ReConnections Blog

By Melinda Brett on 7/30/2013 12:00 AM

The Yogis teach that we are all born with a certain number of breaths to take us through our lives…so breathe deeply and slowly.

I remember when I was first introduced to the idea of meditation and relaxation. It seemed so foreign and something I never imagined I would be able to do. I always believed that if I was relaxing I was being lazy. I embraced the idea that being productive and accomplishing goals was the measure of success. Today I have come to realize that I was so wrong.

What I have learned is that when we are frazzled, rushing, trying to get a million things done we are actually not at our best. We all have a zone where our thinking is the most rational and we see things clearly. It falls well below the level of stress. It is good for us to be a little keyed up because it makes us motivated and interested in our tasks but if we get too riled up we leave that zone and our ability to concentrate and reason becomes compromised.

Every system in our body goes on high alert when we are stressed and it exacts a physical toll. We get headaches, stomachaches, have problems sleeping well and suffer from fatigue. Untreated stress can also lead to overeating, low sex drive, irritability and a depressed mood.

The opposite of stress is relaxation. It is the panacea we are all looking for. Relaxation allows your body to return to a state that it is meant to be operating. It counteracts all of the effects that stress is causing.

Deep, slow breathing is the best place to begin when trying to relax. Though our bodies are designed to relax for most of us it is a skill that we need to learn. Have you learned to relax?

By Melinda Brett on 1/8/2013 12:00 AM

The world is very loud.  There is such an abundance of sounds, sights and even smells.  I have never been so acutely aware of this as when I returned from my month away at Yogaville.  My first step in my journey home was to get in the car.  I turned on the radio and that alone was jolting.  As I approached Charlottesville and pulled into traffice there was so much to negotiate.  There was the commotion of the sounds of traffic.  As I looked around and saw all of the billboards, neon signs and advertisments competing for my attention and interest I was just astonished at the noise of it all.  This was all happening in the confines of my car.  By the time I got home, and had to go into the grocery store and run some errands my brain and body were twitching from overstimulation.  I really was aware of how much I longed for soothing.

Our brains are designed to interpret and process every piece of sensory data we receive from the world around us.  Of course we do most of this on an unconscious level and because of the abundance most of us filter it all on some level or we would be overwhelmed by it. 

Moving, however, from a really quiet environment for a month back into our world I have been wondering how much we really filter.  I have been thinking how does all of this noise really affect us.  I think it affects us profoundly.  I think our nervous systems are constantly in overdrive from the assault of sensory data and I think a lot of our behavior is driven from a need to soothe ourselves.

I really believe that a lot of our behaviors that appear unhealthy like overeating, getting drunk, sitting for hours in front of the television, oversleeping, and being lazy are all stemming from our need to check out.  We are unconsciously and sometimes very consciously in need of quiet.  Our bodies, our mind and our spirit has had too much sensory input and we need time to regroup.

I have noticed that my life has gotten quieter since I've been back.  I have been getting up earlier and allowing time for meditation before even having a cup of coffee.  I am going into the office a little earlier to give myself time to slowly begin the day.  I am longing to walk alone outside instead of going into the busy gym.  I turn the television on less and less enjoying just sitting in the quiet doing a puzzle.  It really does make such a difference.  What can you do today to find some quiet?

By Melinda Brett on 12/6/2012 12:00 AM

For those of you who don't know I have been away at an ashram in the beautiful hills of Virginia.  This is Week Three of the four week commitment.   It should be noted I am only now at a place of feeling I can sit at a computer and begin to express myself with any level of reasonableness.

I was frequently asked before I left why I wanted to come to this ashram.  I shared that I was going to experience life out of my comfort zone.  I wanted to  further my personal growth and recovery.  I wanted to gain greater insight and a deeper connection to the Universal Spirit of my understanding.  I wanted to regularly meditate, take yoga classes and eat healthy food.  It was all very lofty and abstract surrounded by images of love and light.

What I seemed to have glossed over in my plans, was what it really means to be out of my comfort zone.  It has not been love and light and singing angels.   It has been really hard. 

Every comfort I have come to rely on including lots of personal space and privacy that comes from living alone, my daily food selection options, my wonderful bed, setting my own schedule, and getting to pick and choose whom I interact with have all been removed for this period of time.  I didn't realize until I got here how much of my life I have intentionally constructed to keep me comfortable. 

I would like to tell you I have just embraced this and am enjoying every moment.  That, however, would be a great untruth.  The reality is that I have not accepted this discomfort well.  I have found myself griping, both silently and out loud, at every step.  I have whined about the food, the bed, the schedule, the work, the people.  The beginning was filled with apprehension and uncertainty and then quickly moved into being miserable.

Thank goodness for cell phones.  I hear my beautiful friends tell me to stick with it.  I hear myself promising not to abandon myself.  I hear and see the lessons surrounding this experience.

Now I have moved into a place of acceptance rather than resistance though this may change when I get up from the computer.  I am finding ways to get peaceful in the discomfort.  Most importantly, I am finally getting a glimpse of the joy in leaving the comfortable.  I have a sense that it is in the discomfort fully felt that the magic happens.  We'll see.

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