The Whole Life Center nurtures wholeness in people – wherever they are in life – by offering opportunities for community, healing and inspiration.

Packing Light

Summer has arrived in the desert. So perhaps like you, we're getting ready to get out of Dodge. In fact, it's tradition at the Shadow Rock campus to close down for the month of July.

I'm looking forward to a wonderful escape from the heat, but am also reminded - like every other time I take off -  that "Wherever you go, there you are." Hm. Have you found that?

Even when I go somewhere to escape the stress of heat - or just daily life,  once there, I find that I've taken along the same patterns of thinking that stressed me out to begin with. Some concerns can certainly be legitimate, and there are some things we must do, but there's so much we can truly let go of.

I recently read that many of us think as many as 50,000 thoughts per day. No wonder we're exhausted! So many of those thoughts are the same ones we've thought over and over again. And so often we've even come to confuse ourselves with what it is that we think.  Who would we be without our thoughts?

Like many spiritual traditions, yoga and meditation invite us to quiet the mind in order to explore that very question, and to find ourselves again: to tune into the deeper, constant, true self that lives in the silence beneath our thoughts. Easier said than done, I know.  That's why it's called a practice.

I find that it helps to be aware of the pattern. It also helps to give ourselves a routine - to set a time and place to  sit comfortably for a few minutes each day.

And like a monkey with a marble, it helps to give ourselves a tool. My go-to marble is simply to count my breaths. Or sometimes I practice using the sound of a simple mantra like "so" on an inhale, and "hum" on the exhale. It means "I am that." But it doesn't really matter. The purpose is to focus on the sound as a means for interrupting the rush of thoughts, and maybe give us a brief rest in the silence between them.

So whether you stay close to home - or travel across the world this summer, I invite you to mentally "pack light". Experiment with letting go of some of that excess thinking, and truly enjoy yourself, finding rest and rejuvenation in your vacation.

"At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm, a complex of wave forms and resonances, which is absolutely individual and unique, and yet which connects us to everything in the universe." ~George Leonard, author and educator

Judy Schwiebert