Every once in awhile, no matter who you are, you will go through some life circumstances that irritate you, nag at you, and over which you will, at least temporarily, obsess. That is human nature. When something is not going well, we, as humans, tend to obsess about that something, trying our hardest to figure things out. We will lose sleep at night because of this obsession. We will even begin to experience health problems because of the stress that the situation is putting us through. So how do we get a break from it all, even if it cannot be immediately fixed? I have a few suggestions, some of which I may have mentioned in previous blogs, and some of which may be new to you, the reader. Here they are, not in any order of importance at all:
1. Take out a piece of paper and a pen. Map out your life in the form of a circle that is divided into wedges like a pie. Each piece is to represent areas of your life that you are attending to. The pieces do not have to be even. What I always suggest is to make the most important areas of life larger pieces than the less important ones. This helps to place our problems into perspective. What do we need to attend to and put more time into? Well, let’s see which are the larger pieces of our lives. You will usually find that the “issues” are actually more sliver-like than the other stuff is. This immediately helps us to realize where the issues stand in terms of importance. And if it is something that requires immediate attention, then simply attend to it and then that wedge can be dedicated to something else once it is fully resolved.
2. Take out another piece of paper and create a step-by-step plan for how to resolve the issue at hand. Make a timeline of what actions need to be taken and when. Put those dates and times and actions into your calendar and make sure to not get off track with it. A large percentage of a person’s stress and anxiety comes from not taking action when it is needed, procrastinating, and allowing things to fester and grow. Make a plan. Stick to the plan.
3. When it comes to things that are not in our realm of influence (there are a lot of those) such as a toxic neighbor, a boss that totally sucks but is in a position of power over us, a self-destructive family member, and so on, we need some self-maintenance things that allow us to “lay it down” for whatever period of time is appropriate. So, for example, if you can’t do anything to change someone else but their behavior is keeping you up at night, there are some things you can do that will allow you to at least get a good night’s sleep. One is to find a large feather (craft stores carry turkey feathers that are a good size for this) and, before going to bed, sweep your energy off with the feather. You do not need to touch your body. Simply sweep past your body, starting at the top and working your way down to the feet. Then blow across the feather in the direction of a window (does not have to be open) to clear off the feather. Go to bed and get some sleep. Repeat if necessary, because sometimes we wake up in the middle of the night and our minds will not turn off. So brush off again and then go back to sleep.
Another method is to use an empty bottle with a cork system. This one is my personal favorite. Uncork the bottle, blow your worries and concerns into it, and then cork the bottle. You may need to do a number of blows into the bottle, so if you do, be sure to place your thumb over the opening in between each blow, and then cork it when you are done. Place the bottle somewhere safe, like on a shelf or a countertop or a dresser. Then allow yourself to just slip nicely into sleep. In the morning, take the bottle outside and “pour” that energy out onto the ground. Sometimes I will leave the bottle open outside for 5 minutes or so to air out with the wind. When I bring it in, I will use an incense stick to smudge the inside and outside of the bottle. Then it is ready to go for that day or that evening when it is bedtime once again.
These are simple rituals and techniques that allow us to organize our minds and our emotions so that we do not have to carry the burden of the problems day in and day out. The rituals work. Give them a chance and you will find that they are quite the form of practical magic!