It surprised me that relaxation came up, as I plotted and planned out this month's series "Practices that matter". It hadn't been my first choice. I thought perhaps I would talk more about centering, grounding, soul embodiment, and so forth. Things you've heard me talk about before. But as I lived out my practices, I found that relaxation is what I really needed, and therefore probably needed to talk about. The guidance you get for yourself, usually is the guidance that will help others too, right?! 😉
Stress is part of our survival mechanism. I'm sure we've all read enough articles to know that stress is not a place that long-term stress is not good for the vessel. The ironic part is that our brain can't actually tell the difference between high stress and high excitement or joy. Both states trigger similar reactions in our body. This means that we, our thinking, is the only thing interpreting whether a situation is good or bad. While both happiness and stress can trigger similar reactions, only stress has long-lasting negative effects on our natural spiritual connection.
During stress, we are so busy trying to protect ourselves that our attention focuses almost solely on the physical. In other words, our natural balance between physical and soul automatically shifts toward the physical, making it harder to hear or understand guidance. Being so focused on just that one state of being that creates a tunnel vision effect in our thinking and perception. This state of mind is hard to break if we don't know the difference between fear-based thinking and intuition. It can make our thinking AND our guidance muddled.
Einstein said that we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that created them. When we stay in the stress state, we are tunnel visioned into the thinking that created the block. It is only when we can tune back into Soul and Divine self that we begin to more clearly access intuition and wider perspective. I know that it's going sound a little impossible to relax when you feel worried or stressed. But relaxing is the exact key we need to unlock ourselves from the tunnel vision of fear effect AND to open to intuition.
I'm not talking about rushing off to an extra yoga class, locking the door so you can have me-time, or cramming in a ten-minute coffee break. Those activities end up feeling stressful in the end! We've been accustomed to thinking of relaxation as an activity, something else to schedule out in our planners. But relaxation is a sacred act, a simple shift in the way we are perceiving the events around us.
Taking a few minutes to simply stop thinking or "go blank" is just the thing needed to reset your day and vibe. At least a few times a week, I need to take my relaxation a little more seriously. Whether it's a bath, a walk, or just a quiet night to myself, getting away from the tunnel vision mindset stress brings on changes my view on myself and what I'm doing. The practice is sacred because, in that space which relaxation created, Soul inevitably fills.