#BeingReiki #1000DayChallenge—Day 197: No words

I've experienced so many beautiful things during the last two months. Amazing workshops, sessions, conversations, meditations and insights. 
So many, that I lack the words to express them in a coherent manner. 
It's so hard to describe how it feels when you give your first session working from a space of complete compassion without any interruption from the mind.
Or how sometimes fear will take over my whole system but I can't escape it like before. I can only face it, hold it, makes friends with it until acceptance comes and washes it away.
Or talk about my new obsession: diving into the Buddhist concept of "Right Effort" in relation with the Reiki precepts in order to find out ways to extend the peacefulness and stillness of the practice into all corners of my life (and hopefully others).
So, I apologize for my silence and hope words come back my way soon!
 

 

Photo credit: The Man with the Bowler Hat, by Belgian painter René Magritte. 

#BeingReiki #1000DayChallenge—Day 160: The Tapestry of Life

When I started my Reiki practice, the main benefit I was looking for was to make my life easy.

Yep, that simple, that lazy.

I wanted things to flow and “manifest” without effort, just a half-hearted intention. I wanted to see life from a lofty point of view and feel 100% peaceful 100% of the time.

Are you laughing yet? I am.

On Day 160 of my challenge, things have not become easier. In part because my mind is not used to the concept of ease—struggle has been in my DNA since early childhood and letting go of this concept requires a few more years of ommms.

Instead, life has become… richer.

You see, before I would BE angry. Or happy. Or anxious. Or content.

I would see red, white, grey or gold.

Now I FELL angry. Or happy. Or anxious. Or content.

It’s a subtle play on words but a humongous difference in being.

And when I feel anger vs. becoming angry, I can still be aware of other feelings like happiness, peacefulness, sadness or compassion.

I can see the red threads of angers mixing with the blue threads of peacefulness or the light green threads of love—something I could not when I was BEING angry.

OK, sometimes I AM still angry: this is New York City after all. But less than before. A lot less.

Life has become like a rich tapestry where threads mingle and create beautiful patterns that form and dissolve. All of them are me. None of them are me.

It’s kind of cool.

How has Reiki practice change the way you feel during your day to day?

 

Photo credit: Hunt of the Unicorn, Medieval tapestry hosted at the Cloisters Museum, New York City. 

#BeingReiki #1000DayChallenge—Day 122: My Struggle with Power

—By Nathalie J.

I have an issue with power. Always had.

If I were a shrink I may guess the cause is that I'm the third sibling. Third siblings have little power when it comes to deciding what TV show to watch, where to go on weekends and what to eat for dinner. Most of the time, the only power we have is that of annoyance: to cry until we drive the whole family mad (I was particularly good at exercising this power by the way.)

Going back to power...

I've been reading Frans Stiene's latest book, The Inner Heart of Reiki, and enjoying the many layers and meanings of symbols. Especially CKR. I was never a lover of CKR. I did not grasp this idea of using it to "open chakras" and "put the power of the universe here or there." I'm somewhat of a minimalist and I like to keep my practice really simple. Using loads of symbols during a session would totally drive me out of my space of stillness and connection. It's a personal thing, probably based on my being slightly dyslexic. I am in no way criticizing other ways of practicing. 

"CKR is sometimes seen as an electric outlet where you plug yourself in order to practice."

But I really felt sort of upset that by calling it Power Symbol instead of by its mantra we may be depriving practitioners of the full beauty and depth of this symbol, of its qualities of grounding, of focus, of acceptance, of seeing things as they are. Of the internal work it ignites vs. seeing it like an electric outlet where you plug yourself in order to practice. 

I was ranting and ranting to myself until I started laughing. I was just angry at myself for not having done my work of digging a little deeper into my practice sooner. I could not fool myself and blame others anymore. After all, these past few weeks have been all about Seeing Things as They Are. And being ok with it. 

 

Photo credit: Napoleon in his Imperial Throne by French Painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1780-1867



 

Fall Rescue: Herbal Remedies to Thrive During Autumn

Summer is over and we have to face a new season—not always easy, especially when it means leaving the sun and summer fun behind. But fret not! There are herbs that can make the transition smoother.

Fall is the perfect time to start building our immune system for the winter. Think of incorporating herbs such as Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) or Cat’s Claw  (Uncaria tomentosa).

Another group of herbs that are ideal for autumn and can help you find your balance during this season. There is a long list but some of the most common are Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Ginseng (Panax ginseng) and Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). Add these to some of you favorite recipes or get them as supplements at any health food store.

And if your joints are extra sensitive to temperature changes, try plant-based remedies such as Harpagophytum (Harpagophytum procumbens), also called grapple plant, wood spider and most commonly devil's claw—a genus of plants in the sesame family, native to southern Africa. Be careful not to exceed dosage. 

Although plant-based solutions can help a lot, do remember to always check with your doctor, especially if you have any health condition.

 

Based in Madrid, Spain, Eva Miquel specializes in preparing simple and safe natural remedies to balance and energize your body. She can be reached at evamn@hotmail.com. 

 

 

 

Inspired by Reiki Practice: Letting Negative Feelings Fall Away

Anger, fear, anxiety, sadness and jealousy… As "good people," we are not supposed to feel these emotions. So we read, go shopping or indulge in food and drink to try and escape them.
Or we try to self-improve and ommmm our way out of them, with a “fix it now” attitude.

Why? In my case, I have this fixation that to be a a really spiritual person, I can’t feel negative things. Childish I know, but this thought is actually quite common.

After a few years of Reiki practice where non-judgment and non-labeling are paramount, I’ve become more accepting... and more real. It is not—after all—about having or not having these feelings; it’s about how we react to them. They are a source of energy and if accessed and harnessed correctly, they can actually work in our favor. 

How can we do that? Here are a few suggestions that worked for me:

  • FACE IT: The more we fight or run away from our negative feelings, the more power they have over us. Facing them is a scary thought, but once you do and see how short lived they are, it gets easier.
    Are you angry, scared or very sad? Sit on a chair, feet on the ground, with a straight back. Connect with the feeling. Observe where it’s located in your body. Breathe through it. Don’t try to reason it away, justify it or make it better. Feel the pain going through your body, feel how it peaks, cry if you need and then observe how… it fades away. Observe how your body feels lighter, how your thinking feels clearer. Celebrate with a warm cup of herbal tea!
     
  • GROUND IT: When we feel fear or anger, it’s almost like the feeling takes over our head: our thoughts spiral away, we become hyper excited and do things we may not be proud of afterwards.
    Time to get grounded. Whenever negative feelings take over your thinking, sit down in a chair, feet firmly planted on the ground with a straight back. Locate the feeling in your body (probably in your upper torso, neck or head area). Imagine it has a color and a word that describes it. Stay with it for just a few seconds. Then start dragging it down. If it’s in your head, lower it to your heart and observe how it feels there. Then lower it to your solar plexus. Observe the difference. Lower it once more, this time to a couple inches below the navel. Observe how it has lost most of its high, crazy vibration and it’s settling down. Keep your attention to the navel area, inhale and then exhale the feeling (with its color and name) to the earth through your root chakra. Breathe deeply and freely. And voilá!
    *During this exercise it’s important not to react to your feelings and leave the chair. Stay with it, no matter what.
     
  • SHAKE IT OUT: This one is pretty easy and pretty effective. The idea is to release the excess energy caused by stress and anxiety to regain your balance. Stand up, feet hip distance apart. Shake your right leg, then your left leg. Now shake your right arm, your left arm and then both arms together. Shake your head at the same time. Fold down, letting your torso swing while you shake your arms, shoulders and hands. Then stop, breathe deeply in and out. On the second inhale, come up to a standing position. How does that feel? A lot better, right?

I'm always experimenting on ways to connect and process feelings and ideas. If you have any modality or tip on how to do it, I would love to hear about it in the comment section :-)

Nathalie Jaspar is the co-founder at Natky927 Wellness Collective, and a Reiki Master/Practitioner based in New York City. You can reach her at natjaspar@mac.com

 

Photo credit: "Outre Songer" by Argentine surrealist painter Leonor Fini (1907-1996).

 

Cuando llega el otoño las plantas van al rescate

Después del verano toca afrontar los cambios de estación. A veces no son fáciles de sobrellevar y es importante saber que las plantas nos pueden ayudar con esa adaptación.

La entrada al otoño es una época ideal para preparar nuestras defensas para el invierno, así que plantas como la Equinácea (Echinacea angustifolia) o la Uña de gato (Uncaria tomentosa) están súper indicadas para ello. 

Otro grupo de plantas ideales para mantener el equilibrio durante el otoño incluyen el romero (Rosmarinus officinalis),  el tomillo (Thymus vulgaris), el ginseng (Panax ginseng) o el Eleuterococo (Eleutherococcus senticosus).   

Y para aquellos que sientan los cambios de temperatura en sus articulaciones más rápido que un meteorólogo, la planta indicada para sus dolores articulares es el harpagofito (Harpagophytum procumbens). ¡Cuidado de no exceder la dosis!

Las plantas os pueden ayudar muchísimo, pero no olvidéis consultar con vuestro médico antes de tomarlas. 

 

Basada en Madrid, España, Eva Miquel se especializa en crear remedios naturales simples y seguros para balancear y energizar el organismo. La puedes contactar via evamn@hotmail.com. 

 

Healing the Rupture Within: Coming Together—Body, Heart & Soul—for Fall

The Cherokee have a story that inspired me many years ago.  Unlike the dominant culture, the Cherokee and many other indigenous cultures believe that everything is interconnected.  The story talks about the origin of our suffering, our disconnection from ourselves and other forms of life, which began when our heart and shadow became ruptured, similar to the plot in “The Dark Crystal”, which is one of my favorite renditions of this concept.  The goal, is to weave these parts of ourselves back together.  Not only did this rupture separate parts of ourselves, it also created a wound in the middle of our chest.  Many try to fill the wound with shopping, work, drugs, sex, alcohol or the pursuit of power, which we know does not work.  We must heal the wound, not fill it.  To do this we must cultivate mind, spirit and body by knowing ourselves... our darkness, our light, strengths and weaknesses, our ego.  The Eleusinian Mysteries, a sacred rite held in ancient Greece to the Goddess Demeter used herbs to alter the consciousness of the initiates.  According to Plato, the core teachings of these mysteries were, “Know Thyself” and “Nothing in Excess.”  These teachings are helpful to us even today, so many thousands of years later.

KAVA
Kava (Piper methysticum) is a plant native to Polynesia and Oceana and is traditionally used by Polynesians in their Kava ceremonies.  The importance is not only in the plant, but in the ceremony itself.  In the gathering of community, in sharing space and ingesting the plant as part of a group.  We are slowly reviving these traditions in our dominant culture of ‘individualism.’  I believe this is an integral part of reconnecting with our selves.
Kava relaxes the muscles, reduces stress and relieves anxiety; providing a deep feeling of relaxation without feeling tired.  This allows the mind to be open and can facilitate meditation.  

Modern Preparation:
4 tsps dried root to 8 oz. hot water; simmer 15 minutes; carefully pour in a blender and mix until completely liquid; steep 1 hour.  

Contraindications:
Use roots from plants that are 4 years + only. Not for excessive use and not to be combined with alcohol or medications.  Not to be used for people with Parkinson's.


MUGWORT
Mugwort (Artemisia argyi) is a common weed that grows in temperate zones throughout the world.  Usually called the dreaming herb, this plant stimulates active dreaming. You can prepare as a tea, but also prepare smudge sticks of the fresh plant to cleanse the air in your home and invite connection with the spiritual world. Mugwort tastes a little bitter so feel free to combine it with honey, organic roses, cinnamon or any of your favorite flavors.  

Prepare tea:
3-4 tsps. dried leaves to 24 ozs. of hot water. Steep 30-40 minutes. Drink at least 1-2 hours before bedtime.

Smudge sticks:
Respectfully harvest fresh herb. Allow to dry upside down for one day. Combine about 4-6 stalks and wrap tightly with cotton string, securing at 4 inch intervals before proceeding. Let dry one more day before cutting just above 4 inch mark. Allow to dry for another 5-7 days before burning.

Contraindications:
Pregnancy; people with sensitive skin should use gloves when harvesting. Do not exceed dosage as may cause dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
 

HAWTHORN
Hawthorn (Crataegus oxycanthoides) is one of the best heart herbs. Not only does it work on a physical level by restoring healthy functions of the heart such as irregular heart beat, mitral valve prolapse and ischemic heart diseases to name a few, it also lowers blood pressure (a risk factor for heart attack) and LDL and VLDL cholesterol. Traditional use also includes opening the heart center.  We hold our stories within our bodies and our heart can unknowingly hold our grief, sadness and depression. To know ourselves is to bring those pieces back home and deepen our connection to heart and shadow, spirit, body and mind.

Preparation:
8 tsps. dried berries to 24 oz. hot water, steep 1-2 hours, drink 3 cups daily. The flowers can also be used in combination with berries by adding 10 tsps. flowers and steeping for half hour.

Contraindications:
Cardiac medications, especially Digoxin.


Lauraine Velez is an experienced clinical herbalist who trained at the David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies. She uses Traditional Chinese Medicine along with Western, Ayurvedic, Middle Eastern and Cherokee herbal traditions. She's the founder of Apothecratic Oath.

Photo credit: "Carrefour D'hecate" by Argentine surrealist painter Leonor Fini (1907-1996).

#BeingReiki #1000DayChallenge—Day 90: Sharing Love in Mexico City

—By Nathalie J.

Until now I had only practiced Reiki professionally in New York. It's the world's most diverse city but there is a common tread to the majority of its citizens: going inwards and spirituality are not always a priority. 
Many people have a tough time valuing the work we do as Reiki practitioners and paying our fee. They find it expensive and prefer spending the money on a nice dinner or a few drinks—which is totally valid.
During the 10 days I've been offering Reiki sessions in Mexico City, my experience has been the opposite. Sessions may be in pesos and adjusted to local income, but they still represent a very good dinner at an expensive restaurant or groceries for a few days. Here, however, most people prefer to skip the dinner and go for the session.
And they skip more than one dinner: They get their own session and then get sessions for the people they love: their moms, their aunts or friends who can't afford it at the moment. Their support to their loved ones is in itself the most healing part of the process.
Everything may not be perfect in Mexico, but the warmth of heart and feelings is just beautiful to witness. 
Feeling absolutely grateful for the chance to practice in lovely Ciudad de Mexico. 

 

Photo credit: Las Dos Fridas by Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954).

#BeingReiki #1000DayChallenge—Day 76: Be Humble

—By Nathalie J.

“Humility” was a big thing when I was growing up. My family pride itself in being humble.
Yes, this sounds contradictory.
And it is.
Because being humble, for us, meant thinking we were smarter and better than the rest, but we would never say so aloud. We will self-deprecate ourselves in the hopes we would be contradicted. And if someone didn’t…well…let’s say this person would not be “welcome” for a while (forever.)
Yesterday I was meditating on this precept, and it felt so different and light than my psychological history could surmise. Humility was the act to accept the need to practice every day, the understanding that “spirituality” is about daily efforts. A road that all of us can travel.  And the more we talk about the road, the more we think we advance and remain in place. The more we walk, slowly and sometimes painfully, the more we truly advance.
I am a talker. I love talking. Doing… always been a little harder. But yesterday practice was so humbling in a good way, so honest and beautiful that—for once—words alone just won’t cut it. 

#BeingReiki: #1000DayChallenge—Day 57: Old Tricks, New Tricks

I have not worked in advertising for 10 months.
I forgot how competitive and weird things can be.
Living with a little bit more awareness is a strange thing. You can feel your own competitiveness taking over and playing tricks... but you can also push it aside using your new tricks.
You can feel your own insecurities taking over... and then leave them behind, calmly (meditating on CKR helps like crazy!).
And you can feel your surroundings. How people who smile  are actually very angry and stressed. Or how that arrogant looking girl is just scared and shy.
I'm only doing a freelance, but it's an interesting experiment on how to bring awareness and some Reiki help to survive (thrive?) at the workplace.
 

 

Photo credit: Drawing by Italian renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci.

#BeingReiki: #1000DayChallenge—Day 45: Reading About Death and Reincarnation

—By Nathalie J.

I love the simplicity of Reiki practice but as an ex-journalist (I'm way too curious for my own good) I love to explore other modalities and read a little bit of everything. 

The other day I was reading Sri Chinmoy's writings on "Death and Reincarnation." When it came to his vision of bad karma making you reincarnate in a more difficult life, his descriptions of being born without an eye, missing a leg or mentally disabled, made me wonder. Is it always this obvious? Or could it be more insidious, slow and even gratuitous?

Like in the case of this city filled with wealth, opportunities, attractive people, comforts... and so much unhappiness. So many people having it all, and not being able to enjoy it because of depression or mental frameworks. Feeling broken and not being able to blame a missing arm or leg, popping pills every day to get by. Isn't it also hell? 

Do you believe in reincarnation. If so, what do you think?

Photo credit: "Head III" by Irish-born painter Francis Bacon (1909-1992)

 

 

#BeingReiki: #1000DayChallenge — Day 41: About Respecting Other People's Space

Lately I've been really into the concept of holding healing spaces. I wrote a note inspired by it for our bi-monthly newsletter and I've been practicing with many friends, holding the space so they can do their own work.

I love how supportive yet respectful it is as a concept. You are there. Helping. Without invading. Without influencing. Respecting. Just being.

It's—in my opinion—the same space from which it will be ideal for me to give hands-on session. I'm not there 100% yet. There is still a part of me that wants to help, get involved and make sure positive shifts happen.

Last week, however, it became evident that this issue has nothing to do with Reiki practice but with family conditioning. My family is the kind of over-zealous helpers that overflow with constant advice. They come to your house and reorganize it the way they think it should be. If you feel down one day, they won't relent until they've talked you, pampered you or fed you out of your funk. Because they love you and "know better." In fact, they smother you in love and support until you run away (5000 thousand miles to be exact.)

During last week's visit, however, I was not smothered. I was shocked. Seeing them competing to help and pamper me, made me see how much like them I am. How I tend to hover over people to make sure they're feeling 100% fine. How I spend hours doing things for people who may just be happier if I left them alone.

Thus probably my interest in holding healing spaces. Hopefully a technique I will master in my practice... and in life.

And meanwhile, friends": cut me some slack!

Any tips are super welcome! You can leave them in the comments section or mail them at nat [@] mac [dot] com.

 

Photo credit: "La danse," by French Painter Henry Matisse.

 

In a World Where Busyness Is “In”: How To Slow Down without losing Glamour

Until a few days ago I never questioned the relationship between glamour and busyness. To be honest, I didn’t even know it existed… yet apparently they have a great romance!

I found out about this love affair recently, during a Coaching workshop I facilitated to women ages 15 to 54. We were talking about work-life balance, reducing stress and finding ways not to feel overwhelmed with “endless TO DO lists.”

DOES IT RING A BELL?
The conversation went something like, "For a long time when people asked me, 'How are you?' I just answered, 'Tired.'” "I know, there is not enough time for everything.” "I get you. I'm always exhausted. My brain no longer works." “I'm always the last priority.” “Eating healthy? I don’t even have time for lunch!”

We were going through these thoughts when a girl who had been silent said: "Well...I actually love being busy. It’s sexy, glamorous ... Others perceive me as ultra 'pro', as a woman who is on top of everything. Today to stand out you have to be perceived that way. I can’t afford to rest or relax. And I keep my family—my children—as busy as possible… they better get used to it."

APPLAUDING MULTI-TASKING
The room became silent. A minute later the balance shifted towards the idea of “Busy = Sexy & Glamorous.” Apparently in today’s world being “fine” means being “busy.” The busier we look, the better. It’s the glorification of not having enough time. We applaud multi-tasking. We go around parading that we can’t take vacations, or wearing our lack of sleep as a badge of honor. We “fake complain” about having to eat lunch in front of the computer while working…or sending e-mails, placing calls and writing grocery lists while driving.

We don't stop for even one second and think about who we are becoming and what we are feeling instead of what we are doing. Since when doing chores has become a priority over being a person?

There is no doubt we live in a world with a plethora of challenges, things to do and information. We want to do it all in order to have it all. And in the process we actually lose ourselves: more and more studies are showing that continuous stress is a major risk factor for disease and life-threatening conditions.

From that perspective, I believe it may be a good idea to stop and rethink the values we are attaching to exhaustion, lack of time to dream, play (yes, even adults) and create.  Are these really glamorous and sexy or is it just the way they’re selling it to us?

IDEAS TO NAVIGATE A BUSY WORLD
During the workshop we brainstormed and came up with strategies to slow down and shift towards a new attitude. One that may prompt you to answer "I'm fine, thank you" when people asks you haw are you doing instead of "I'm busy."

Stop glorifying being busy. It’s okay not to be busy all the time. It's okay to make space for leisure and fun. It’s okay to balance things out. It's okay to recharge your batteries, sleep, disconnect from time to time, take a vacation and do things that keep us from "occupation". It’s not sexy or glamorous to exhaust yourself from stress. It’s not glorious to suffer burnout from driving your body and mind to utter exhaustion. And, yes. It’s okay to recognize we are healthy, grateful, happy and able to say: “I'm fine, thanks" without feeling guilty for not being on the verge of collapse.

You have options. The first step to a less busy life is the conscious decision to lead a simpler life. We determine more of our agenda than we think. Each decision counts. We can simplify by seeking alternatives.

Make space and create breaks. When you're working on your schedule—no matter if you do it monthly, weekly or daily—include spaces to disconnect, relax, and recharge your batteries. Give value to these "breaks.” Do it intentionally. Consciously. If you work in an office, consider taking a 5-min. break at least every 90 mins. Enjoy your lunch without staring at the computer or your smart phone… it’s meant to be a break!

Review your priorities. What is important in your life? How are you contributing to the world around you, personally and professionally? What will your legacy be? What will you miss most the last day of your life: a sunset next to the one you love or running around "doing things?" Pause. Ask yourself the questions that count.

All those things. In our workshop we saw that a great part of our busyness comes from the things we own. For example, very large houses need to be cleaned, repaired and tidied constantly. Consider making your life easier. Perhaps when you have less to clean, arrange, organize and maintain you can finally find more time for yourself and your family, minimizing the time you spend in the material things that surround you.

No is a complete sentence. I don’t remember where I read this sentence, but learning to say “NO” is the first step towards a more balanced life. There is no obligation to accept all the invitations we receive. No need to go to every event in town. We don’t have to take on other people’s responsibilities or do things because everybody else is doing it. Review your priorities. Say no to what is not a priority and make space for what is important in your life.

Leave work… at work. Don’t bring work from the office into your home. Your personal life is valuable. Engage in leisure activities or just disconnect from your job. Nourish your spirit and free your mind—it does matter. That space can give you more energy, new ideas and new perspectives to face those hours in the office.

Take vacations. In the United States there is no legislation on paid holidays, and if you are an entrepreneur and you work on your own, you’ll hardly think of leaving your business "solo". Still, make an effort to stop and take a vacation. Invest in experiences rather than things. It will make your career more sustainable and profitable in the long term.

Who’s the boss? Take breaks from computers and screens. Unplug yourself every day at least for a while. Turn off the phone. Do not check social networks. Use that time to do something creative, something you enjoy, watch a sunset, play with your pet, talk to your family at dinner, meditate, go to a yoga class or simply walk around. Ask yourself: are you controlling your mobile phone or is your mobile controlling your life?

Find peace in silence ... Reconnect ... Learn to be with yourself in harmony ... Make room for what is important ... And when it comes to “time is money,” remember: money can buy you things, but it won’t buy you any more time to live. Value the time you have been given in this life.

Niky Pauli s a certified Life Coach by the International Coaching Community, a Leadership Life Coach by the Sura Center and is trained as a Reiki practitioner. She's the founder of  NikyCoach, which combines traditional Life Coaching tools with meditation and energetic healing modalities.

 

Photo credit: Painting by Tamara de Lempicka, Polish Art Deco painter and "the first woman artist to be a glamour star."

 

 

Inspired by Reiki Practice: 7 Real-Life Hacks To Create Space And Make Things Happen

Do you spend your day doing a million things just to realize you achieved very little? That your day feels like being on a treadmill: all day running without advancing one inch?

In society, we are trained to do. We believe that doing will make things happen. What they forget to tell us is that—for things to happen in life—you need to create the space and time for it to happen.

In Reiki we have a technique called “holding the healing space,” which means creating the space and holding it, so healing can take place. A concept I believe you can apply to your life as well: creating a “space” with more thoughtful doing and less busyness so magic can happen.

How? Here are 7 life-hacks that can help. But don’t stick to them. Like guidelines in Reiki practice, use them as a springboard to discover what works for your lifestyle. 

1)   LOOK AT YOUR TO DO LIST WITH FRESH EYES
A friend of mine gave me this fantastic tip:  divide your list in “TO DOs” (chores/work) and your “WANT TO” list (i.e. new paint for the bedroom, shopping, etc).
Keep them separate. The beauty of the WANT LIST is that you can do them whenever. No time pressure. Putting them into the TO DO list transforms enjoyment into duty.
One watch out: resist the temptation to fill your now lighter TO DO list with new chores in order to feel more productive, which takes us to…

2)   YOU CAN’T BE PRODUCTIVE 100% OF THE TIME.
You may want to, people may pressure you, but the reality is that not even computers can do it: they need time to render and process or they spin their wheels. Taking breaks to eat, relax and refresh is not irresponsible. It will actually make you more productive. Your brain will process better and a break of 5 minutes may allow you to do a report in one hour instead of struggling for three.

3)  ADOPT A LAZY SUNDAY AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH.
No plans, no playdates, no planned brunches. Wake up whenever your body (or children) tells you, order take out and decide what you feel like doing. For once, do things according to your mood and physical needs. Feel the difference. Enjoy it. Your brain will really appreciate one day with less adrenaline.

4)  ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION: DO I REALLY WANT TO DO THIS OR AM I DOING IT OUT OF GUILT/OBLIGATION.
We always feel like we can’t cancel or not go somewhere. But going out of obligation is not energetically empowering for you, your family or the people you are committed to see. If you are not feeling up to it or have already too many engagement that week, a nice “I would love to but…” note is the kindest move towards all!

5) NO COMPUTER/SMART PHONE GAMES.
You may think they help you disconnect from work, but one hour of Candy Crush or Whatever Popular Saga will only get more adrenaline coursing through your body. You’re bored in the subway? Try meditating a little bit, doing some pre-thinking on work or going through your TO DO List (to make it smaller not bigger).

6) ASK YOURSELF WHAT AM I TRYING TO PROVE…
with the perfect household, the perfect kids and the perfect job. Not an easy question but one that may lead you to relax a little your own expectations and realize that—some days—an sort of clean bathroom is good enough.

7) LEAVE BLANKS IN YOUR SCHEDULE.
Filling your calendar 100% means leaving no space for the unpredictable, the surprises, the new friendship, the new client, the new business idea, the casual coffee that gives you a new insight into your life...

Because at the end, the best part of life happens in those few moments when we are not expecting or trying to control it.

 

Nathalie Jaspar is the co-founder at Natky927 Wellness Collective, and a Reiki Master/Practitioner based in New York City. You can reach her at natjaspar@mac.com

 

Photo credit: Painting "Sky Above the Clouds" by American painter Georgia O'Keeffe.

Desde España: 4 remedios naturales para bajar la velocidad

El estrés nunca viene sólo, le acompañan un montón de otras palabritas que nos hacen la vida más complicada:  preocupación, presión, insomnio, irascibilidad, depresión, aturdimiento... Por eso es muy importante tener aliados que nos ayuden a batallarlas hasta lograr dejarlas sin significado.

INFUSIÓN CONTRA EL INSOMNIO
Valeriana (Valeriana officinalis) + Pasiflora (Passionaria incarnata) + Azahar (Citrus aurantium) + Tila (Tilia platyphyllos)
Mezclar a partes iguales. 1 cucharada sopera de la mezcla por taza. Hervir 1 minuto y dejar reposar 5 minutos. Tomar entre 30 min/1 h antes de acostarse.

INFUSIÓN CONTRA LA ANSIEDAD
Espino blanco (Crataegus monogyna) + Melisa (Melissa officinalis) + Manzanilla (Matricaria chamomilla) + Lavanda (Lavandula officinalis)
Mezclar a partes iguales. 1 cucharada sopera de la mezcla por taza. Llevar el agua a ebullición, apagar e infusionar unos minutos.

INFUSIÓN CONTRA LA DEPRESIÓN
Hipérico (Hypericum perforatum)
1 cucharadita de la mezcla por taza. Llevar el agua a ebullición, apagar e infusionar unos minutos. Esta planta no debe tomarse en caso de: embarazo, lactancia, toma de anticonceptivos, toma de antidepresivos, depresión severa, esquizofrenia, interacción con otros fármacos.

INFUSIÓN CONTRA EL DECAIMIENTO
Romero (Rosmarinus officinalis) + Salvia (Salvia officinalis)
1 cuchara sopera de la mezcla por taza. Llevar el agua a ebullición, apagar e infusionar unos minutos.

CONSEJOS:
—Prepara con antelación un bote grande con el preparado para no tener que estar mezclando cada vez que necesites tomarte la infusión.
—No olvides preguntar a tu médico si puedes tomar alguna de estas plantas. A veces ocurren interacciones con fármacos o determinadas condiciones.
—Las embarazadas deben tener especial cuidado con las plantas medicinales e informarse antes de tomarlas.

Basada en Madrid, España, Eva Miquel se especializa en crear remedios naturales simples y seguros para balancear y energizar el organismo. La puedes contactar via evamn@hotmail.com. 

 

Cuando Estar Ocupado Es Lo "In", Como Recuperar Tu Vida Sin Perder El Glamour

Hasta hace apenas unos días jamás había cuestionado la pasional relación entre el glamour y estar ocupado. Ni siquiera sabía de su existencia. Pero al parecer, ¡viven un gran romance!
Y me enteré de esta nueva perspectiva (al menos para mí) hace poco, a través de un taller de Coaching y apoyo para mujeres que facilité a un grupo cuyas edades oscilaban entre 18 y 54 años, y que querían hablar sobre cómo obtener un mejor balance entre la vida personal y laboral, reduciendo estrés y encontrando espacios para no sentirse abrumadas con las “cosas por hacer”.

¿Suena la campana?
Estas son algunas de las frases que iniciaron la conversación: “Hace mucho que cuando me preguntan cómo estoy, sólo respondo: ‘cansada’”, “El tiempo no alcanza para nada”, “Siempre estoy agotada. El cerebro no me funciona”, “Me frustro porque al final del día me quedan mil cosas para hacer”, “Hago miles de listas de cosas por hacer y nunca las cumplo. No me da el tiempo”, “Corro de un lado al otro y nunca tengo tiempo para mí”, “Siempre soy la última de las prioridades. No puedo ni descansar”, “¿Comer sano? ¡Ni siquiera tengo tiempo para almorzar!”. “Duermo mal, el estrés por lo que tengo que hacer no me deja dormir”, “¡No tomo vacaciones hace años!”… ¿Alguna les resulta familiar?

En esa enumeración estábamos cuando  una chica que se había mantenido en silencio dijo: “A mí me encanta estar ocupada. Es como sexy, como glamoroso… Los demás me perciben como ultra ‘pro’, como una mujer que está en todo. Y hoy, para destacar, hay que ser así. No me puedo dar el lujo de descansar, de relajarme y mantengo a mi familia—mis hijos—tan ocupados como se pueda, así se van acostumbrando”.

¿Dónde van nuestros aplausos?
El silencio reinó en la sala por un minuto. Y la balanza se inclinó hacia que hoy pareciera que estar bien, es estar ocupado. Mientras más ocupado suene y parezca uno, mejor. Una especie de glorificación del hecho de no tener tiempo… Aplaudimos todo aquello multitasking. Vamos por ahí contando orgullosos cuánto hace que no tomamos vacaciones o diciendo con una sonrisa, que apenas dormimos unas pocas horas por día… O que almorzamos frente “a la compu”… O que mientras manejamos respondemos emails y hacemos llamadas y hasta hacemos listas entre semáforo y semáforo de lo que vamos a comprar en el supermercado.

¿Qué tal detenernos por un momento para pensar en quiénes somos y cómo nos sentimos, dejando de lado lo que hacemos y lo que tenemos? ¿Qué tal, pensar y sentir lo que es importante y prioritario en nuestras vidas, y no, en lo que es urgente o convertimos en imprescindible?

Es cierto que el mundo actual nos plantea muchos desafíos y nos ofrece muchas actividades y posibilidades de comunicarnos…y quizás, queremos aprovecharlas todas. , pero los estudios demuestran que el estrés constante es un factor de riesgo en la causa de enfermedades e incluso en situaciones que pueden llevarnos a la muerte.

Desde esa perspectiva, creo que es bueno detenernos y no etiquetar como glamoroso o sexy nuestro agotamiento o el no tener espacios para soñar, para jugar (si, incluso los adultos) y para crear.

Ideas para navegar un mundo “ocupado”

 Durante el taller compartimos ideas y evaluamos algunas estrategias que quizás te sirvan para volver a decir, la próxima vez que te pregunten cómo andas, “Estoy bien, gracias” y no, “estoy ocupado”.

  • Basta de “glorificar” el estar ocupado. Está bien no estar ocupado todo el tiempo. Está bien hacer espacios para el ocio y la diversión. Está bien balancear. Está bien recargar las baterías, dormir, desconectarse cada tanto, tomar vacaciones y hacer cosas que nos alejen de las “ocupaciones”.  No es sexy ni glamoroso caer exhausto por estrés. No es glorioso sufrir burnout por llevar a nuestro cuerpo y mente a un estado de agotamiento absoluto. Y sí. Está bien saberse sano, agradecido, feliz y con tiempo para poder responder: “Estoy muy bien, gracias”, sin sentirse culpable por no estar atribulado y agotado.
     
  • Tienes opciones. Incluida la decidir cuán ocupado estás. El primer paso para una vida menos ocupada, es la decisión consciente de tener una vida más sencilla. Mayormente, determinamos nuestra agenda. Cada una de nuestras decisiones cuenta. Podemos simplificar, podemos buscar y encontrar alternativas.
     
  • Crea espacios y recreos. Cuando estés trabajando en tu agenda –ya sea que lo hagas mensual, semanal o diariamente- incluye espacios para desconectarte, para relajarte, para recargar las pilas. Dale valor a estos “recreos” para ti mismo. Hazlo intencionalmente. Conscientemente. En tu día a día, si trabajas en una oficina, considera descansar unos minutos cada al menos, hora y media. Para para almorzar (no frente al computador o el teléfono inteligente)… en fin, toma un recreo.
     
  • Revisa tus prioridades. ¿Qué es importante para ti en la vida? ¿Cómo contribuyes al mundo que te rodea, en lo personal y en lo profesional? ¿Cuál será tu legado? ¿Qué echarás de menos el ultimo día de tu vida: Una puesta de Sol al lado de quien amas, o correr de un lado al otro “haciendo cosas?” Haz una pausa. Hazte preguntas que cuentan.
     
  • “Todas esas cosas”. En nuestro taller vimos que muchas actividades se generan a partir de las cosas que tenemos. Por ejemplo, casas muy grandes que hay que limpiar y ordenar constantemente, que necesitan reparaciones con frecuencia, que a su vez precisan muchas visitas a negocios para refacciones, etc. Considera la posibilidad de vivir de forma más sencilla. Quizás con menos cosas que limpiar, acomodar, organizar, mantener… Encuentra tiempo para ti y los tuyos, restándole tiempo a las cosas materiales que te rodean.
     
  • “No, es una oración completa”. No recuerdo donde leí esa frase, pero hay que aprender a decir no. No hay obligación de asistir a todas las invitaciones que recibimos. No hay que ir a cada evento en la ciudad que ocurre en la semana. No hay que llenarse de cosas y cosas por hacer porque otros no las hacen… o porque otros las hacen (y no podemos ser menos). Revisa tus prioridades. Di no a lo que no es prioritario y crea el espacio para lo que sí es importante en tu vida.
     
  • Deja el trabajo en el trabajo. No te lleves cosas para hacer a casa. Tu vida personal es valiosa. Realiza actividades de esparcimiento, recreativas o simplemente corta con lo laboral. Nutre tu espíritu y libera  tu mente. Ese espacio puede darte mayor energía, nuevas ideas, nuevas perspectivas, para enfrentar las horas en la oficina o resolver situaciones cotidianas.
     
  • Toma vacaciones. En Estados Unidos no hay legislación sobre vacaciones pagas, y si eres emprendedor y trabajas por tu cuenta, difícilmente piensas en dejar tu negocio “solo”. Pese a todo, haz un esfuerzo por detenerte, por tomar vacaciones. Invierte en experiencias, más que en cosas.
     
  • ¿Quién manda a quién? Toma descansos de las computadoras y pantallas en general. Desenchúfate al menos un rato cada día. Apaga el teléfono. No revises redes sociales. Usa ese tiempo para algo creativo que te guste, o para sentarte a ver un atardecer o jugar con tu mascota, hablar con tu familia durante la cena, meditar, ir a una clase de yoga, caminar un rato… Y pregúntate si tú manejas a tu teléfono móvil o él te controla a ti…

Encuentra paz en el silencio… Reconéctate… Aprende a estar contigo, en armonía… Haz espacio para lo que es importante… Y recuerda que “el tiempo no es dinero”, porque el dinero no podrá comprarte más tiempo… Valora el tiempo que se te ha concedido en esta vida…

 

Niky Pauli es una "life coach" certificada por el International Coaching Community y el Sura Center. Es la fundadora de NikyCoach, que combina técnicas tradicionales de Life Coaching con modalidades de meditación o de sanación energética tales como Reiki. 

 

Photo Credit: Painting by Tamara de Lempicka, Polish Art Deco Painter and "the first woman artist to be a glamour star", 1898-1980.