Thursday, March 07, 2013

Stress and self-care

Collage by Lani with textures from FlyPaper 

Is it me, or is there a certain amount of stress involved in travel?  Hanging out in airports waiting to know if your flight will be cancelled or hurtling through the atmosphere in a metal container with wings are not two of the easiest places to attempt to activate the parasympathetic nervous system or the vagus nerve.  These environments are not particularly comfortable or soothing.

But having a good book in your hands (not an eVersion that has to be put away each landing and take off) can be very helpful.  "NURTURING THE SOUL OF YOUR FAMILY: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life is" was the perfect choice for me!  Renee Peterson Trudeau has such a soothing, friendly style, it's like having a best friend with you, who is all about self-care and nurture.  She can point out the difficulties of the journey and reassure you that all shall be well.

Hipstamatic photo by Lani (while hurtling through the atmosphere)
One of my favorite lines (or maybe most useful) from "NURTURING THE SOUL OF YOUR FAMILY" was "...For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe."  No kidding!  Stop trying to keep the plane flying with your will power, don't try to control the flight delays in Newark Airport.   

It does become very obvious, this hopeless desire to have control over the universe, at times when control is so clearly outside of one's field of influence.  And how clear it is that this causes us such discomfort and stress.  How much easier it all is when we release that particular bit of silliness.

Another great line is "When you allow your inner landscape to be as big as your outer landscape, your life will begin to change in radical, positive ways."  What a lovely thought, and the possibility of it was very soothing as I looked at the spaciousness and light out of the plane window.  Suddenly it wasn't a metal container with wings that I had to somehow keep up in the air, it was just a part of the outer and inner landscape of this corner of the universe, and it was spacious!

A really nice aspect of this book is that it's about nurturing a group, a tribe, a family.  It is a relief to remember that we aren't usually in this adventure alone, it's not just our personal adventure.  We are usually connected in a variety of ways to others in our group, tribe, or family.  This book is a great reminder of that fact all through its ten chapters.  Another nurturing aspect of this book is each chapter has its own little exercises or suggestions for journaling or discussion at the beginning and end.  Very helpful to quiet the mind before heading into a new chapter, and also a great way to anchor what you learned from the chapter you just read.

Want an example?  Imagine you are in an uncomfortable place and you are trying to make the universe around you bend to your authority.  (Ha!)  And of course you aren't getting very far with this but you are doing great at getting quite frustrated.  Along comes Renee with a "Pause for Peace".  

If I asked you how you were feeling right now, would you know?  Most of us are moving so fast, we have no idea how or what we're feeling -- what our emotional barometer is reading.  Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and place one hand over the center of your chest and your other hand on your belly.  Pause, enjoy the stillness, then check in wht the utmost compassion and some curiosity: What have you been feeling lately?  Calculate this on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being "I'm about to have a nervous breakdown" and 10 being "I'm feeling blissed out."  Does your response surprise you?  Often the act of checking in can be cathartic in itself. 

 Christine Carter (my favorite Habit Code Breaker and elephant training mentor) says this about Renee Peterson Trudeau.  "Renee delivers her instructions for a more balanced life with a huge dose of inspiration and compassion.  This book is a joy to read and a delight to put into practice.”   I say it's a lovely book to have on a stress-filled adventure.  You can find more about this wonderful, wise and nurturing book for groups, tribes, and families here

"You can..." collage by Lani with textures from FlyPaper 


gretchen said...

Thank you for sharing these reflections! The inner and outer landscape concept would make a great art-making prompt.... hmmmm..... -gretchen

Lani Gerity said...

For sure, Gretchen!

Gena Lumbroso said...

Lani, your posts are always so inspiring. I also love the little halo here on your angel... she is right, there is much light here ;)

Kat said...

Lani, thanks so much for sharing your fresh and inspiring thought on Nurturing the Soul of Your Family with your readers. Families are really seeking fresh perspectives and tools right now. So many of us are ready to drop old habits and patterns that no longer work and explore new ways of being. It’s good to know we’re not alone and are all in this journey together! P.S. Every week we’re sharing excerpts, giveaways and articles from the book at if you’d like to check that out.