A wise woman once said to me ‘The best thing you can do for yourself is relax.’ That was many years ago and I have never forgotten it. As time goes by, I have a deepening understanding of what those words mean.
Anxiety is epidemic in our culture. We have record high numbers of people using medication to control the anxiety that keeps them feeling on edge.
And it is understandable that anxiety is rampant:
- The pace of life seeming to pick up speed, technology that supports us and makes life easier while making us dependent and compulsive in our interactions with it
- A hyper connected social landscape where we get skewed, glorified versions of our friend’s lives with the potential to leave us feeling deficient
- The potential of terrorist activity on our doorstep
- A climate that reminds us that earth is out of balance with mega storms, a heat wave in December and monster floods around the world
- The volatility of the global and local economies
- The threat of drug addiction with less and less degree of separation from us
- In addition to personal ups and downs with work and family life
Have I forgotten anything?
Despite all of this, or maybe in part because all of this, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to relax. Because when we are anxious, we are not able to think clearly, we loose touch with our deeper selves and we wreak havoc on our bodies. 90% of all doctor visits are due to stress related issues. Chronic anxiety and stress causes dis-ease.
When we cultivate relaxation we are able to breathe, not just from our upper chest but all the way down to our bellies, oxygenating our muscles, organs, and brain, our whole physical system. We can think more clearly, accessing the larger intelligence of our consciousness, beyond the Monkey Mind of our brain alone.
When we focus on cultivating relaxation, we realize that there are layers and layers of potential for letting go, releasing the holding that has become habitual. And when we do, we can access deeper and deeper levels of our being, our truth, and our consciousness. Our ego selves can calm down and loosen control, allowing us to be more in our essential selves. We let go of the non-essential and live more in the essential.
And living from the essential means experiencing and being nourished by the beauty that surrounds us in nature, our relationships, our work, and the whole of our lives. It means accessing love, compassion, real strength, wisdom, clarity, understanding, true will, peace, stillness, gratitude, appreciation, aliveness, freshness, truth, kindness, joy, presence, power, spirit, the mystery—all the things that nourish and feed our soul.
These things are not outside of us. They are who we are. They have been buried by the ego, which is a false version of all of these things. And the anxiety is built on a belief that we have to acquire these things from the outside.
But when we relax, truly relax and let go, we realize that all these wondrous essential qualities live inside of us. They are who we truly are. Relax, open to all that you are.