As I shake out the blanket and prepare to lay it out, there’s a scurry of activity as the insect population races to get clear. I’ve slipped my shoes off and I can feel the dry crispness of the long grass scratching my ankles.
There’s a hum of bees and flying bugs and the gentle breeze sets a background soundtrack of gentle rustling.
It’s warm but not stiflingly so, thanks to the light breeze. Occasional clouds drift across the bright blue sky and it seems certain to stay sunny, warm and glorious.
There’s a bubbling fizziness in my tummy as I think about the moments ahead. The anticipation of the delicious afternoon I’ve manifested.
That’s the plan.
It doesn’t sound exciting but to me it is.
I’m so used to the relentless busy-ness of life (like most of us) that it feels like a radical act to let go. I admit to myself that I’m not very good at it. I need more practice.
I lie back, my book beside me and a flask of tea resting against my bag of supplies and wait.
Surely any second now the racing of my mind and the urge to “do” will fade away and I’ll be left calm and relaxed?
The irritation of “doing” relaxation
With the scene so perfectly set for rest and relaxation, how could it go wrong?
Ah, there’s the rub!
Just because we decide it’s time to rest, our body and mind doesn’t necessarily come along for the ride. The more we “try” to relax, the more we scupper our attempts.
In the same way that lying in bed “trying” to fall asleep leaves you wide-eyed and sleep-less, relaxation isn’t something we can do.
It’s the complete absence of doing.
Relaxing the muscles, for example, simply means no activation of signals from the neurons to the muscle fibres. So by definition when we try to make it happen, we create action.
Action is the opposite of Relaxation
Creating the right conditions
This month in the Be.Membership, as the days are hopefully long and lazy, we’ll be cultivating the skill of relaxation!
There are three ways we’ll do this:
1. Using the mind to relax: the power of suggestion We’ll be using powerful hypnotherapy practices to shift our state. When we learn how to respond to suggest and believe that it will have an effect, amazing shifts can happen. 2. Using our breath to relax: reclaiming your nervous system The breath is the only part of our primitive survival brain that we can consciously control. This makes it a perfect tool for shifting our state. When I change how I breathe, I send a powerful signal to my nervous system that it’s safe to relax. 3. Using Tension and release: cultivating our own natural responses We can encourage the letting go of all muscle activity by practicing doing the opposite and then releasing. When we tense and hold our body, we are learning to attune to the sensations of effort. When we then let go, a natural rebound occurs and our muscles switch off. All we need to do is follow the sensation and let go…simple, but our habit of holding unnecessary tension is strong! So it takes practice.
Each week for Be.Members, I hand-pick practices from the library of hundreds on offer that relate to this theme. Combined with inspiration, journal prompts and powerful affirmations, this is your journey to grow. Taking small steps each day and week to live a life that’s rich, full and meaningful. We’d love you to join us! And it’s just £10 per month (and accessible from a handy app) for all this goodness because I’m passionate about making these life changing practices accessible to all. Here’s a little taster practice for you:
Meditation: Relaxing the body and Calming the mind (22 mins)
See you soon!