Do you like to plan ahead? Many of life’s transitions can be made more smoothly with planning. When I had my babies, knowing that there is a part of labor and delivery called “transition” that is particularly intense helped me be prepared. Expecting what was coming, and having a plan to deal with it, made it less scary and more possible to ride it through.
There are transitions, however that come unbidden and unexpected. How do you ride through those times? In much the same way that the relaxation and breathing skills I practiced while I was pregnant helped me through transition during childbirth, practicing when it’s easy helps you get prepared for what’s ahead, no matter what surprises life delivers.
Practice when it’s easy! How do you stay centered, well-fed in body, mind, and heart? For me, I practice when it’s easy with regular time for meditation, time in nature, and frequent pauses during my day to take a few deep breaths and remember that aspect of myself that is connected to source. It doesn’t keep some life events from rocking my world and driving me to my knees, but it does provide a well of strength I can draw on in rough times.
At Twirl, we make gifts that carry a message, a reminder that we are connected. My Twirl throw is a calming weight on my lap as I sit in meditation in the morning, or a warm wrap around my shoulders if the morning is cool. Yesterday, my little bracelet with the Twirl logo on it reminded me multiple times each hour to breathe in and breathe out, returning again and again to an experience of balance and ease. We could all use a little reminder to practice when it’s easy. Whether you want a daily reminder for yourself, or you are looking for a special gift for someone else, visit www.twirlconnect.com.
This month is a great month for connecting, slowing down, and enjoying the end of summer. Perhaps August finds you taking a vacation and enjoying travel. Whatever your plans, can you slow down, have fun, and live life more richly? It’s a choice! As the world seems to speed up, with information traveling lightening-like across networks and media outlets clamoring for your attention, it is more vital than ever to find time for a quiet and easy pace. Whether you’re planning a vacation this month or simply scheduling a little ME-time on your calendar, I hope you make this month count.
Have you heard about “forest bathing”? Scientists in Japan are studying the health benefits of time spent quietly enjoying being outside in a wooded environment. They are even talking about “prescribing” this treatment for people experiencing high levels of work-related stress. You can read a Washington Post article about it here, or listen to an interview about it on NPR here. While part of me thinks this is really cool (left brain, science data geek self), there is a part of me that screams, “what has this world come to?!” Do we need scientists to quantify benefits, and medical practitioners to prescribe going outside and enjoying nature? Maybe. If you’re feeling depleted this month, try a little nature. The world is rich with resources all around us that support health and happiness.
Taking a mindful pause is at the foundation of being able to experience the richness all around you, and it’s at the foundation of what we do here at Twirl. Whether it is the beneficial energy of trees, or the love and support flowing to you from a friend far away, you only feel it when you pause to notice (i.e., become mindful). As I prepare to travel this month, I’m tucking an extra Twirl journal in my bag. One for me (I make note of special moments of connection I experience to reference on a blue day), and one for someone I meet on the road, to support their living more mindfully. Perhaps someone you love is coming to visit. A Twirl robe gift set in the guest room is a great way to let them know you will be with them even after your visit ends. If you enjoy finding gifts that are beautiful, useful, made in the USA, and carry a message of love and caring, you’ll love having Twirl as a resource. Visit our product page if you’d like to see more.
Much like the synergy of how our breath connects us with the trees (we breathe in oxygen, they breathe it out; they breathe in carbon dioxide, we breathe it out; both growing and thriving from the relationship), a gift from Twirl is a tangible connection of our love flowing to someone, their reception of the love, the amplification of that love as they think of us…. It’s what we think of as “Twirling”. May your month be filled with beautiful time outside, a good measure of slowing down, and lots of twirling!
Do you know someone who is giving so much you wonder how they continue to sustain the giving? Maybe you have been that person. Maybe you are that person now.
The human spirit is able to endure incredible challenges and continue to shine. I have seen career and family caregivers sustained by their faith, hope, love and joy. Faith that they will have the strength to do what they need to do. Faith that there is a bigger picture than they can see right now. Faith, and hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel, a better day ahead. And love, the energy and motivation that allows selfless service. Love allows people to go beyond themselves. When that love is flowing out more than in, selfless service quickly results in caregiver fatigue. The work depletes the giver, and loss of joy is often the cost for this depletion.
Do you know a person who is tireless, joyful, gentle, and kind? A person that makes everyone around them feel better. They have a special glow. Yes, they are human and have low moments, but most days they light up a room with their presence. These people are balm that heals body, mind and heart of those around them. These special people live in flow, and they work with joy. Joy is one feeling that springs up from feeling love flowing in, coming from a source beyond the individual self. They know the secret of participating in receiving a stream that flows through them, not from them. They move through their days feeling blessed. They look around their world and see things to appreciate everywhere.
If you or a loved one is giving to the point of fatigue, there is good news! By shifting focus from giving to receiving, we tap into something much bigger than ourselves. We remember we are not alone. It may be something as simple as remembering a friend cares about us. That seemingly small act of focus is like an in-breath. I am loved. Suddenly my fatigue seems lighter. Do this experiment to see how you respond when you feel “I am loved”. Take quick stock of how you are feeling – body, mind and heart. Then spend a minute or two imagining a feeling of being loved. Feel it with as much detail and intensity as you are able to bring to the experiment. Then do another quick inventory and see how you feel in your body, mind and heart. Did you move the dial up a notch on your overall sense of well-being? As simple as an in-breath, remembering we are loved feeds us. We have more energy, move vitality, and come into better balance as caregivers.
At Twirl, we remember the comfort received from a casserole lovingly delivered, or cookies taken to a new neighbor to welcome them. These gestures carry value greater than the physical gift offered. Involved in the exchange is a heartfelt giving that lets the recipient know they are cared for and thought about. When you send someone a gift from Twirl, send them a reminder of this little secret: the love you send with the gift flows through you, to them. The love (or well-wishes) nourishes you as you feel it, and them as they receive it. Then each moment spent in mindful focus increases the value of the gift received! The more we participate in the flow – both in and out - the more strength and ease we experience.
Take time each day to feel the flow of love and grace that is present each moment. It awaits your attention. Open your eyes to the beauty in nature. Open your heart to the energy that flows in when you remember that you are loved. As a caregiver, nourish first yourself. It is a simple as breathing in.
This holiday season, I'm treating myself to a hip replacement. I'm so glad our flannel nightshirt, made by our partners at Contour MD right here in the Kansas City metro area, is in production! I'm planning to make the best dressed list in the hospital's physical therapy room. Not only is this nightshirt soft, beautiful, snuggly, and impeccably crafted, but the words "Love and Appreciation" printed on the shirt will help me stay focused and present through my healing process.
I hope your holiday plans are a bit more festive, maybe involving some dancing and twirling, but when you're ready to settle down by the fire with a nice cup of something warm, I hope you're wrapped up in one of these. When you hold an energy of love and appreciation, and I hold an energy of love and appreciation, we're together in a shared vibration!
No matter what this season holds for you, may you bring your most creative self forward, and choose for yourself a vibration that uplifts you and those around you. If you happen to find your holiday schedule trampling you like Santa's reindeers, I've recorded a little meditation for you to use as a re-set. Listen to it here.
This past month, I've been writing about maintaining stability in times of change and uncertainty. Today, my message is one of hope. Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world". Today, I'm asking you to be the hope you want to see in the world.
I've always been an optimist. Not a glass-half-full optimist. I'm a "if we drink that 1/2 glass and are still thirsty, more will be provided in abundance" kind of optimist. I look around the world and see that life and love are stronger than fear and hate. I see more than enough evidence of the pain and suffering we inflict on ourselves and each other, but I see the power of love and kindness every day, too. Let's stay focused on what we want, not what we're afraid of. Let's join together to keep hope alive in times that often look dark.
At Twirl, when we invite you to "wrap yourself in the power of words" we mean it! State your hope out loud. Share your hope with friends and loved ones. Feel how each time we share our hope, the light of hope gets stronger. If you'd like to listen to a 5 minute meditation on hope, listen here.
I shared one of our Twirl healing wraps with a friend today. When she warms it and drapes it around her neck, she will think of me and remember how much I love her, but beyond that, the simple gesture of the gift brought a little hope into her heart.
Will you share with us a story about how you keep hope alive in the world? Each of your stories is a thread in the tapestry that we weave together. Each time you share, our threads are spun together and become stronger. Thank you for being a part of the Twirl story.
Change is in the air. You feel it. Everywhere you look, things are twirling. Today, my message is one of hope, love, and joy. The winds of October are blowing, and headlines aren’t telling you everything. The mirror is not reflecting all of who you are. Each day I’m waking up more and more to the story beyond the story, and I want you to join me.
You are more than what you see in the mirror! You are part of the fabric of energy that both holds you and IS you. Sometimes it is easier to see this with your eyes closed. When you close your eyes, a large percentage of your brain function that is normally used up by visual processing becomes available. This allows you to sense in other ways. Someone said to me last week, “Math is. Mathematics is just our attempt to describe what is.” As an old yoga student who studies subtle energy and also loves science, I’ve always thought, “Metaphysics is. Physics is our attempt to describe what is.” The energy and vibrations that compose us and connect us can be experienced, and we can share that experience with each other - that is a fundamental part of our message here at Twirl.
Last week, my partner Pam and I had a chance to slip our Twirl™ eyepillows into the goodie bags of the 1,500 people attending the Living in Vitality conference. I led some of them in a breakout session on mindfulness, where they took a few minutes to relax and, with the lightweight eyepillow gently soothing their nervous system, experience being fully present. When we unplug from distractions, we actually find that we are plugged in and connected; we are plugged into a shared flow of life energy, most obvious in the simple flow of breath into and from our body. As we feel that flow more fully, we may notice the web of love and support woven into the world around us.
So whatever your days and nights hold, I encourage you to give yourself time to recharge and refocus. When you take time to practice with your eyes closed, it becomes easier to hold this focus when your eyes are open. By choosing to take time to unplug from news and negativity and instead plug into feelings of love and connection, you strengthen your immune system and bring healthier function to your internal systems such as digestion and heart function. Scientists are beginning to observe and describe what spiritual teachers have told us for ages! While you might experience yourself as isolated and alone, you are part of a complex circle and cycle of life. The more deeply you settle your attention on the present, the more deeply you feel the support of the Love inherent in your connectedness as part of the fabric of creation.
When you want a physical reminder for yourself or to send a loved one, something that reminds you that you are part of something infinite and powerful and amazing, I hope you’ll visit us at Twirlconnect.com.
I marvel frequently. Marveling goes well with appreciation! Everywhere in the world, I see patterns and flow (physics!) that bring me moments of awe. It is simply a question of focus – selecting the appropriate lens, finding a new viewing angle. Yes, I see the same road I drive every day. I pass many of the same people as I patter along my daily route. I like my routine! That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of room for wonder and marvel. A small shift of focus unmasks the mundane and shows the magic of the moment. One way I shift focus is by sending my attention inward to notice my body. Recognizing the body’s fluid nature helps me move out of mundane and straight toward magnificent!
This past week, I shared a beautiful video showing, in slow motion, vibration patterns emerging in water. Commenting on the video, I shared that some of the early inspiration for Twirl was the idea that our bodies are largely fluid in nature and, like water, responsive to vibration. My friend Pam told me about an experience she had. She imagined the vibration of words like “love” and “joy” and “peace” flowing into and through her body as she drifted toward sleep. She felt herself “becoming” love and joy and peace.
Today, I’m going to share a movement practice that I use to help me create greater sensitivity to the fluid nature of my body, and through that sensitivity bring more marvel into my mundane. As you read this, take time to do the exercise. Or, if you prefer, listen here to an audio recording and I’ll guide you through the experience.
To bring your attention to your body, reflect on some things you know about it. You know your mouth waters when you see something that looks delicious or smell something enticing. You know that blood flows through your veins and carries nutrients to all parts of the body, as well as carrying waste products away for recycling. Perhaps you know about the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes our brain and spinal cord.
Settle in. Feel the outflow of your breath and the intake of your breath. Even breath has a wavelike flow. Imagine the nourishment of the breath being picked up by the bloodstream and flowing through your body. From the lungs, the blood goes to the heart and nourishes that organ. This is a lovely reminder of the importance of nourishing our hearts! As the blood flows through the body it delivers energy to all parts of you. Take a minute to feel every part of your body receiving that flow of energy.
Now move your attention deep within your body. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flows in a sac called the dura mater (which means “tough mother”!). This CSF is like clear, pure water surrounding your brain and spinal cord. It, too, flows with a wavelike rhythm. Imagine is it like an inner mountain stream that sparkles in pristine beauty. Or, like a lazy river in a water park, imagine it as it circulates up and down around the central nervous system in an endless stream.
Bring your attention to your spine. Allow the spine to move in wavelike undulations. Soften effort, and feel where the body moves easily. Focus on where you feel fluid movement. You may imagine your body like seaweed, or like a sea creature. Take several minutes to enjoy gentle undulating movements of the spine.
Now allow a word like “peace” or “love” to drop into the clear, cool water of your body/mind. As if you are able to feel the vibration of the words, let them resonate through you. If you discover any areas of your body that feel tight or resistant, simply invite gentle fluid movement to move a bit more fully into these places. Be gentle with tight places, as if opening up to receive a soft rain.
Observe the impact this exercise has on your sense of well-being. I find even spending a minute or two with this practice wakes me up out of my ordinary life and reminds me of the extraordinary within and around me.
Tonight when I lay my head on my pillow, I’ll feel the softness of my Twirl pillowcase. I’ll allow my eyes to move toward the words “love and appreciation” embroidered there. I’ll close my eyes and smile. Nothing mundane about that. Marvelous!
A body scan is a great way to bring our attention to the here and now. We can learn a lot by taking a minute or two and checking in with our body. Noticing things like sensation in the chest, belly, head and extremities is a practice so simple even very young children can benefit from this practice.
Practice with the curiosity of a child! Your body deserves and desires your attention! Listen here..