Sunday, March 13, 2011

Empty Your Cup Before it Overfloweth

Pretty much everyone I talk to about life balance admits that they often feel overwhelmed.  Clearly there are moments when the glass isn't half full or half empty.  It's just plain full  

A cup about to overflow.

Even the thought of not being to handle it all adds yet more pressure. Oh, the possibilities and consequences!  Judgment.  Extra mess to clean up. Suffocation. Failure. (Hello fellow overachievers!)  

Sometimes that super anxious feeling is a clue to us that we need to do less or ask for help.

When both of those options are truly off the table, our "relief" has to come from within. 

True life balance is internal.

Instead of waiting to see which next "drop" will unleash the flood, I personally find meditation to be the quickest way of mentally and emotionally emptying my cup a little bit.  

Here's an exercise I find especially helpful in those moments. Very simple. Even if you've never meditated before, this is a great one to try.   If you're already comfortable with meditation, you can take it to the next level by using different colors depending on what your focus or goal is at the time.

First, deep breathing. In past posts I've mentioned the square breathing technique.  (In for four; hold for four; out for four; hold for four.  Rinse.  Repeat.) 

You can do that or just take a few deep breaths. In through your nose; out through your mouth.  Doesn't need to be a huge ordeal, just close your eyes and breathe.   Slow, easy, deep breaths.

Now imagine that there is a little pilot light in the area of your heart. If you need a visualization to get started, picture a match or small candle being lit.

Next, picture the light gradually getting brighter and brighter... a yellow or white glow expanding bigger and bigger until it surrounds your whole body. Then, imagine the glow is radiating out into the room around you,  through to the sky and then shining out into the universe like a beacon of light.

As you do this, feel the feelings of harmony, gratitude and happiness. You can even think of a specific happy moment. Whatever helps you replace the usual chaos of life with peaceful, joyous, thankful feelings. Let the positive emotion wash over you.  Bask in it.   

Allow all the muscles of your face, neck and shoulders relax.  Let that goofy smile to take over.  Laugh even.  (Yes, you do look silly.  It's okay.  You're allowed.)

When I do this, I usually picture my kids. There is a special feeling of intense joy and peace I feel when I'm snuggling them close, kissing their hair and feeling so filled with love that nothing in the world could ever take it away.

If you're into affirmations (which I am), you can repeat something to yourself like, "I am radiating love and light; attracting health, happiness and prosperity into my life now."

So be it, so it is.

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