New Year And The Bigger Picture

I'm writing you all during the Solstice. It's been awhile since I've written and I'm working on some ways to change that. You will be receiving helpful content more often!  I was away on a solo trip over Thanksgiving both for work and personal reasons and decided that sending a message then was trying to do too much. So, I took it off of my full plate and here we are....
Here in the Northern Hemisphere it is the shortest day of the year. The small window of time between the dark of early morning and that of night goes by so fast. For many it is a real challenge to deal with, and others find comfort in it. Hopefully you're not feeling too much in one extreme or another. If there's anything I come back to over and over it's that extremes for too long inevitably create an imbalance in some way or another and often that's not a healthy thing. 
I started thinking about the New Year coming soon and in "light" of this darker time I find it's helpful to start thinking "BIGGER". I don't mean in the sense that "bigger is better" (though if you're getting this message and you live in Texas then yes, bigger is better ; ) But seriously, a lot of what comes up with my clients (and myself of course) is the need to pull back and take a birds eye view of life of a certain situation or mindset. The bigger picture of what's really going on and often how far we have come. It's so easy to get caught in a web of the day to day things going on. This can happen frequently when dealing with physical and emotional pain and also with anything we are slowly trying to learn or change. For example: I've had clients say things like "eating healthy is expensive". Nutrient dense food vs. nutrient void food. You get more bang for your buck (so to speak) when you eat nutrient dense food. You also sometimes need less of the nutrient dense food (and get WAY more out of it vs the nutrient void food). Preventative health actions cost LESS in the long run than it does being SICK.

Always think about the bigger picture going on and your "WHY".  Why are you tending to yourself and your health in new and improved ways? Ask yourself how you want to FEEL. Maybe it helps you to think of all the years you have spent not feeling well, in pain and/or on meds. The cummulative cost of that takes its toll on pretty much every aspect of your life right? Let me know your thoughts! We truly are capable of so much more beyond that.

A helpful "bigger picture" tool that I love to teach and will share with you all (below) is a certain kind of body scan. There are several versions of this that I like and here is just one of them. It's so calming and helpful during times when we get "caught" in any kind of daily grind and are having a hard time falling asleep or getting centered or remembering we are working towards something more, something beyond the difficult moment we are experiencing that feels all consuming. We all need ways in which we can connect back to ourselves in grounding ways. 

Here's a "body recipe" I've created for you: 

Lay down on your back somewhere comfortable. (OR, if you prefer, this can also be done sitting up or even while taking a walk)
Start with a few cleansing deep breathes, in your nose and out your mouth. At least five FULL breaths. Fill your lungs!
Move down to your toes and your feet and focus all of your attention on your feet.
Think about all the ways in the day that your feet supported and carried you through the day. EVEN if your feet are or were a source of something uncomfortable, STILL find something you value and appreciate about your feet! Sometimes that simply means admiring that they are sensitive and love the feeling of being touched or how the carpet felt as you tip toed on it.
When your mind starts going off on a tangent, notice it and then return to your feet. Yes, even thank you feet : )
Next move up to your calves. See them. Imagine what they have done to support your legs and your movement and what you like about them. You have to find something you like, NOT what you are criticizing them for (that part can get more challenging as you move up to the next body parts like your belly or your hips.)
So repeat this awareness with your calves...then your knees....your thighs....and so on. Picture each part. Stay there awhile and also take it deeper. Go inside. Imagine all the things your liver, your kidneys, your many internal parts are doing to support YOU all day long.
What do you love about them? What happened THAT DAY with those body parts?
For example: I love when I get to my hands. I love remembering all the things they have touched and felt and created in a day. SO many things! I even wrote my name with my non-dominant hand the other day and enjoyed the challenge. Thanks hands! Hot stuff. When I get to a body part that I have a tendency to criticize I immediately stop myself and find a way to realize something else that I can shine some other light on about that part. Like how sensitive the skin is there and how nice that i can feel that. There's always SOMETHING you can illuminate. Take another deep breath there.
You get the point.
Taking time to realize the BIGGER PICTURE of even just our bodies alone can do a lot. After all, we live in them ALL THE TIME. Our hearts always beat, round the clock, our lungs taking in and expelling air....our kidneys filtering. There is endless communication going on underneath the surface, tuning into that can be a real gift if you allow for it. For those of you who have a hard time falling asleep and shutting off your mind chatter, do this exercise to get off of the hamster wheel!!

It works. Try it!