by Kathie Lipinski
When we decide to develop a new habit, change a perspective or old belief, what is often forgotten is that it does not happen overnight; like a garden, we first need to plant the seed, care for it daily, and protect and encourage what is emerging or being birthed. We need to treat ourselves with kindness, love, compassion, and patience as we “grow” into this new way of being.
Often, we do not see growth right away and need to trust that change is happening at the pace that is appropriate. When I started to write this blog, my husband (a writer also) reminded me of an article that he wrote about the Chinese Bamboo tree. It is unique because it grows at a steady rate but does not break through the ground for several years!! However, once it breaks through, it grows exponentially to over 80 feet reminding us that things take time to “root” and not all growth is visible.
I share this story with you because I was recently guided to a book “Madly Chasing Peace” by Dina Proctor, in which she shares many “games” or techniques that helped on her journey of recovery from addiction. The book sang to me because I found it at a time that I had let go of many of my daily spiritual practices during these recent crazy times. My daily self-care practices were my lifelines and anchor that helped me navigate everyday life. I had gotten caught up in “doership” (trying to make things happen) and the everyday challenges of life forgetting to go within, center and focus and allow myself to go with the flow, seeing where life would lead me.
This book was a nudge to get back to my daily self-care mindfulness practices. It also reminded me that stress will always be a part of our lives and we rarely have control over what happens around us. But what we can control is how we respond. We can change the way we look at things and therefore change our thoughts, beliefs, and our behavior. And as the late Wayne Dyer said…
“When you change the way, you look at things, the things you look at change.”
As I read through the book, inspired by Dina’s journey, what stood out was her 3 X 3 or nine minutes a day of meditation method. This “game” as she refers to it is simply setting aside 3 minutes a day, 3 times during the day, to go inside to let the mind quiet and focus. It is about being present in the current moment and connecting inwardly several times a day. Done regularly, it can recharge your batteries and help you find an inner place of peace and calm as you navigate through life (sounds like Reiki 😊).
It is good to practice any time you feel overwhelmed, anxious or need to interrupt or stop an unhealthy behavior. Taking time out several times a day helps you get a fresh perspective on the situation and tap into your own GPS system—your own inner wisdom, guidance and intuition.
Dina explains the benefits and practice of the 3 X 3 in much more detail in her book, but here are some general guidelines to begin:
- Find a quiet place where you can be uninterrupted for the duration of the time
- Use a timer on your smart phone or other device
- Count your breaths – inhale and exhale- for 3 minutes
- Count the beats of your heart for 3 minutes with one (or both) hands on your heart
- Repeat a mantra of your own choosing or words to repeat over and over
At the end of 3 minutes, you may find that you wish to continue. Do so if you are guided.
For those that struggle with meditation and trying to quiet the mind, I found this technique simple and easy to follow. It also reminded me of my own 3-minute self-relaxation technique (see below) that I had developed when I studied hypnosis and shared with my clients. I later adapted it for my Reiki students where they would place one hand on their heart and one hand on their stomach (power center) as they focused on their breath and counted down from 25 to 1.
What is important to remember is that every technique works but you need to make the time for it and integrate it into daily life. It is not a quick fix but much like a seed that is planted, needs to be nourished and encouraged before one can notice growth.
Let this simple yet powerful technique help you to remember to take time out of your busy life to slow down and listen to the wisdom of your soul within. Your life is more than worth it.
3 Minute Self-Relaxation
DO NOT PRACTICE THIS EXERCISE WHILE DRIVING, WORKING WITH MACHINERY, OR ENGAGED IN ANY ACTIVITY THAT REQUIRES YOUR FULL ATTENTION.
Anytime during the day you can quiet your mind, focus on the present moment, and connect inwardly to your inner place of peace and calm, your inner treasure. Here is how:
1.Sit in a comfortable chair with your back supported. Focus your attention effortlessly on a spot opposite and in front of you. Keep your head straight.
2. Take three slow, deep breaths. As you inhale on your third breath, hold it for three full seconds as you count backwards: 3…2…1. Close your eyes, exhale and think relax, relax, relax. Alllow yourself to go into a sound, peaceful restful state.
3.You will remain relaxed for approximately 3 minutes by slowly counting down with each breath from 25 to 1. (It helps if you allow yourself to visualize or imagine each number in some way as you count backwards). Take a breath, begin to count out loud from 25 down to 1, and say to yourself:
“I am calm, I am relaxed.”
4. When you reach the count of 1 after the exhale… Just count forward from 1 to 3 and you will return to the present moment, feeling refreshed and relaxed.
(You can also begin with 10 breaths, counting from 10 down to 1 with each, and work up to 25.)