June/July 2017 Experiment with Vitamin N

 Photo Credit: Brian Mann

Photo Credit: Brian Mann

Whether it’s exercise, fresh air, negative ions, or unplugging from the grid, being in nature helps you slow down, calm down, and get grounded. Author Richard Louv coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder” to describe the negative consequences of too much virtual and too little real time.  His recent book, Vitamin N, sites studies showing how spending time in nature helps ADHD, depression & anxiety, obesity & myopia, and the immune system. It’s also a good way to disconnect from the demands of a scheduled life and reconnect with your essential self.

I hope this summer gives you an opportunity to get away from your complicated indoor life and spend some time outdoors. In a spirit of playfulness, why not turn off your iPhone and discover the influence of Vitamin N on your body & mind?  All you need is a place with more nature than concrete. Set up an experiment to evaluate the N experience- before and after. At the onset, how does your body feel? Is it tired, heavy, agitated, or numb?   Is your mind flooded with chatter, judgment, or impatience?  Then, spend ten minutes sitting on a rock or bench tuning in to your senses. What do you hear, see, smell, and feel?  If your mind wanders off, bring it back to what’s real, right around you. Afterwards, check in with your body/ mind and reevaluate.

Spending unstructured, focused time near trees, rocks, water, and wildlife is a good way to get a healthy dose of Vitamin N.  When you take the time to do it, you’ll definitely feel the difference. And, once you do, you’ll want to go back again and again.

NOTE: You can find three interesting and delightful exercises to enhance your N experiment in my longer post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/ann-642 .


May 2017 Rabbit Saves The Day

 PHOTO CREDIT: TPSDAVE

PHOTO CREDIT: TPSDAVE

As I sat at my desk, pondering the publishing industry and my stuck energy one day last week, some movement caught my attention.  I looked up to see a rabbit eating geraniums in the terraced garden outside my window. A rabbit, how sweet!  In that moment, my attention shifted from churning internal worries to the simple beauty of nature. I wondered if this rabbit had a helpful message for me.

Because I know that animals can be symbols of greater meaning, I went to the Internet and looked up Rabbit. Rabbit is known for luck (rabbit foot), fertility (multiply like bunnies), and fear (scared as a rabbit).  It also represents family, shyness, and creativity.  Seeing Rabbit changed my orientation from feeling snared and fearful to seeing writing as a creative endeavor that demands productivity, exposure, acceptance of failure and success, as well as a bit of luck here and there.

Rabbit saved the day for me. Maybe the next time you need to get out of a funk, you’ll notice what animals show up. Personalizing their symbolic message is a good way to change your perspective, tap deep inner knowing, and start things moving again.

(Click here for a longer version of this post) 

Postscript: Shortly after Rabbit appeared in my window, I got a good publishing offer from Llewellyn Worldwide for my book on body wisdom.  In addition to describing ways to listen to and follow your inner knowing, this book helps readers broaden their perspective and feel connected to all life. Look for Body Wisdom- How to Listen To, Care For, and Enjoy Your Most Valuable Asset in Spring of 2018!


April 2017 Spring Renewal

 photo credit: Tim Gouw

photo credit: Tim Gouw

It always takes some effort to reverse the inertia of winter. But, this year, the resistance may be more emotional than physical.  Living with months & months of disturbing news and political uncertainty makes it challenging to get out of the funk and on with your life.  This isn’t just about your attitude. When your body’s carrying a load of angst, worry, and discord, even the momentum of springtime can’t budge the logjam. Why not let your basic anatomy get it moving again? Here’s how:
 
Close your eyes and locate your tight, stuck places.  Now, let your body reclaim its natural range of motion as you slide your shoulders up & down, back and forth, and around in circles.  Let your jaw open and shut, move side-to-side, forward and back.  Let your spine curl and uncurl, bend and twist from side to side.  You get the drift.  Slowly and respectfully, move your body parts through/under the tension.  Release the old and free the way for the “joie du printemps”.


March 2017 Get Centered

 Photo Credit: Kalen Emsley

Photo Credit: Kalen Emsley

Like any physical mass, your body has a center of gravity.  It’s slightly below your navel in the center of your pelvis. As martial arts practitioners know, being aware and moving from the center is the key to both agility and stability. Tuning in to your COG several times a day will also help you get out of your head and into the present moment.  Here’s how:

To get centered:  Place your hands over your center of gravity. Hum softly, directing the sound to your belly under your hands. Let the sound resonate here for three full exhales to awaken the area. Now bring direct the movement of the next three inhales into your lower belly to expand your awareness.

Remember your COG often over the next few weeks. This will establish a powerful, personal reference point whenever you need to get focused and feel centered. Speaking and acting from your center infuses everything you do with confidence and reliability. Try it out in different situations and see how it changes your sense of self and effectiveness in the world.