This past weekend Dan and I went on a train trip. He has always reminisced about a train trip he took with his grandparents when he was a boy, and has wanted to share a train trip with me. The perfect opportunity for such a trip arose with Dan working near Omaha; we found ourselves living directly across from the Omaha Amtrak station. Once on board I discovered a new level of slowing down and I let myself revel in it. As I sat in the train and looked out the window I was lulled into a state of relaxation that I have not recently experienced. The sway of the train seemed to shake out the last vestiges of stress from deep within my bones. I settled in and watched the country go by. I was able to really see and appreciate the natural beauty in a whole new way. Dan and I talked, napped, and talked a little more. I had a huge smile on my face which emanated from deep within my soul. I was reminded of the importance of slowing down, of relaxing, and of healing. Such healing only takes place when we are in a relaxation response. I realized again it is possible to meet the busyness of our daily lives with an awareness of slowing down.
Here is what has come up for me this morning as I sit with the train experience.
Remember a time you were truly relaxed.
Close your eyes and think of a time or a place you felt completely and totally relaxed. What did you feel? Are there any smells (like the salty ocean) or sensations (like the rhythmic rocking of a train or the breeze on your face) associated with this place? Allow yourself to go there now. Take time to experience the sensations, feelings, or smells associated with this deeply relaxing time or place. I sit here writing and can actually feel my train experience.
Take some slow deep abdominal breathes as you are transported back to this state of total relaxation. Allow the sense of relaxation to enter every cell of your body. (If you know Samyama, you can root this experience in your heart.) Stay in this place for a few minutes. Doing this is a great way to start your day. Practicing this movement from stress to relaxation will provide a template that can be recalled whenever needed. You can do a short version of this practice anytime you are going into a highly stressful situation and/or after you leave that same situation. Being in this relaxed state of being will remind you of the importance of slowing down, of the affects relaxation has on your body, and of being more present in any situation.
Knowing how to truly relax is beneficial to everything in your life.
When you’re grieving, whether it is the smaller grief of a daily disappointment or the bigger grief of mourning a loved one, being in a relaxation response can help untangle the intensity of your emotions. You feel more ease when you are relaxed, therefore it is easier to feel all of your feelings.
Try this out for a couple of weeks and let me know about your experience.
In Service to Love,