Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Top 10 Secrets of Serenity

One day last week, I walked into work at the store just in time to see the cutest three year old with ringlet curls throwing a major fit. I'm talking all out on the floor, dress over her head, screaming at the top of her lungs, complete with fake tears, fit.

The mother looked at me like, "Don't judge me." I wasn't. Looked perfectly reasonable to me. She knelt by her kicking side and said, "Honey? What is it?"

She whimpered. Sat up with hair everywhere and a huge crooked pink bow and said, "Nothing. And everything!"

I laughed because, perhaps for totally different reasons, I felt exactly the same way. I may not have been throwing myself on the floor. My hair may have been hot ironed into submission. But, I got it - nothing, and everything. Pretty wise, kid.

The topic of how to find serenity keeps coming up. It's always amusing that people ask me. How would I know?? Peace does not come naturally to this life, but I will say it's far easier to find than it was several years ago.

I go into "fix it" mode when things don't feel right. Sometimes it's a big something. Sometimes it's just an off week. Sometimes I can pin point why I feel kind of yucky and sometimes I can't. Either way, I keep having this same conversation, so, these are the things that I find helpful.

1. Extra sleep. Sometimes the best thing for a busy brain is to shut it off. Medicate if necessary.

2. Eating well. During weird seasons I eat nothing fried, very few carbs, easily digestible food. I have a note on my refrigerator that says, "Eat kind" to help me remember. I find making soup from scratch, even in 90 degree weather, very therapeutic.

3. Forward motion. Feeling stuck, well, sucks. So, I make myself walk. Sometimes far, sometimes not, but at least a little bit every day. There's something wonderful psychologically about putting one foot in front of the other, even if you don't feel like it.

4. Music. I surround myself with my favorite music and keep it playing wherever I am.

5. Prayer. Sometimes the season of "nothing and everything" is wrong is a hard place for prayer. Silent prayer is a great practice, but, if you need words, I love the New Zealand book of prayers. I also have the Psalms on my iPod and listen to them a lot while I sleep.

6. Breathing/Yoga. The stressful seasons invite short, shallow, frantic breaths. Deep breathing is intentional and a natural stress reliever. I combine breathing techniques with my yoga practice early in the morning and in the evening.

7. Comfy clothes. Maybe this one seems a little ridiculous, but I'm a big believer that soft fabrics and comfy clothes invite a nurturing feeling of security. I sometimes barely get in the door at night before I've traded heels and work clothes for yoga pants and my favorite t-shirt that's crazy soft.

8. Creativity. Sometimes I just need my mind to do something else for awhile. Currently, I'm halfway through decoupaging a huge bookcase.

9. Space. I'm fortunate to have an entire room of my house devoted to serenity. It only has a bookcase, yoga mats, my favorite chair, peaceful music, and candles. It's my favorite place. If you don't have a whole room to devote, make a corner, a closet, whatever, a haven where you can just be for awhile.

10. Sharing. Sometimes the same stuff circles around in the same mind until it's just exhausting. And although I don't advocate telling everyone everything, it's healthy to have a few friends who will listen to you ugly cry, call you out when you really should just get over it, and resume all normal parameters of friendship the next day without making you feel stupid. I have a ton of people who surround this life, but honestly only about one, at the most two who I include in seasons of tears, confusion and frustration. My opinion? Fair weather only community of any kind isn't true community.

To some extent, I practice all of these in one way or another all the time. They help me find and maintain peace. And, most of the time, they keep me from throwing a royal fit when nothing and everything is wrong.


Penelopepiscopal said...

Good stuff, Brenda. I'm starting with #1 and benadryling myself into serious sleep. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I need at this point, Brenda! Boy, am I stressed!