“Explore” is my word for 2019. I did plenty of exploring in 2018, traveling to parts of the U.S. like Joshua Tree National Park; Grand Junction, Colorado; and the Outer Banks in North Carolina. My rationale for choosing “explore” is that even if there are new places I have discovered, there’s always more left to see. True growth happens when we get to the edge of our comfort zone. Travel always sounds like a good idea to me, but the truth is, it can be deeply uncomfortable. Maybe I am just a grandma in a thirty-year-old’s body, but air lines, new routines, and new faces always give me a sense of wanting to run away, (but I’m already headed to a new place, so I am sort of stuck).
Do you know this about yourself too? Not that you are a grandma (or grandpa), but what are the parts of you that make you feel stuck? Is that holding you back from exploring something that you don’t know? I realized on many of my trips that I actually like not drinking coffee some mornings. That’s a pretty silly example, but imagine that! I could’ve gone my whole life not knowing I liked NOT being amped up on caffeine. Maybe there’s something about you that’s waiting to unfold too. Try the practice below to kickstart the process.
(1) MOVE (about 3 minutes)
Grab a yoga mat or find a carpeted surface that will be soft on your knees. Then, come to your hands and knees in a table-top position with your wrists stacked under your shoulders and your hips stacked over your knees. Begin crawling forward by moving your right hand forward a few inches and moving your left knee forward a few inches. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Keep your crawling movements slow and controlled moving on either the inhale or exhale of the breath. When you reach the end of the mat or carpet, either turn around or try reversing the direction of your crawl. Continue this movement for 2-3 minutes. This may seem like a silly exercise (and I hope you do laugh at yourself a little), but crawling is really beneficial for connecting the left and right brain.
(2) MEDITATE (about 5 minutes)
Find a comfortable seat. Inhale through your nose and exhale out through your mouth. Repeat 3 times. Take in the landscape picture below. Imagine you are about to climb this mountain. What sensations do you notice in your body? What does the earth feel like beneath your feet? What does the air feel like on your fingertips? Continue to scan your body and around you.
When you’re ready to continue click here. Then close your eyes to visualizing climbing the mountain for the next four minutes. If thoughts come up, just label them "thinking" and return back to your exploration.
(3) MEDIATE (about 7 minutes)
Grab a writing instrument and paper and free write for about 5 minutes in response to the following questions: What parts of you have you recently discovered? What’s there to explore?