?
2. What makes you feel strong?
3. When people compliment you what do they compliment you about?
4. What thoughts put spring in your step?
5. Are there any times when you feel like you are giving your power away? (to circumstance or other people for instance)?
A blessed evening to you,
Five years ago, I was really working on getting a handle on my anxiety. I learned about meditation which helped me tremendously. Meditation is a wonderful tool to train, focus, and calm your mind.
There are many meditation techniques out there. This morning I would like to share with you one that is very simple to do and has worked very well for me.
I discovered indigo when I began to meditate on the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet….
I always sensed a greater concentration when I focused on indigo. Perhaps it is because blue has always been my favorite color and indigo is a very rich shade of blue. Some say indigo is a very spiritual and powerful color. At the end of this post I will share some links to sites about indigo if you would like to learn more about it.
My meditation technique is this: Letting Go With Indigo
I will close my eyes and simply visualize the inner deep indigo layer of a fire flame. That is it.
If I am taking a bath I will burn a candle and focus on the flame. In our living room we enjoy lighting candles or using our fireplace too.
Even if you are not near an actual burning flame, this technique works very well.
Recently when I had an uncomfortable medical procedure done, I had the nurse hold my hand and I closed my eyes , breathed, and concentrated on the indigo in a candle flame the entire time. I was surprised when my doctor told me it was over. The dreaded procedure went by much quicker and painless than I had imagined.
The power of indigo! Try this meditation when:
1. You are feeling afraid
2. You are feeling anxious
3. Your mind is overly active
4. You feel disconnected
5. You wish to develop your intuition or need an answer to a question
6. Anytime you want to be calm, focused, and in touch with the divine and your own power.
I find you can reap the benefits by doing this for only a minute or two. It is truly amazing.
Some resources if you want to learn more about indigo:
The goal of this exercise is to tap into the loving energy you already have towards people you feel close to and transfer that love to strangers or even people you may dislike (initially).
There are three simple steps involved:
1. Close your eyes and think of a close friend or loved one and all of the qualities you like or love about them. This can be a journal writing exercise as well. In your journal, list the good qualities you admire in this person. Imagine each of these qualities stemming from one pure loving source (much like tributaries of a river stemming from one mountain lake).
2. Do the same exercise but with a less close friend. Then, dwell on how you feel about each friend. Although you know one person better than the other, contemplate the idea that the feelings are the same at a spiritual level. Each friendship is special.
3. Now do this exercise with people you do not know well or may even dislike. These people, too, are fed by the same spirit of that mountain lake. Consider positive qualities in them. Feel your heart softening and feeling more warmth towards them.
Breathe. Smile. You are love.
Source: I was inspired by Discover Inner Peace by Mike George, P. 135