Do people take advantage of you? Are you that ever smiling, ever obliging person who can always be depended on? Or do you have your own secret calming ways?
Do you feel put-upon? Are other people pulling your strings? Are you always saying “yes” when you should say, “No”? And does your heart sink when the phone rings yet again?
Do you never find time for yourself? Or are you the one who agrees, smiling, to shoulder the burden, to do the work and to invest your, yes, your precious time dealing with someone else’s troubles?
Sometimes our minds are overwhelmed with other people’s problems, other people’s demands and other people’s difficulties. Sometimes our own problems and difficulties seem unmanageable.
But even saints need a time to calm their minds, to push aside the enveloping multitude of thoughts, to focus on what really matters. Your own inner self is crying out for a little space, a little time for calm reflection.
But how do you get rid of the clamouring voices inside your head?
Start by giving yourself permission to find a little space just for you. These three calming ways will give you strength, refocus your mind and might even enable you to say the magic word “No”.
1. The mantra: Your Voice is Powerful: Give it Something to Say
Your inner voice is so powerful. You hear it almost all the time. But if it can’t talk nicely to you, then it needs to shut up!
You can use your inner voice to change how you feel. When it nags at you do you not feel fed up with it? Give it something nice to say and you have a friend for life.
How to Use Humour
One of the best ways to help us relax is the use of humour. If you have a funny saying you can bring to mind at any time, then when you feel a bit down, hearing this little voice in your ear will make you smile. You can make the voice stronger by altering the pitch and tone you hear. This is under your control. Try out a low rumbling voice, a high tinny voice and see which makes you smile.
If you add vision to the voice, you can make it even stronger. See the words written in your mind — make them larger and brighter. Make them glitter and sparkle. Test out different sounds and visions to see what works best for you. Even the process of finding the right presentation will engage your thoughts.
What words make you smile? A sloppy sentence like “My little blue rabbit is doing handstands in the garden” can take away the pressure and relax you.
You can find your own calming ways to use your inner voice – it’s powerful!
Did your mother tell you to count to 10 before you do something you will later regret? It works well. The pause before you act. If you have words spoken in your mind in a low calm voice with low calm sounds, your mind will engage in that and feel more tranquil. A sentence with lots of low sounds like “whoooose sounds are sooooo looow” is just one example (it might make you laugh instead and that’s even better!
There are so many inspirational thoughts out there, on the world wide web, you could have one for every day of the year and still have some left wandering around unclaimed. One I like is from the song, so I hear the tune as well, “Everything you can do — I can do better!”
If you have a handful of these thoughts ready to reel out when you feel a bit overwhelmed you will find that you can calm yourself, you can feel inspired and you can laugh again.
2. Your Vision is Curious: Give it Something to see
Mandala means “circle” in Sanskrit. In Tibet, you can find the most beautiful examples of mandalas closely associated with their Buddhist religion. There the mandala has a certain form and character. Indeed, it takes many years of training for the Buddhist monks to create a mandala.
But for our purposes, the mandala can mean a spiritual symbol representing the universe — or simply a circular pattern which can be as simple or complex as you wish. The joy is in the making and the further use as a meditation tool.
Make your own — easy ideas for calming ways
You can make your own mandala from a scrap of paper and crayon. You may decide to make something more complicated and perhaps use the paper doilies used to display cakes as a starting point.
You can find jigsaws of mandalas. There are not only replicas of beautiful and complex Tibetan designs with over 1000 pieces, but there are also animal ones, astrology ones — and even a “Hello Kitty” mandala designer.
Your long-term project
An ornate and intricate pattern can take months to complete. Months of a labour of love which can be your time to yourself. You can complete it in parts — the inner circle, the borders — several layers of borders. You can use stickers, you can use pieces of fabric — you can make it any way you like. You might want to make a full design, but you can equally well make a start and see where the pattern takes you. Doodles, sketches and colour to bring your work of art to life. it is yours, unique to you. You do not have to explain it to anyone, you do not have to answer to anyone. It is an expression of yourself, and if you want it to represent your own life, or the whole universe and beyond, that is OK. Go for it.
You can pin up your beautiful and unique “Universe” to inspire you or you can use a smaller one as a meditation tool.
For this, you sit a short distance away, where you can see your mandala clearly. Then focus on the centre, only the centre for a few seconds. Then, without moving your eyes, focus on the outside of the mandala for a few seconds and repeat a few times. It can be surprising what you can see when your attention is diverted while your gaze remains the same.
3. Your Thoughts Are Distracting: Blow Them Away.
This technique is deceptively simple yet the results can be amazing — if you are able to do it.
You may have been mesmerised by a coal or log fire, and not just as a child, although they do tend to see the most amazing things in the flames. This fascination with fire is a part of our essential makeup — without fire, where would we be? Most likely still be in the stone age.
This is how to use that imagination to cleanse your mind:
Candle Gazing: The technique
Take a candle — a simple plain candle and place it at or below eye level about 6 feet away from you. Sit yourself comfortably. Be sure you can be undisturbed, this is a time for you. Make sure you are warm enough, a rug over your knees can be quite comforting. If the room is darkened, then the candle gazing becomes much easier.
Then all you have to do is to fix your eyes on the candle and empty your mind. Any stray thoughts that enter your mind, you simply acknowledge them and put them in a bubble, and then gently blow them away.
An empty mind?
After a little practice, you will find you can clear your mind for a short while. You will never be able to empty it completely — and why would you want to? But you can clear out those intrusive thoughts that are taking up your energy.
New thoughts will appear — and as they are not set against a cluttered background, you will find you can give them undivided attention and you can either discard them immediately or write them down or dictate them for your attention later. Never try to file them away in your mind for later — that is how your thoughts become confused. That’s like trying to get just one more thing in your case when you already had to sit on it to close it. If it’s important – write it down or dictate it.
Quite soon you will be able to carry the candle around with you in your head and use it when you decide you need a quiet mind. Clearing your head before starting a new task can make that task easier and clearer, whether it’s mending a motorbike or writing a story. This is one of the most interesting of the calming ways to try out!
You may like these quick tips for stress relief.
A Clearer Future: Finding a Little Bit of Time for You.
These three suggestions will give your mind the space it needs to refocus on what is important to you. You will get an instant buzz when you hear that little voice in your head say that special mantra you have devised.
As you spend time crafting a beautiful mandala, your brain is having the chance to refocus and resettle itself. And when you pin the finished work up to admire, it will be a constant reminder of how wonderful you are.
When you succeed in blowing your thoughts away, you will be de-cluttering your mind. It’s as if you are wiping blackboard clean so you can see clearly your new thoughts, written bold, uncluttered by the befuddling scribbles you have blown away.
This is your life, your world, it is not theirs. Take back your life. Take on board these three ideas, guard your space and be ready to say “no”. Use these calming ways for a clearer mind and give yourself the respect and love you deserve.
First published on medium