Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Gently Down The Stream
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily
Life Is But A Dream
Hypnotists frequently use metaphors to communicate with a client's subconscious mind to create positive change. For people who are struggling -- bracing for storms that may never come, unable to quiet their minds and control their thoughts, or simply uptight -- this song is a a wonderful metaphor. However, to take it in on a deep level you must be relaxed. Since relaxation is necessary for optimal health and well-being, here are some useful things (in addition to HYPNOSIS) that you can do to relax, recover equanimity and restore peace of mind.
1. BREATHE GENTLY/REALIGN YOUR BODY
My spiritual teacher used to say "God is as close to you as your own breath" and this is so. By remembering to breathe, especially when you are feeling anxious or tense, you encourage a smooth flow of energy in your body. When energy is flowing smoothly there is no physical tightness or pain. Though emotions may fluctuate throughout the day, if you can breathe through them, without judging yourself for feeling angry, hateful, frustrated, fearful, or jealous, they won't get stuck. Stagnant emotional energy can lead to physical blockages and more pain.
There are many ways to breathe and many ways to work with emotional energy to ensure its free flow. I'll discuss them in future posts, but for now simply become aware of your breath. Sometimes just focusing on the breath is enough to disperse any blocks and help you settle down. Let your breath be easy, relaxed -- coming in and going out like gentle waves on a white, sandy beach. A divine presence may be experienced as the force that is breathing through you, or as the pure awareness that exists in the space between breaths.
Notice the position of your body when you feel worried, anxious or stressed. Relax your shoulders. Open your chest. Stretch your arms above your head, then down. Release your neck. Move your body from side to side. Massage any areas that feel stiff. Bend your knees. Stretch your legs. Now stand or sit with ease, keeping your spine straight. Imagine Earth energy coming up through the bottom of your feet bringing stability and strength to every part of your body. Imagine light from the sky above flowing down through the top of your head, bringing clarity and joy to your mind and heart.
2. CONNECT WITH NATURE
Each element of nature -- Earth, Water, Fire and Air -- can help us to relax. For some, gardening is the ticket. For others, a walk in the forest. A warm bath, a cold plunge beneath a waterfall, or even a steady rain can take the edge off things. Gazing into a fire on a winter night soothes and calms. A gentle breeze carrying the fragrance of lilacs delights the senses. Connection with life through nature is always possible and with nature being so varied, the possibilities are endless. You know what to do. Spend quality time with your pet, feed the birds, sit beneath the leafy branches of a shade tree on a hot summer day, sing to your plants, hold a beautiful rock or crystal in the palm of your hand. It's all good.
From the tinkling of wind chimes to the melodious trills of songbirds, many outdoor sounds can help to reduce stress. If you have ever watched a YouTube video of a baby laughing then you know it is almost impossible not to feel the same joy. Laughter is contagious! Sound vibrations are often subtle but they can exert a profound effect on body and mind. Many years ago, for continuing education credits, I attended a workshop on acupuncture and shamanism. The acupuncturist chose a point combination using four needles to free up blocked energy. The shaman, who had trained in Africa, brought a number of percussive instruments ranging in size and tone from tiny cymbals and bells to a large drum. During the session, while deeply relaxed from the acupuncture, I had the sublime experience of feeling the sound from each instrument enter a different part of my body. Sometimes it felt like a little zing and sometimes a broad whoosh, a flowing current, or soft pulsation. It was fascinating and at the end of the day I had a deeper understanding of the healing power of sound.
I am also a believer in the power of mantras -- sacred words or syllables -- to change one's physical, mental and emotional state. Mantras are a form of prayer. To reduce anxiety I recommend listening to Mantras for Releasing Fear by Shri Anandi Ma and Dileepji Pathak. A lovely way for a mother-to-be to relax and center herself is to listen to the Devi Prayer, a recitation of many names of the Goddess, from Mother Divine by Craig Pruess and Ananda. You can find it at YouTube.com Devi Prayer Craig Pruess.
There is nothing like playing the music you grew up with, or music that takes you back to a time when you were feeling less stress, to get your juices flowing and help you shift out of a negative state into a more resourceful one. Our default setting is LOVE. Each time we find a way back to love, anxiety departs. Sometimes a song will resonate with our sadness and evoke tears. Writer and meditation teacher Sally Kempton describes tears as the healthy flow of sadness, helping you to let go and move on. Moving on has its own playlist. Compile and record a list of songs that make you happy!