I was watching Oprah the other day and she was doing a show on happiness. They talked about who are the happiest people in the US and what you can do to make your life happier. One of the things they talked about is spending 10 minutes a day being quiet. This is an exercise that I often have my clients do. Even if they can’t be quiet for 10 minutes I ask them to start with 1 minute and work their way up. Taking the time to really be quiet. Closing your eyes and just concentrating on your breathing. Blocking out all the noise of the world. I suggest that you do this lying down, but you can do it anywhere. (Oprah stated that she will do this in the bathroom.) As you do this you will start to get in touch of your thoughts, feelings and desires. In taking this time for you, you get in touch with who you are in the inside. Much like spending time with a friend and listening to them, we need to spend time with ourselves and truly listen to what we need. It also has health benefits such as: increase blood flow and slows the heart rate, it reduces muscle tension, and it reduces anxiety. Try this for 20 days. See what you think and let me know. Here is a story I wrote about a special place I go to.
We all have that special place, where as a child we would go to and think. Where no one else would bother you and no one else went. It was ours to experience. Maybe it was in the house or in the great outdoors. Wherever it was, it was yours.
Mine was outside and you had to walk to it. When I wanted to be along and think, I would walk out of my home and down the dusty country road a block or so. From there, I could see it off in the distance. It was a big old oak tree, as tall as the sky. It stood alone in the middle of the cow pasture, with no other trees around it. One branch hung down about three feet off the ground. It was as if it made its own bench, inviting me to come, sit and talk.
To get there was a lengthy task. I climbed over the barbwire fence and I always made sure the cows were not out before I entered their space. Once over the fence, I would walk carefully down the long hill. In the winter, this hill was great for sledding because it was steep and curved and sleds would fly down the side of the hill creating delightful laughter. In the summer, One needed to be careful not to fall over the dark colored prickly shrubs that lined the hillside and get hurt.
At the bottom of the hill were bumps left by the cows. As the cows walked on the marshy land, they would sink down a foot or two and they stepped. The cows would pull up their mud covered feet leaving behind funny looking bumps in the ground. You have the choice of walking through the indents that the cows made in the mud, or you carefully balanced on the top of the bumps. This was like an obstacle course. Of course, you had the option of walking all the way around this area, but it took longer and what fun was that?
Finally, you were at the tree. It was full of green leaves that rustled every time the light summer breeze announced the arrival of evening. The branch of the tree extended like the hand of an old friend to welcome me. I climbed on to it and thought about life and problems I was having. Soon I noticed the sparking lake in front of me. It is clam, clear and looks like a smooth piece of glass call out to me to walk on it. Around the lake is tall brown grass providing a sense of calm as the blades swayed back and forth offering a slow harmonious movement that hypnotized me.
No one is around and only the sounds you hear are the movement of the tress and occasionally a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter. Soon I am aware of my own breathing and can hear the breaths going in and out. I feel one with my surrounding and I am at peace. The problems that I can with slip from my thoughts and are no longer issues, and all is right.
That spot is now surrounded by new houses as life moves forward, but in my mind I go to this special place and find peace. I hope in my journeys, I can be like that old oak tree, standing tall, welcoming, giving someone a place just to be who they are, so they can be at peace.