By the time stress has reached levels we can feel, it can feel as if our bodies and minds are operating faster and out of our control. It almost feels as if we are heading down a one way street the wrong way .. everything we see in front of us is signaling stress responses.
If we turn around and go in the opposite direction, we resume being on the right path and continue as in the flow of traffic.
Our bodies have a natural rhythm and when we feel calm and tranquil, it is like bobbing gently on a wave in tune with the rhythms of nature. Our heart is programmed to beat at a certain rate, we breathe at a certain pace (depending on our situations), our hair grows at a predetermined rate, a baby grows for a set time before being born, our ability to function is set by the light of the day and we shut down for rest at night. It all has a rhythm .. a mathematical, perfect pattern. When we are feeling stressed many of our bodily functions race at warp speed and we are caught up in the jetstream. Our decisions, our happiness, our outcomes, our health, our future are all compromised.
If someone sees their car start to roll away when a handbrake is not applied, the first instinct is to run after it to stop it and avoid damage. When we feel our lives start to race out of control, we often do nothing.
What would happen if we stopped sometimes and simply observed the rhythm of life. Totally focus on the pace of the natural world .. we are, after all, a part of it too.
During the day, if you are in the city, look past the chaos, noise and confusion and find the simple pace of nature.
Sit and watch the river .. it has come from somewhere .. down mountains and through different geography and has a place to go as much as we believe we have to do every day. The difference is that the river can’t be made to rush. It will complete what it has to do in its natural rhythm. Concentrate on the pace of the flow, the whirlpools, eddies and wash.
If there are trees, don’t always rush past .. notice whether the leaves are moving in the breeze, whether time has changed it’s formation – whether the bark is in the process of renewal according to the tree’s rhythm, whether the leaves have changed colour in perfect synchronization with Autumn and watch for them to fall in Winter so that with the rhythm of the seasons, more sun will then get through to warm you. Have flowers, seed pods or fruit appeared since you last looked? Have there been any new shoots at the base? In the perfect rhythm of life, how quickly will they grow?
Are there any birds, butterflies or insects in the vicinity .. look out for them .. and noticing them will distract your mind from any tension you are feeling and bring your own body back to a calmer rhythm.
People are as much a part of nature as the botany and animal world .. rather than seeing all the people walking past who are pre-occupied and tense, look for the few who are smiling and joyous and allow yourself to be a part of that moment. Allow yourself to believe that you are sharing their same joy. Look for the people who you may be able to
cheer up by simply smiling at them. Look for the children who see life as a fun experience.
At night-time, sit outside when the darkness helps focus your attention. Look up at the sky – particularly if there are slow-moving clouds. Allow yourself to feel as if you are breathing at the pace of the clouds. Just allow yourself to drift into nothingness with the pace of your breath and the inspiration of the vastness of the sky.
When you feel in tune with the rhythm of life and relaxed with the pace of the clouds, allow your mind to wander to the awe of the stars, the moon, and imagine all that is beyond in the form of nebulae, galaxies .. reflect on the order of the universe .. in the millennia that our earth has been here and with the combined stress of the all of human existence, it hasn’t found the need to speed up. It rotates at the same speed and remains in tune with the universal rhythm of life.
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