1. Find the spot in your body or mind that's experiencing the most intense discomfort.
2. Instead of avoiding or covering up the feeling, pour your attention into it.
3. Think the word relax. Notice what happens.
4. When you've had about a minute to relax, think the word rest. Offer it as an invitation for your tired feet, your cramped back, your broken heart. Actually say to yourself, "I'm resting for my heart now."
5. Mentally scan through your body and mind, inviting each troubled thing to rest.
I had to do this a few times before it kicked in. Then I felt a visceral ka-chunk, as if a misaligned part of my body had slipped back into place. The more I practiced, the more quickly and deliciously the feeling recurred. The simple intention to rest, consistently applied, turns the valley of the shadow into sweet surrender. Honestly, it's that simple.
When I'm talking to clients whose lives have hit a low point, it's always quite clear that life is telling them to rest. When I walked Rachel through Dan's exercises, she practically fell asleep in my lap. As she's continued to rest, luxuriously doing nothing when nothing works, her body and heart have healed.
Of course, when I'm the one typing on a rapidly draining computer battery in a place where a questionable infrastructure has temporarily failed, things seem much more dire. I'm quite reluctant to stop struggling, appreciate my way out of fear, and listen to my life saying—sorry, what was that? Oh, yes. Rest. But when that's your only option, as it seems to be mine, I invite you to join me. Until things improve and something starts to work, let's lie down in the cool, shady valley...and rest like we mean it.
3 creative ways to (finally!) relax