“CAN YOU accommodate me this week to clear and rest my mind, Riza? My company decided to call for a longer holiday this Lent. I would like to use most of it for self-care which I feel I have been delaying. The tension caused by work challenges made my whole-body stiff, affects my sleep, resulting to foul moods. I am deeply concerned that if I do not address it soon, I am certain a serious illness will take over,” said Giorgio, a foreign client of mine.
Giorgio is just one of the millions of people who are in this situation. Health becomes less prioritized, while gadgets and wealth hoarding, unfortunately, are the ones taking the highlight. Where there are hundreds of videos you could freely watch on how to care for the self’s different aspects, viewers just like to watch, and it stops there.
For mental clearing, my best recommendation is to be with nature. Nature, as we know, has a very powerful healing effect to the mind and body. Once you arrived in the space of nature you decided to visit whether it’s the forest, a farm, mountain, sea, or a garden, choose a spot where you feel most comfortable. Observe your surroundings, to its smallest detail. You may sit or stand while doing this.
For example, if you see a flower, check its petals, pistil, shape, size, color, everything about it. Take your time. Feel its texture. Is it soft, rigid, or sticky? You will be surprised to find things you haven’t noticed before about a flower. Apply the same method to other things where your eyes take you. Walk around the place and venture.
Now, stop and listen quietly to nature’s sound. Take note of each that you hear. Imagine yourself becoming a big ear, where every single vibration cannot escape. You may do this with your eyes open or closed. Sound is one of the many important factors overlooked. Sound influences the mind. If high frequency loud music is always part of your day, then aggression, anxiety, nervousness, short-temperament, memory loss and cognitive malfunction will be apparent, according to a study conducted by Mayo clinic and tests designed by Stanford.
Try to smell the air. Does it have a different smell from the air that you breathe daily? Can you smell different aromas? If yes, try to identify each one of them. How do you feel when you sniff a fragrant scent? Watch how your body reacts. Odors, just like sound and sight, impact the frame of mind. No wonder perfumes and essential oil industries are doing very well.
Are there fruits or vegetables or water around you? Would you like to explore the skin, color, shape of the fruit or vegetable? Can you taste the freshness of the water unprocessed or a fruit that is freshly picked? If there’s none present, try the leaves. I learned from my horticulturist years ago, that if insects eat certain leaves, it means it is safe for humans – so you can eat it too.
After the external awareness simple practice, I suggest you think of a situation that made you upset. Play the event in your mind again. Scrutinize each element present in that moment, just like how you checked those objects used above, in detail.
Why did you become upset? What fired it? What did you do? How’s the dialogue? How did you respond? Did you gain something from that reaction? Were you physically and mentally unwell in that moment? If you can change the circumstance, will you? How? What did you realize about you?
From here, you can transcend to your inner world by just being in silence. Breath gently, close your eyes, and divert your attention to your brain. Tell it to soften, relax and stay put. Then go to your heart, lovingly ask it to calm and rest. Do the same to your whole body. Let all its weight just fall naturally to the ground. Imagine turning off all your body systems energy channels – machines stop churning. Activities of organs suspended. All is quiet.
As the body is asleep, the mind awakens. Whenever thoughts arise, be a passive observer, and bring back your focus to your breath.
Recall all the major affairs in your life where you felt you lost control, caused you pain, hurt, and failure. The ones that stayed in your mind block your potential to happiness and success. Clear them all. Employ the external awareness process first to the case. Hereafter, tune inward. Can you see things lighter and better now? Do you feel wiser? If not yet, it is alright. A regular practice will take you there someday.
For a holistic result, try to infuse proper nutrition along with lots of sleep, hydration, gentle yoga, and you will be as good as new.
Wishing you all a meaningful and enlightening Easter.