Greetings, dear friend! Today, see if you can walk the middle way.
In the midst of our busy lives, we have a tendency to overwork, play too little, and, as a result, get very serious about things!
I’m sure you know the feeling.
It’s been one of those weeks that feels like it might never end, each day adding to the mounting pressure.
Tempers become short. Frustration grows.
With the tension running high, it’s easy to forget to take time for ourselves. We tighten up and push through the struggle.
The evenings are little respite before the next early morning.
Then we get to the weekend, and we check out.
Maybe we party all weekend, burning the midnight oil. Maybe we just lay in bed, unavailable to family, unable to connect with friends – a zombie to the world.
Or maybe the weekends are just more work, different setting. Just as we were serious about our work week, we’re serious about the weekend too.
But this type of “time off” doesn’t seem to completely swing the pendulum back in the other direction.
If we party, we’re exhausted when Monday comes around.
And if you slept all weekend, how can it be that you’re still tired?
THERE MUST BE ANOTHER WAY!!
Luckily, there is. The middle way. This is the way of less struggle. It is a way of compassion.
Walking the middle way, we see when we overextend ourselves, then we come back. We take a longer view of the week, month and year, knowing that we can never bring balance to our lives if we, as individuals, are not balanced.
The key to walking the middle way is knowing where your middle point is.
It’s like when you’re walking down the middle of a well-worn forest path, and you spot a smaller path that ventures up the hill into some thicker underbrush.
Being adventurous, you take the smaller path – fun! As you walk, the path becomes less and less visible as the thicket becomes more thorny and overgrown. You push on for a bit until the thorns bring pain.
Knowing that the worn pathway offers safe footing, you come back.
If we know how to get back to center, we can regain our composure, retouch the stillness and collect our peace.Then we can venture at the next opportunity, without being spread too thin.
When we make a practice of sitting still for a period of time each day — say 15 minutes, just breathing — we become better able to notice when we have gone too far from our center, too far from the middle way.
This practice, meditation, teaches us about the middle way through direct experience.
As we sit and breathe, thoughts come up, yet we are not swayed. We watch them pass, and then come back to the breath. Again and again.
Each time we come back to the breath, back to the present moment, we are gently refreshed.
Just like when you consciously choose to take a much needed break in the middle of your busy day. Or turn off the business cell at the end of the workday to make a clean break from the grind.
Or spend the weekend doing something deeply nourishing and joyful!
From the middle, we can see clearly. Where can you embrace the middle way today, for less drama, for less stress – for more peace?
Stress Release Tip
Practice deep breathing. This is a profound concept. Normally, we breathe shallow, constricted breaths into the upper chest. This thoracic breathing brings with it more tension and more rigidity. Now, when we breathe deeply into the lower part of the lungs, engaging the diaphragm, we not only draw more life-giving breath into the body, we automatically relax the tension in the shoulders, neck, back, arms – everywhere! Try a few deep breaths right now. You’ll know you’re doing it right if your abdomen expands with each in-breath.
See how gentle you can be with yourself this week. If you normally work 70 hours a week, see if you can leave a bit of space at the beginning or end of your day for You. If it’s deadline week, and you can’t spare a second, notice this too. Make a conscious decision to do what the moment requires, invest yourself fully, and plan for downtime in the days upcoming. When we consciously engage our experience instead of being whisked headlong into the next responsibility, we are the captains of our ship. Power and grace.
Quote From Adam
“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.”
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