Sunday, September 1, 2019

Change happens

IT'S ALREADY SEPTEMBER - how did that happen?

The month of August was a whirlwind - lot's of change happening. We went to New York to celebrate my son's graduation from high school (late, I know) and then my birthday was squeezed in between the trip and leaving 7 days later to help him move into his dorm in New Orleans. Go Wolf Pack!

I'm just now finishing unpacking from that trip and washing the stinky clothes he left behind!

So now I'm an empty nester.

The photo is our dog, Max, looking very gray now as he is almost 11 years old. I got him a new toy because he seems a little down since I came back without his best buddy. Change is hard on pets, too.

Meanwhile, I handed in my notice at my current job and am going to be working with other Functional Medicine providers nearer to my house in Alpharetta. I'm excited about helping women and men with their hormones and their overall health.

So big change is happening and all change, good or bad, is stressful. I've got tons of supplements to help with stress but the first step to handling change well is to build up and support your adrenal gland.

The main way to do this is SELF CARE. Women are the worst at this because we spend so much of our existence taking care of others. I've outlined some of the steps to good adrenal health in a previous post. So today I am focusing on facing and embracing change.

When faced with change we all get a little nervous because of the uncertainty. When there are areas of our lives that we are comfortable with and those begin to shift we get uncomfortable. Resistance to change is a natural reaction but to paraphrase a famous saying - nothing in life is certain except that change happens.

Last week one of my yoga instructors provided the metaphor of pulling weeds. Sometimes you look outside and wonder - where did all of those weeds come from? The same thing can happen in our lives - all of a sudden we are aware of things becoming uncomfortable and realize that we've allowed things to slide and we need to change - we need to do some internal weed pulling (or some actual weed pulling).

Maybe we need to forgive ourselves or others. Maybe we need to be more thankful. Maybe we need to be more compassionate or kind to others. Maybe we need to let go of grudges or judging others. Maybe we need to let go of beliefs that no longer serve us.

To grow requires change and sometimes change happens and we realize we need to grow. So in order to embrace change I offer two practices to help you through it.

The first is contemplation or mindfulness practice. This involves taking a scripture or affirmation and repeating it with each breath. I take a comfortable seat and close my eyes and focus on my breath, noticing the air moving in and out of my airways and the expansion of my belly on the inhale and contraction of my diaphragm on the exhale.

After a few breaths of focusing I say the scripture or affirmation while breathing in and repeat on the exhale. An example would be 'I am thankful for all of my blessings'. As I inhale I say to myself silently 'I am thankful for all of my blessings' and I repeat that on the exhale. I have rosary beads and bodhi beads that I will sometimes use to help with counting the breaths.

A common yogi mantra is 'Om Mani Padme Hum' repeated with each breath or counted on mala beads. This mantra expresses our desire to be as One with our Source of Being by receiving wisdom and enlightenment. It is said that reciting it regularly will help you pull the weeds of pride, jealousy, ignorance, greed and aggression.

The second practice is a breath practice from Ashley Neese called Letting Go.

She describes doing it standing but if you have blood pressure issues or are pregnant you can do it sitting down. If standing, stand with your feet hip distance apart and let your arms rest down by your sides. Don't lock your knees.

Set an intention to let go of whatever is not serving you.

Take a few breaths in and out through your nose and repeat the intention.

Inhale deeply while raising your arms up over your head.
Hinge at the hips as you lower your arms toward the ground and bend into a forward fold as you exhale with a great big sigh through your mouth.

Repeat this ten times, inhaling and sighing as deeply as possible.

Rest and take a few breaths and notice how you feel. Close your practice and journal if you wish.