Get Back to BASICS
by Rosalie Menduni • Syosset, NY
We all get into a place at one time or another when we feel like we just can’t seem to get out of our own way. It may be a few minutes, hours, days or weeks. Sometimes it is the result of an external stress or situation or an internal struggle we are working through. When I go into this place, I have found that the best thing I can do for myself is to get back to the BASICS. It’s simple, it’s direct and it is a powerful self-help tool that anyone can use immediately. One can incorporate his or her individual style and modify the plan as necessary. Here is a simple guideline.
BREATHE: Breathe in deeply through your nose as you take in as much air as you can, filling your lungs. Feel your abdomen expand as if it was a balloon filling with air. Hold this position for at least five seconds. Exhale slowly and completely through your mouth. Let it all go. Feel your belly contract as if the balloon were deflating. You may choose to make a sound--for example, a deep sigh--as you exhale. Wait five seconds and begin the process again. Doing this for even five minutes creates such clarity in thinking and a much calmer and centered state of being.
ACTIVITY: We all know the benefits of exercise. So much evidence supports the connection between the health of the mind and physical activity. Choose an activity that you enjoy and one that feels good for your body and spirit. If you hate the gym atmosphere, a brisk nature walk might serve your needs better. Do you love water? Go get in those laps. Do you love music? Go dancing!
If, for whatever reason, you cannot do physical activity then do any activity that you enjoy. Painting, drawing, OR singing are all good choices. Accepting where you are in life is another important aspect of the “A” in BASIC. Accept where you are in gratitude for what you can do and go forward.
SELF-LOVE: Whatever you do, do it with love and reverence for yourself. How do you show yourself how loved you are? How do you take care of yourself? Perhaps for you, self-love means setting a healthy boundary and speaking up for yourself. Perhaps you need to give yourself a break in the middle of the day to rest. You may want to give yourself a gift of a warm bubble bath. Whatever you do, and whatever choices you make for yourself in each moment, always keep one question in mind: Am I doing this in a loving and gentle manner for my highest good?
INNER DIALOGUE: Take notice of the voices inside your head. What do you believe to be true about yourself, your world and your experiences? How do you talk to yourself? What “old tapes” are playing in your head?
This kind of attentiveness to what’s going on inside connects me with my inner child and enables me to really listen to what she has to say. What a wealth of knowledge, healing and growth can come from simply paying attention to what she needs!
COMMITMENT: Make a commitment to yourself with gentle love and compassion. Perhaps it is simply five minutes a day of self-care. Whatever you can realistically give to yourself is fine; make a commitment and stick to it.
I have often found simple and short goals to be the best. Try the “5/5” or “10/10” commitment to begin – that’s five minutes for five days or ten minutes for ten days. I have found that a commitment to breathing and/or journaling for myself in this way gives me a sense of success and accomplishment that helps me persevere and move forward.
SENSATIONS: Slowly take it all in. Passionately feel all that nourishes and nurtures your being. What kind of touch is most nourishing for you and feels the best? What fabric feels good against your skin? Is there a lotion or oil you want to feel on your skin? Someone’s touch?
What sounds nurture you the most? Beautiful music? Drums? The voice of someone that you have come to count on for support? What fills you the most? What do you love to see? Surround yourself with visual beauty. It might be as simple as seeking out a friend’s face. Or taking a trip to the ocean or the mountains. Maybe you can view a favorite movie.
What tastes would nourish and nurture your body most right now? Sometimes it’s a vegetable salad or it might be that piece of chocolate. What does your body need as far as movement (vestibular input)? Do you want to be still, or to move? If you want to move, in what direction? Would rocking in a hammock feel good or sitting with your back against a tree?
It’s all about getting back to the “BASICS”. That means grounding yourself and filling yourself with all you need in order to move into a greater awareness, mindfulness, love and compassion for yourself and for all humanity. It’s simple and it works!
Rosalie Menduni is the owner of East Norwich Therapeutic Services, a holistic pediatric occupational therapy center and Sacred Wellness, where she mentors adults in transformation and leads parenting groups. She incorporates Reiki, spiritual communication with the other side, inner child work and more. For information call (516) 677-1994.