Transmute Worry into Wonder, Anxiety to Awe

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” 
~Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
“Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The upcoming solar eclipse promises a wild ride of powerful energy, and as always, it is a good idea to have a repertoire of stabilizing exercises and practices to call upon: Poems and Stories to settle the mind and heart, or a Meditation or a Breathwork pattern to help remain peacefully present in the moment. There are so many reminders, strategies, 'mind hacks' and tools in our emotional toolboxes...

We can imagine our 'tools for conscious living' like a paintbox full of colors. Different tools and techniques are appropriate for certain occasions, and not for others. It is all about having a rich palette of colors to choose from when adapting to the present moment, one day at a time. And if from gradual experimentation, adjustment, alignment and re-alignment, we naturally form habits that support our overall wellbeing, that can really bring ease, joy, or meaning to our lives, then so much the better.

The beauty of painting with our entire box of colors is that we are not rejecting any feelings as 'negative' or 'bad.' We are working with no more or less than exactly what we have and are in the present moment, and what arises in the present. The Oxford English Dictionary defines Awe as 'a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.' We can marvel, wonder, and experience reverence towards the complexity and tenderness of our own vulnerability, of the complicated nature of life and living, of our interconnectedness...And choose to walk on the reverent side of life. To recognize the sacred and the holy in every moment...Look for the beauty, look for the poetry, look for the helpers, and hold on to the little things that make a difference.

Like a writer's notecards, grandmothers' recipe cards or grimoires of herbal remedies, everyone should have a place to record the poems and sayings and practices that are helpful to them specifically. If something touches you, makes you laugh, cry, want to dance, or in any way inspires a strong feeling -- hold on to it! Make a note! Put it on a list where you can find it later. Be sure to set aside a notebook, a file, a journal, even a bowl with scraps of paper. Whatever works! Flexible, resourceful and creative...

Be mindful, and hold on to the things that help! Here are just a few ideas:

Grounding Visualization | Sit for a few minutes focusing on your breath, then take the focus to your sit bones (bottom) and into your hips and pelvis and feel the pull towards the earth, then take your awareness to your tailbone and imagine tree roots growing out of your tailbone down into the earth, imagine big thick roots going down as deep as possible and really anchoring and rooting you down.

Box breathing, also known as four-square breathing, involves exhaling to a count of four, holding your lungs empty for a four-count, inhaling at the same pace, and holding air in your lungs for a count of four before exhaling and beginning the pattern anew.

Mantras, sutras, prayers, chants and songs...Well-worn words passed down because they connect the soul to the source of life and restore energy, groundedness, and hope...It is the spirit of our ancestors who knew that love and life could be nurtured by the spoken (or sung!) word, and the mind soothed, inspired, and comforted.

Poetry, more poetry! “A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Life is deep and high and distant; and though only your vast vision can reach even her feet, yet she is near; and though only the breath of your breath reaches her heart, the shadow of your shadow crosses her face, and the echo of your faintest cry becomes a spring and an autumn in her breast.

And life is veiled and hidden, even as your greater self is hidden and veiled. Yet when Life speaks, all the winds become words; and when she speaks again, the smiles upon your lips and the tears in your eyes turn also into words. When she sings, the deaf hear and are held; and when she comes walking, the sightless behold her and are amazed and follow her in wonder and astonishment.” 

~Kahlil Gibran, The Garden of The Prophet

There is a Finnish saying that translates to 'No one is born a smith.' (Ei kukaan ole seppä syntyessään). This saying means that we can only improve through learning and experience. Life is a process that contains a multitude of mistakes, adjustments, learnings, transformations, and on and on...No one is born knowing how to live well, but we are all born with the innate capacity to learn and grow. By seeking out and gathering meaningful poems and helpful tokens and ways, we can support ourselves in this life's work of learning and growing, and remain open to the complete range of feeling and experience that arises.

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”
~Humbert Wolfe
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