The cat comes in through the window.
She comes to me and says
Pushes my hands off the keyboard
Tries again, my hands
And again, with her head
I wake up and scratch, grateful
To have finally come up for air.
When we drive ourselves too hard, we flood our bodies with cortisol, the stress hormone that wrecks havoc on our cells, causing disease and making our bodies age. If you are like me, maybe you have reached a point, or suspected that you will soon, when you will have to either stop the stress and striving as your way of life or you’ll find yourself pulling off onto the shoulder with a serious flat tire.
In my case, two girlfriends, a doc and an acupuncturist, had to get a bit in my face to make me stop the damage I was doing by over working. So now I am aware that cortisol is not good fuel, even if it used to help me accomplish more than should be humanly possible. Let me share some of what I’ve learned.
First, a good image to keep in mind as a reminder. I am a handspinner. Well, at least during the pre-mama days I spun wool under the trees in my yard as a meditative way to make yarn for the coming winter’s sweaters. When you work with fiber you know that the strand that is wound too tightly wraps back on itself. I call up that image to remind me to breathe, become still long enough to remember that I know what really matters.
Dr. Sara Gottfried reminds women to hit their “pause” button when they are about to do stress. That’s a another good image. Pause Button. The Institute of Heart Math gives us a great tool to help return to what is called “heart coherence” that you can do while pause is engaged. Put your hand on your heart, breathe in love, and send it thoughout your body, exhale. Repeat this several times. It works.
There are many other 30 second ways to return your fast moving self back into your body. Mindfulness practice simply reminds us to listen to the silence in the moment. I know, I know, you’ve heard that before but have you tried it? Matt Kahn is a teacher whose observations I value. He poses the question, “Who am I when I am saying nothing?” Think on that when you are driving or folding laundry. See if it makes you smile and reconnect to you.
Feeling love gives us a wash of oxytocin which goes far to repair the physical toll caused by our misplaced emphasis on doing, striving and achieving. Our children’s childhoods are happening now. So find the balance between the doing of all you think you have to do now … and being with them. Let the silly things that happen or go wrong make you laugh. You might even be so radical as to decide that for today, in the shceme of a long life arriving a little late will not be a terrible thing.
Life will work on us to keep us aware if we will just pay attention when the cat comes to remind us.
And by the way, Dr. Gottfried also reports that getting sunshine on your skin gives you the Vitamin D that reduces cortisol levels. Get your sunshine with your shoes off too for the electrons that Gaia gives us freely through the bottoms of the feet. That helps calm inflammation. Both of these methods are further evidence that nature is perfect and that we are blessed to live in a world where there is more love than things to fear.
I toast to you as you craft a lovely day for yourself,
P.S. That’s my beloved co-madre Sophie watching over my sleeping babe.
Let me make it easy for you to sit down with your children to read them a story. When you join my Our Cozy Time Story Club, I will send you an original children’s story each month via email. learn more