Back when I was a cynical teenager, a friend from a Catholic family introduced me to the concept of Lent. I had no interest in the rules of her religion (and neither did she, although she still wore the title) but I did like the idea of the ritual.
Giving up something for 40 days NOT because I was being told to or coerced into it, but because I WANTED TO as part of a spiritual quest and out of respect and honor for something that was bigger than anything I knew....Yep, I wanted in. (.....)
I have no idea what the psychological reasoning was behind my rebellious young brain being so drawn to this idea. I just know I've given up something for Lent almost every year since then (and there have been more than a few years in that time.)
I've given up meat, chocolate, alcohol, coffee (my kids asked me not to do that again) and even concepts like smack talk and bitterness. Tangible things tend to produce more concrete results for me than philosophical ideas, but I've always met Easter Sunday with some measure of success.
I've heard Lent called a season of stretching, and so this year, I decided I was not going to give up something. Instead, I would ADD something that would hopefully help me grow. Instead of just stretching metaphorically, I'm planning on doing it literally, every day along with prayer and gratitude as part of a morning rhythm.
I think these will all help me be a better mama, more creative and efficient in my work, and hopefully an all around nicer person. And in the way that things work out just the way they are supposed to, I came across some wonderful tools to help me with my quest this first week.
Stretching the Body
I discovered Esther Eckart a while back and find her absolutely delightful.
She has a yoga sequence for just about any situation you can imagine: cramps, headache, poor digestion, depression, insomnia?
No matter your ailment, it seems like she's got something for you.
And she has a charming accent and calming manner that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
Esther has a bunch of short free videos, as well as longer classes, and if you're really feeling zesty, you can subscribe to full length classes.
This morning yoga flow was at the start of a few mornings for me this week.
Clearing the Mind
Meditation, so to speak, is not something that comes easily for me. Spacing out, following rabbit trails of thoughts, changing direction unpredictably then fixating on potential doom and things I can't control, yes. Meditating...not so much.
I have a highly caffeinated brain, and it's generally on the move.
But, I can feel the need for clearing her, and the benefits of it when I do.
In an effort to improve my meditation skills, I tried some of these ideas from Leonie Dawson.
My most successful has been the 10 breaths. It was quick, easy-ish and pretty darn effective. I felt all relaxy- taxi and clear headed afterward~ ready to tackle some work!
Breathing seems so obvious, since we'd die if we stopped and all, but really breathing, as in clearing and filling the lungs all the way has some amazing benefits.
As a Childbirth Educator, I talk about breathing a lot. But honestly, if you can learn to relax with your breath, it's really friggen useful in life, not just labor. It'll save you all sorts of inappropriate public displays of temper and Bad Mama moments as well.
This week, I did some breathing with Rhoda Jordan. I'm really happy I discovered this lovely young woman as she has all sorts of good stuff on her site.
That's all for this week. I'm hoping these self care tools will be as helpful for you as they have for me!
What resources do you use to take care of yourself? I hope you'l share in the comments below.
(Comments make me happy!)
And if you don't have any self care resources, you should probably get some now before you flip out, burn out or just plain whither away. That would just be unpleasant!
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Who is Zesty Mom?
I'm an Artist, Writer, Funschooling Facilitator, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, Former Goat Herding Chicken Lady, and Full Time Mamacita Extraordinaire to a Couple of Cage Free Kids.
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