It’s less about what our story is, and more about what we do to honor it. This is the line I have come up with to silence the voice in my mind when I start to think about how many other life stories are more challenging than my own. Without that reframe, that comparative line of thinking makes me live a little smaller, feel less deserving, and shrink my own voice. It puts a tightness in my voice, my life, and even in my body that doesn’t feel good. It worries what other people think of me, magnifies what I’m afraid of, isn’t what I want to teach my kids, and definitely doesn’t maximize potential. In short, it isn’t the abundance mindset that I have consciously battled to embrace. The good news is the growth is in the noticing and being able to reframe quicker each time the thought is there.
This week I walked into therapy thinking I didn’t have much to say…and then I talked nonstop for an hour, and it felt like five minutes. It was a stream of consciousness, and Mary didn’t have to say too many words, at the end she said: “I hope you found this helpful.”
The answer was yes, she has a calm and wise spirit and the words she does say are meaningful and inspired. Not to mention it helps me to hear someone say:
“Wow, Wen, you are balancing a lot.”
That’s a thought I don’t let in very often but it reminds me why I put so much effort into taking care of myself and how much I appreciate my abilities and my life.
It does us no good to compare our stories to other people, and the things I have researched, practiced, and stayed consistent with for my mind, body, and spirit have produced improved health and healing in my life that not only benefit me, but my relationships, and the world….I love the idea of the ripple effect. Regardless of circumstances in life, the healthiest among us are rooting for everyone to succeed. I’ve heard so many times that our thoughts are a culmination of the the five people we spend the most time with and while that has its roots in the truth, I think there is an extension from there. How we think and act is also affected by entire communities of people that we spend time with, lean on, and relate to. Their habits, mindsets, and choices have a direct effect on our own. Do they offer the right amount of challenge and support? Do they let us off the hook too easily? Are their habits and ideas things that inspire us that we can learn from and even emulate? Are they people we are able to speak our minds with while they hold space instead of judge us, or worse, cancel us altogether?
I have researched and practiced a lot of self care over the past five years and my go too people in these communities have become dear friends that I love because of the genuine connection we have made over our common interest in using the mind/body/spirit connection to become better people on and off the court. I can’t wait to show you the insight that I have captured with them on some new video conversations coming soon. As Lauren put it to me yesterday when I stood up from lunch at The Source in Hermosa Beach, and l let out more than a sigh because of a calf strain I’ve been struggling with,
“Well mom, you’re pushing 50 and work out like a 20 year old…she has a point, but I also know that everywhere I went this past week, the same words from my wellness community that support this habit of mine were the same:
“We are creating space.”
Most of the time that meant in my joints and tissues…breaking up adhesions and facia that are pulled tight because of my wonky body mechanics from old injuries that I choose to play through. So, I show up in these places and ask for help to unwind the tightness and give me a little more space…and every time they create space in my body, it creates more space in my mind and then for the other people in my life. It’s a win/win/win, no selfishness about it.
So this week I’m considering all the ways that I have learned to create more space in my body and my life for greater peace of mind, calmer conversation, and deeper connection and growth because the gratitude I feel to be able to learn from these ways of being, teach them to others, and live in this place is immense and energizing.
Ways to Create More Space in Your Body & Your Life
Stretch - I’ve said it before, we store our emotions in our bodies so if we don’t take the time to stretch them out, the less space we will have.
Breathe - If you take 10 deep breathes in and out, and are honest with yourself, you will feel the physical and mental space created by the down shift of your nervous system. Real healing that doesn’t cost a dime.
Yoga - Combine my first two suggestions and it will lead you to a your mat, a place where body and mind come together and infinite calm and potential are accessible at the same time.
Train Your Eyes - Choose where you fix your gaze. What we choose to look at can be expansive or constrictive. Focus on the moments, people, and energies that bring calm and enhance your day. I’ve noticed it countless times in the middle of a workout. When we challenge ourselves physically but focus on positive images and thoughts, we have greater stamina. Do that same exercise but think something negative and our ability to push through drops dramatically.
Sleep - When we are sleep deprived, we have a harder time staying present, and worry and even anxiety/depression have a chance to set in and take away space. Sleep is the foundation of health and where our tissues repair and inflammation dissipates.
Hydrate - On a cellular level, our body cannot communicate with our brain as well if we are dehydrated. This can leave us feel anxious, stressed, and unfocused.
Soft Tissue Work - Our bodies create compensating patterns over time. Find a specialist like a chiropractor or massage therapist who can unwind what is bound up in your tissues.
Acupuncture & Cupping - These two things combined create more space in our bodies by deactivating a heightened nervous system and ushering toxins out of our bodies. It’s been a go to game changer for me.
Reiki - Infuse your body and physical space with calm healing energy. I practice it on myself almost daily.
Foam Rollers & Hypervolt - a small investment compared to ongoing massage and chiropractic care but highly effective and creating space in the body if you use them regularly.
Expose yourself to Infrared and Near Infrared light - there is so much new science documenting the benefit of exposure to this healing light. From improved sleep, healthier skin, better cellular turnover, reduced inflammation, and other benefits, if it’s in your budget, it’s a long term care strategy that works. And better health always creates more space in our bodies, minds, and spirits.
Banish Multitasking - It takes us away from being present, stops us from noticing our habits and thought patterns, and makes us less effective instead of more. When we are trying to stuff too much into the minutes of our day, we are definitely short changing ourselves on space.
Set your clocks ahead 10 minutes - I’ve been doing this for as long as I’ve been in charge of a clock, and it’s the most practical way I know to create more space. Being late makes us anxious and rushed and takes away from a conscious process (not to mention the effect it has on other peoples space). Set the clock ahead, leave early, and enjoy the time on the back end to take a few deep breathes before the next space in your day.
Take phone breaks - Walk away from your phone for any amount of time. Let’s face it, these days it’s a challenge, it’s our second brain and the dopamine push that keeps us slightly unsatisfied and coming back for more. Without it in our hand, it is far easier to be present.
Identify your fears, and then figure out how you will push past them - fear will show up from time to time. The problem comes when we let them dominate us. Once we have identified our fear, what small thing can we do to begin to push past? It doesn’t have to happen overnight, but it does have to be actionable.
Spend time alone - For me this time is usually in the early morning, you’ve heard it said, win the morning, win the day and I’ve found that to be true. I heard on this podcast this week about Unwinding Anxiety that a 2014 study showed that people would rather shock themselves than sit alone with their thoughts. As an introvert, I love my alone time, but I have felt the scary place of being alone and feeling stuck. The challenge is to peel pack the layers of that space and not turn away from it by distracting yourself with something else.
Create a mindfulness practice - I do mine daily in front of my Joovv Infrared Light - oops, I guess that does count as multitasking, but it seems to be a great exception.
Make choices based on the alignment of your vision and values - Say no to things that make you busy but don’t align with that. If you don’t know your vision and values start journaling, take this quiz, or talk with a therapist or coach to help you figure them out.
With so many different stories, opinions, and options out there, the space we create for ourselves creates a calmness that can bring us closer together. With space comes intention, presence, and the ability to see clearly where we are meant to connect and create in our world. I started down this road to help my youngest child and ended up learning things that serve any of us who want to continue to get better, at sports or life, because the game plan isn’t all that different. I’m headed for Atlantic City next week for some more volleyball, and have a new website coming soon full of resources to help parents, athletes, and coaches connect and get better - body, mind, and spirit. Stay tuned, can’t wait to show you.
With love & optimism,
And of course, music always creates more space in my life…so here’s a good one for this week.