Written by: Reva Joly, LMT
My grandfather Ernie was an amazing man with an equally amazing green thumb. The care he took in making a childhood sanctuary for me and my sisters will always be a blessing in our lives. The lush green grass was so cool under our feet while we ran through the sprinkler, after a long day at the beach. The shady trees offered dappled sunlight to mischievously sparkle and dance with us. The sunlight and droplets would combine to dazzle our innocent eyes with miniature rainbows. The days seemed so long then.
Summertime stretched for hours allowing play to unfold imaginative dramas. A Pirate for a sister leaping from a tree swing ready to take over the huge pine tree teepee of a squaw sibling. That same pine tree was the best place to start hide and go seek as it seemed we could easily stand underneath barefoot on soft needles and quietly slip away. Counting to ten with eyes shut, while leaning on the tree - the smell Christmas dreams would be ever present. Most often the sticky sap found on our hands or arms was a gesture of goodwill for interrupting the solitude. 'Ready or not, here I come' could be heard a house away as shielded giggles would scamper about looking for the best place to hide.
The adventures of our youth never quite prepare us with the reality of adulthood. All those moments, experiences and creativity that shape us into the extraordinary being that every single person becomes somehow fades slightly with the day to day responsibility of being adult. That idea now of 'work hard - play hard' seems off kilter. Being a sole proprietor of a Massage Therapy business on Cape Cod, I know the realities of hard work. The sustainability of our seasonal environment often lends itself to squirreling away for the lean winter months. The gains of summer can be economic survival but, how can we find balance? How can we reclaim 'play' in the 'work hard - play hard' mentality without burning the candle at both ends? The balance can be created by mindfulness.
Mindfulness/MIND SENSING NOW does not have to be complicated or difficult. It can be very simple. This is what play is; being present with all senses in the moment, without trying to control or manage. Just being. We find examples in nature. Observe a pet as they wake from sleep. They pause and relish in the moment with an exaggerated stretch as they eagerly wag. Truly an example of honoring their being by being. How can we take this simple lesson throughout our daily lives?
1. Start Your Day with a Pause
Start your day with 20 minutes of sanctuary time. No social media, no news or other people's agendas. Focus this time designed around your needs and aspirations for the day. Pick 3 things that need to be accomplished for your body, mind and spirit. Try listening to a favorite song or inspirational TED Talk or Podcast. Try to stay present.
Stretching helps keep muscles flexible, strong and healthy. It maintains range of motion and aids joints. Be more like your pet and celebrate in the act of stretching. To be int he Mind Sensing Now state try 3 different stretches a day, while breathing slowly through the nose, exhaling through the mouth. Allow full focus on gently being present in the muscle, while holding space for your body. When thoughts creep in, go back to the stretch and the breath. Change things up depending on your needs. What is calling for help. Tune in to your body.
3. Relish in the Simple Joys
Create moments of play by using all of your senses and delight in them. If you are in line for ice cream, listen to the anticipation in the young and old, smell the sweetness in the air, see the joy and more.
Hang your sheets in the fresh air instead of the dryer. Make your bed and enjoy the Hygge moment. If you are unfamiliar with Hygge, check out 'The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort and Connection, by Louisa Thomsen Brits
Eat a fresh tomato out of the garden.
When you are pulled out of the Mind Sensing Now, follow Mel Robbins advice from her TedTalk 5 and count down '5, 4, 3, 2, 1'. My advice is to include 'ready or not, world, here I come'.
'Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible' - Dalai Lama
'The purpose of our lives is to be happy.' - Dalai Lama
Reva Joly is a Nationally Certified and Licensed Massage Therapist. She has been in private practice in Hyannis since 2003. In addition, she works as a memory care activity assistant at Benchmark Harborpoint in honor of her grandfather who passed in 2007. She advocates strongly for the Alzheimer's Association, research and local organizations. Inspired to do more for her community, Reva has recently collaborated to create True You Wellness. Their mission is to bring together holistic, wellness professionals on Cape Cod to educate and create awareness of current health practices in the community.