This week we take a turn from Self-honoring nourishment and stretching, to emptying. You may wonder, what needs emptying? And how would that give one an advantage? I'll walk you through the answers and show you how Self-honoring practices will answer both those questions so you can start using emptiness in empowering ways. You'll feel lighter and more energized in no time!
One of the most pressing "containers" that could use a little more emptiness? The mind. The mind is a reflection of the quality of its contents. It collects and holds an overwhelming number of information "bits" each day. Our senses are also bringing information into the mind to help keep us safe wherever we are and wherever we go. Some of the thoughts we put in our container are positive and helpful, like the Self-honoring ones, but many are not. Stressful experiences may precipitate stressful thoughts. The problem rests in both the quality and number of thoughts with which we fill the container of our mind. The more thoughts we churn, the less clarity, resulting in confusion, frustration and difficulty in managing life. Is essence, a full mind is not a mind we can use to our greatest advantage.
Now, consider the body you live in. It is a container that also reflects its contents. Many of us have sedentary jobs that require us to spend many hours in front of screens. Yes, we all are living fast-paced lives, but once you add the unprocessed stress of the mind to the body's container, you now have stress in the body. Sitting for long periods does not help release the stress, so it continues to build. This situation expresses itself in many ways. One, the less we move our bodies, the more we will feel aches and pains. Stress will also effect how we nourish our bodies—as we may eat more than we truly need when we feel stressed. We also tend to eat lower quality food, because stress is a low calibrating energy. (Compare "stress' low, with "joy," a high calibrating energy.) The food we choose will be a match to our current energy level, which is why Self-honoring choices are so important.
Lastly, let's talk about the "container" of our day via our daily schedules and how overfull they tend to be. Many of us are working late into the evenings, eating at odd times and in odd places, on the go or late in the evening. We sleep at odd times, or just can't sleep at all. None of these could be considered a good option. We have sacrificed our boundaries of basic human needs in order to get things done. But there is a huge cost as we continue to push these boundaries. The to-do list is bursting the seams of our life container. We become disconnected to our bodies, our minds, our hearts and become unhealthy victims of our schedules. Stress tells us we will never "get done," so we push harder and try and do more and more. It is a downward spiral.
The good news? Learning to cultivate a sense of emptiness and space in the containers of the mind, body and daily schedule is possible. All efforts will create a cumulative effect. Using emptiness in the mind can be done through relaxation, breathing, meditation, getting outdoors, praying and even listening to beautiful music. The advantage of emptying a chaotic mind is that in doing so, we create a greater sense of calm, clarity and organization of our thoughts. This helps us with organizing life and also allows for a better quality of sleep.
When it comes to the body, we can take breaks to move it during the day to release stress and restore spacious, calm. Even a few minutes of movement can make a difference. A nice walk outdoors before a meal can release stress and increase your energy by helping empty the mind. A calm, clear mind has a higher more uplifted calibration, which can also be used as a protection from overeating or eating low quality food, because that no longer seems appealing. Eating an early, light dinner means going to bed slightly hungry instead of full, which allows space for greater healing and restoration of the tissues. This is using emptiness to your best advantage.
And we can't forget those schedules! Although finding big chunks of empty space may be unrealistic in this moment, the best we can do there is to be compassionate while making gentle changes. Even a few intentional breaths that will "bookend" work, meals, or the start and completion of a project can create healthy "space" where emptiness can give us a sense of ease. These are all simple and very realistic ways that emptiness used with Self-honor can work to our great advantage. So make time to intentionally empty out every day. Those little pockets of emptiness can be the start of something amazing.
I hope you enjoyed week #4 of Self-Honor! See you next week with another wonderful way to Self-honor.
Always for YOU,