The other day I was thinking about what insight I could share this week, and what I kept thinking of is to share my personal toolkit. You know, the tools you reach for when you are having a tough day...a difficult time of it... Perhaps the thing you go for when things aren't aligning and you are frustrated, sad, anxious, or fearful? The tool that is better than a gallon of ice cream that you might consume. 🤪 The practice that you lean on to help you get through that feeling of being "stuck?"
We know we all have a toolkit in our house. It's in the garage or laundry room and it usually holds a hammer, screwdriver, duct tape, nails, wrench, pliers and a level. We use all of these tools around our house to fix or repair what may be broken, needs our attention, our love, so it can be fixed and restored to its natural state. These tools are essential, and you keep them handy so you can pull them out at any time. Well, have you ever thought that the same applies to us as human beings?
I want to discuss the idea of having a personal tool kit for our internal self. I have often heard the phrase through various trainings I have completed, “This is another tool for your tool kit.” I always loved that analogy.
Over the years I have built up my tool kit to be a full arsenal. It’s full of tips, tricks, tactics and strategies to help me navigate difficult times, uncertain times and times that just feel difficult. If I didn’t have these tools, I would be filled with stress, fear and anxiety, anger, frustration, etc.
I am so thankful for my toolkit because I have “used” or drawn from all of them throughout my life. And, what’s remarkable…just like the toolkit for my house, these tools have done exactly what they are meant to do...fix and repair, reset, renew, rejuvenate…and most importantly shift my mindset.
The mind and our thoughts are very powerful. So, we need this full arsenal when we are looking to hit reset. Take a look at what's in my personal tool kit and use any of these tools for yourself. Build your own arsenal. ❤️
Spend time in nature – The idea is to get outside. You can take a walk, sit on your porch, sit by the water, breath in the air, listen to all the sounds around you, engage all your senses. Nature has a natural calming affect on your body. The other day, I was sitting outside in my hammock, and I heard the birds chirping, and it immediately made me stop and listen. It shifted my attention to the present moment and engaged my senses. There is a beautiful practice called Shinrin Yoku, or forest bathing, that you might want to check out. It is a way to fully engage with Mother Earth and all that she has provides us.
Exercise – Move your body. I like Yoga (which meditation in motion) or walking/hiking. Right now, I am enjoying time outside as the weather is just beginning to turn nice here in Sedona. I try to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. It is a goal, I may not hit it everyday but it sure is fun to compete with myself.
Practice of gratitude - Author Melody Beattie tells us that "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." You have the ability to cultivate gratitude for even the smallest or simplest of things in life. Science shows us that if you practice gratitude on a daily basis it not only changes the physical chemistry within you, but it allows you to feel more love, compassion and joy. Practice writing down three things a day that you are grateful for. Express your thoughts of gratitude on paper, out loud, at the dinner table or even when you are going to bed at night.
Positive Affirmations - These are power statements that you can draw from. For example, I am whole. I am peace. I love. I am smart. I am perfect just the way I am. Write these affirmations on sticky notes and place them around your house, put them on the refrigerator, your bathroom mirror, your car dashboard. Wherever you are going to see them to remind yourself you are amazing! There are even some great Apps you can download on your phone that will send you reminders during your day.
Sangha or community – These are your people. This can be your family, friends, church group, coworkers, like-minded people you surround yourself with. I like to say "your front row." You know who they are. The people you can call and talk to if you are feeling stressed or anxious or need an ear to listen.
Prayer and worship to the Divine – For me this is prayer with God. For you this could be God, Great Spirit, the Universe, or higher states of Consciousness...whatever you identify with. Sitting in silence and praying and surrendering to what is happening in your life at that time and inviting in guidance.
Journaling – Free write in your journal. Get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Let go of what may be swirling around. Write whatever you wish, no one is critiquing or reading it. Say whatever you wish. I was listening to author Elizabeth Gilbert recently, and she was sharing an exercise she does to help release fear. She spoke of how you can write yourself a "letter of love." She does this when she is letting go of fear. Knowing that fear may be present, but writing a letter to yourself as if you were a dear friend trying to soothe that friend and make them feel better about something. Then you write until your fear dissipates and love appears. Love is the opposite of FEAR.
Spending time with your pet – My dog’s name is Quimby. I love spending time with him. He reminds me to be playful and joyful. The best part about a pet is their unconditional love, don't you think? Quimby likes to sit with me, go for walks/hikes and just cuddle. He is a true love bug.
Listening to music – Create a great playlist and listen as often as you can. I feel like it immediately lifts your spirits. I listen to the words that are shared or the beautiful melody from a particular song. Just that alone can soothe you.
And, finally, last but not least....
Meditation practice. “Quiet the mind and the soul will speak”
Sitting in meditation in the morning and the evening helps to keep me grounded, and I love sharing the practice of meditation with others. Just because I have the practice of meditation does not mean I am this spiritual warrior, and I don’t feel all the same emotions you feel. It’s a tool that I use to bring myself back to the present moment to where everything is okay, and where I can focus on what's right in front of me. There is a list of endless benefits from practicing meditation.
I love knowing I have a full arsenal of tools ready and waiting for me when I need them. I would love to hear what's in your personal tool kit. Maybe it's something we can all benefit from. Drop me a comment and let me know your practices.