When people talk about “stress reduction” what usually comes up first are things like breathing, meditation, yoga, relaxation, or massage. I love those things! They can bring such a wonderful sense of peacefulness and nurturing as they move us away from the fast-paced, incessant “busyness” of continually having too much to do. But there is another really important part of true stress reduction and self-care. That's the part I want to focus on in this week’s provocation. Do you ever have times when it feels like the real problem isn’t just all the hurrying and rushing, but that it may also be the squishing, deadening, or sleepiness you feel from having lived for days, weeks, months or longer without feeling truly awake, inspired, frisky or alive?
Without these...without the powerful childlike qualities of feeling excited about life, being playful and imaginative, feeling drawn to accomplish great things, and being passionate about new adventures, stress reduction processes will only be a shadow of what they could be.
In light of that awareness here are some important questions to inspire your friskiness! They are in no particular order and each question can stand on its own:
What (or who) makes you really laugh? (A few weeks ago I was out in the California Redwoods with two of my wonderful friends and a few times we were laughing so hard that I literally almost peed!)
What have you ever done, or do now, that makes you have a sense of awe or feel really inspired - you know, where it could almost take your breath away because of the "bigness" (metaphorically or really) or beauty or importance of the thing?
No matter your age right now, what's one beautiful thing you could accomplish before you leave the planet? (Yep, that's my way of saying "before you die or pass on.")
What can you spend hours of effort doing that feels more like play than work?
What sorts of conversations and topics make you feel alive and engaged?
If limited time, money, health or energy were not issues, what could you do that makes you feel playful, creative, passionate, curious and fully awake?
Quite simply and clearly - who or what makes your heart sing?
Your provocation for the week is simple, and wonderful! Go through the list of questions above and give a sincere attempt to answer each of them. You can just think through your answers, or say them aloud, or write them down. As you do this notice how you feel, both as you read each question and as your answers start to emerge. Bask in the deliciousness of starting to remember what makes you feel really alive. Then, take one step, no matter how small or large, toward an action which is in alignment with an answer to one of those questions.
Your fullness and happiness matter!