I’ve been home from a wonderful trip to Tuscany for a few days now, and my memories are already nourishing me and giving me reasons to reflect. If you were to ask me if the trip were for business or pleasure, I’d have to say, “Yes! Both!” The first week I was there I had the extraordinary privilege of attending a NOVA Women’s Leadership retreat, followed by four days with Nick sightseeing and driving through some of the most breathtaking vistas on Earth.
This retreat came at the perfect time. I, like so many others, have been in a state of wondering, “What’s next?” As the world has opened up again, so have our options. And now, rather than quick pivots and reactions to studios closing or pandemics forcing us online, we get to think about and plan whatever is to come.
But when there’s all the options, it can be harder to narrow things down!
Lately, this has been causing me some anxiety and has made me pause and ask myself, “What am I doing, and what do I want to be doing?” This retreat gave me a chance to step back and take stock. And I came away with a great theme that I intend to live by:
Get out of your head and into your heart.
Whenever we did a visualization exercise or guided question and answer sessions, a pattern kept emerging. I would, as the leaders kindly reflected to me, “get all up in my head” when I was trying to answer them. I would get frustrated, lose focus, and want to shut it all down. But when I was reminded to stay in my heart, I could be calm. Time slowed down, and I had thoughtful answers instead of frenetic questions. It was so simple, but so profound.
What does it mean to get into your heart? It’s literally putting your attention at a low point in your chest and breathing deeply to become present. For some, this won’t be the best placement for attention, especially if there’s grief or brokenness there. Perhaps attention to feet on the floor would prove more effective. Focusing on the low belly is calming for many people, as is the back body. The point is to feel embodied, present, and tuned into the place within you that wisdom resides. It takes practice, but I believe we all have these inner sanctuaries to turn to at any time.
I invite you to join me in getting out of your head and into your heart, feet, belly, or back body. Spend just 5 minutes every day focusing on your inner place of peace and quiet. When making a decision or answering a difficult question, pause, go there, then respond. You will be changed. The question of “what’s next” will turn from stress to excitement, and you can be sure that what flows from there is real and wise.
Every time you step on your mat you are giving yourself an opportunity to discover your inner sanctum and practice living from there. We will keep doing this in online classes, and we will do this in-person (starting October 24!), and we will really do this on retreat (December 2!) I hope you take 5 and do this for yourself right now.
May you live from your heart, and let your mind relax into the peace that resides within.
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