Monday, January 8

self portrait challenge {new years resolution # 2}

self portait, canon digital rebel xt

If you ask anyone that knows me, I believe they would tell you that I have a very soft voice and a calming personality. I can say this with confidence because it is what I've been told my whole life. I even notice that when I am with someone who has high energy or who is all tied up in knots, I can feel my presence is soothing to them. So, by the looks and feel of me, people may assume that I am always just as peaceful down deep inside. But this my friends, is a struggle for me. I internalize a lot of outside noise whether it is someone else's emotions or my own. While I am quietly sitting there in a room full of people, my senses are open and sensitive to all that transpires around me. Sometimes I don't feel it right away but either minutes or a few hours later, my heart will start to race or my mind will play back all that it has heard. I then begin to analyze or I find myself feeling worry for others or myself. It is rare that my mind is as quiet and clear as it appears to others (or even myself).

I recall my mother and sister's telling me when I was young that I was a "worry wart". I wish we could have called it a "worry flower" but it was worry that consumed me, nonetheless.

During my first appointment with my acupuncturist last year, she asked to look at my tongue. She then asked me if I tend to worry. I looked stunned, I am sure. She then proceeded to explain that if someone has small grooves lining the outside of the tongue, it is from grinding it with their teeth when worrying about something. So, I guess that means I have a groovy tongue? Ummm...not so much.

Needless to say, it is crucial for me to calm my mind. I absolutely love yoga and benefit so much from it but for some reason, I continue to put it off during my busy weeks. This year, I am going to make an effort to go to at least a few classes per week, if not more. When I am practicing yoga on a regular basis, not only does my body feel tighter and more fit but my spirit and moods are balanced.

I also have these marvelous meditation CD's called "meditations for a fertile soul". There are meditations for each part of a woman's cycle. The voice is so soothing and it always brings my soul to a much more calming place.

There is a part in one of the meditations where I am asked to imagine myself completely at peace and fulfilled in my life. It then asks what am I doing in my life that creates this peace and balance? I immediately see myself going to yoga, following the blood type diet strictly, walking on the beach, meditating, creating. See...when we are asked this question, truly, deep down, we already know the answer to what we need.

I want to open up this discussion for some wisdom from you. What do you do to help calm your mind? How do you meditate? Where do you meditate? Do you have any advice for a calm, peaceful person that tends to worry and analyze too much down deep within?

I also am encouraging you to ask yourself the same question when you are lying down before bedtime or when you wake up in the morning. When you imagine yourself feeling at peace and balanced, what is it that you see yourself doing in your life to create these feelings?

Find other resolutions here.

ps. here is a link to other cool meditation CD's if you are interested.


Blogger Amy said...

Driving calms my mind, amazingly, and I think that I dedicated an entire post about that some time ago. Late-night driving when the traffic is light and the moon is out. Everything seems to come together for me at that moment.

I, too, am an avid worrier and I over-analyze everything OH.MY.GOSH! I'm aware of those feelings which is why I'm surprised that I let them plague me so often. Perhaps I need to let go of all that pain from my past, the pain of losing people that are supposed to take care of you at a very young age.

Hmm..you've got me thinking, lovely...


January 8, 2007 at 11:08:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a complete and total worry flower too. But I also am pretty soft spoken, except on the rare occasion when I blow the proverbial gasket.

I have the groovy tongue, the knotted shoulders - all of the above. I guess I'll come back and see what everyone tells you to do. And then put it off until I'm on the verge of imploding. :)

Good luck. I have no advice on this one.

January 8, 2007 at 11:14:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello! Long-time lurker, first-time poster here. One thing that helps a lot and that I've tried hard to do over the past year or so, is to try and be quiet and still in the morning when I wake. Like a lot of women, my head is full of chattering voices the moment I awake. I start thinking, worrying, processing and making internal lists from the moment I wake. So recently I've made a concerted effort to quieten those voices, just lie in bed and be still. I get up before anyone else, feed the cat, switch on the kettle, then go and shower. I make coffee and bring a cup to my sleepy man, and then the day begins. But during those first 15 minutes, I've set the tone for the day by being quiet and relaxed. And that helps ground me for whatever else happens.

January 9, 2007 at 2:27:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Returning to focus on my breath is the most calming and centering action for me. It takes me to sleep each night and restores me during stressful times. If I can just be mindful of doing it on a regular basis, as opposed to "when needed", I know I would worry, fret, tense the shoulders, etc, much less.
I focus on my breath entering and leaving my body and if my mind wanders from the breath I bring it gently back. I have used this technique often to calm others, as well, to survive cancer and other life challenges.
Thanks for raising this subject. I just bought a new guided meditation CD yesterday (Joan Boryshenko)...we'll see. Just looking for anyway I can to gift my body with ease. Learning some biofeedback techniques lead me to the breathing. I hold stress in my neck and shoulders and have to work on that all the time.
The best to you.
Cape Cod Kitty

January 9, 2007 at 3:57:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, we do know the answers to what we truly need. It's finding the courage and openess to accept the answers and then making them a part of your reality.

January 9, 2007 at 4:58:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom and I have similar quietly worried personalities (although I'm not actually "quiet" in other respects...)and she recently took up knitting. She swears that it's the most calming activity she can find, that the repetition is very relaxing. Myself, I've not yet found my outlet, which could explain the headache that's forming over my eye right now.... ;0)

January 9, 2007 at 4:59:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


blood type diet
creating every day

the answer comes so easy.

Maybe the answer is to let my house get really gross and messy so I haver time for the rest:)

Love you honey
toe to toe

January 9, 2007 at 4:59:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worry flower? I love that! - I'm one of those too. (And I grind my teeth in my sleep - drives hubby wild (in the wrong way ;-))

I meditate in my journal and writing poetry is like a chant in some ways, distilling thought to a single point.

Thanks for the cd link :-)

January 9, 2007 at 4:59:00 AM PST  
Blogger britt said...

hi boho girl,
i wanted to post on this because i have been practicing yoga and meditation for almost 14 years, so i think about these things A LOT too. for me, i notice that the times that i am avoiding my yoga practice are the times when i need it most - not because i am too busy, but it seems when my heart and mind are in a troubled, chaotic place, then i find that going to the yoga mat is scary, anxiety-producing and i just start to avoid it, yet if i can keep going to the mat every day, no matter how much i dread it some days...my heart and mind are so much calmer. i only take yoga classes once a week or so, but i have developed a special meditative nightttime routine that i do each night before bed. i do some of my favorite poses and stretches, light candles, allow a lot of quiet time, and then have a nice (10-20 minute) meditation at the end. sometimes my mind just wanders, sometimes i am planning the next day, and sometimes i actually am "driven" (ha!) enough to actually try and clear the mind and fully release to the meditation. i never judge myself for where my mind is, because i figure if i am attempting to quiet my mind every day, for even a few minutes, that this is doing wonders for my circulatory, nervous and all other systems! this is also a special spiritual time for me when i pray, talk to god, ask for good things to come to my life, and especially lately - think about you and your family and dear mark. as for worrying - i am WITH You on that. i am a thinker, sensitive, analytic, caring, empathic and just a big sponge for the world's feelings it seems. and this is where daily yoga practice really helps. i have also had to make myself shut off to things at times - because i know it will negatively affect me. even if i do it in caring. when i take home others' crap too much - i get sick myself. wow. i know this is long. i taught yoga from 1998-2004 but have been focusing on my career since (psychology research). i am a trained therapist (masters level) but had to leave the field because listening to people's problems every day literally gave me a nervous breakdown. so now i just study them from afar...and try to learn as much as i can, to write, etc. i hope this helps you. feel free to email me if you want...i am on myspace...find me through kelly rae.

January 9, 2007 at 5:49:00 AM PST  
Blogger Marcia (123 blog) said...

Hmmm. Interesting.

I'm the opposite of you - real on-the-go, driven sort of person.

I calm myself down through reading or watching TV. But if I'm angry about something, then I need to do something active, like cleaning the house, organising, going to gym.

I'm really not a yoga sort of person - tried it once and also pilates, found myself nearly sleeping and that's not me.

Like another commenter above, I also find that driving at night calms me down (obviously not in traffic).

I know I still owe you a reply to your email but (don't know if you saw on my blog) I've been having really bad computer problems and my entire email is gone!

January 9, 2007 at 6:49:00 AM PST  
Blogger Denise said...

Hey Denise, it's me...the other Denise. :)

As for worrying, I don't do that too much. Or at least I really try to minimize it. My "method" of minimizing it is to ask myself the following two questions about whatever it is I find that is stressing me or worrying me:

1. Is there anything I can actively DO about this problem/issue?

2. Is this problem/issue really going to matter in 6 months?

If you say no to either one or both of these, the problem isn't worth worrying about.

love your writing, praying for your nephew.


January 9, 2007 at 7:02:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may sound absurd, but hard-core visualizing has always gotten me to a calm place, more positive place. I put all my feelings & an insane amount of gratitude into how I will feel to get a certain thing, be a certain way, or find that certain something.
Best of luck and I love your photography!

January 9, 2007 at 7:31:00 AM PST  
Blogger Georgia said...

Hello you :)

I have a "goovy tonguue" too!!! I had to run and check as soon as I read that.

Things I do to find peace and balance are:

Download writing (also called a billion other things...) where you just write whatever comes to you head without stopping for 15 minutes or so each and every morning... You CANNOT stop writing no matter what and if you cannot think of anything to write then you write the same thing over and over till something new comes out... I am going to be starting over on this again this year, it had been super helpful to me.

Remembering to breath... sounds dumb I know. But I sometimes catch myself holding my breath and as soon as I start to breath again I feel myself begin to relax...

I will have to think about some others...


January 9, 2007 at 12:25:00 PM PST  
Blogger Georgia said...

Hello you :)

I have a "goovy tonguue" too!!! I had to run and check as soon as I read that.

Things I do to find peace and balance are:

Download writing (also called a billion other things...) where you just write whatever comes to you head without stopping for 15 minutes or so each and every morning... You CANNOT stop writing no matter what and if you cannot think of anything to write then you write the same thing over and over till something new comes out... I am going to be starting over on this again this year, it had been super helpful to me.

Remembering to breath... sounds dumb I know. But I sometimes catch myself holding my breath and as soon as I start to breath again I feel myself begin to relax...

I will have to think about some others...


January 9, 2007 at 12:28:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love night time. The dark sky calms me down. It´s like someone puts an arm around you, that´s how it feels to me. Safe and peaceful.

Well...most of the time ;)

I am still trying to figure out how to be balanced, or at least more balanced than I am now. Maybe meditation is something I should give a try :)

xo Sophie

January 9, 2007 at 1:24:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a lot like you, Denise. I tend to be like a very calm ocean on the outside, but underneath, I am churning away with worry and doubt.
I also practice yoga and I do it every day- it's one of the few things, besides hubby, that I can commit to on a daily basis! I also run at least twice a week and I go to a beautiful park where squirrels are running around and birds are chirping- it's wonderful!
My mditation practice leaves a lot to be desired, but I have started journaling and that seems to really put me at my ease.
I also try to read A Course in Miracles before I go to bed at night- just a bit but that's all I need. I find spiritual reading before you go to sleep very restful and peaceful.
Hm... that's it for now, I think.
What a wonderful post!

January 9, 2007 at 1:42:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Driving, driving, and more driving. The windows down and good tunes to sing along with.

I love to head to the mountains and stop at scenic overlooks, where the winds carry my worries away.

Or I hike it out.

I recently started yoga, but it has been more of a laughing affair than a relaxing one!

Great post,

January 9, 2007 at 3:42:00 PM PST  
Blogger Deirdre said...

I'm a worrier too. And, unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten most of the little things that calm my mind. Today I went into a pretty church in my town and lit a candle. I'm not religious, but the ritual and deep quiet help me slow down and let go just a little. It helped me get through the last months with my sister. Anything that brings a deep breath to that kind of fear is probably something I should be doing more often.

January 9, 2007 at 5:11:00 PM PST  
Blogger Tammy Brierly said...

Sending calm vibes to you. Very calm, glowing shot ;)

January 9, 2007 at 5:48:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, you look beautiful and peaceful in that picture.
A challenging "Flow" yoga class is the best way to get me back on track. But sometimes my energy is so stagnate that I find it hard to get the motivation... Instead, I go for a walk on the beach. It doesn't take as much effort, and once I'm feeling the breeze on my face and moving my body, all my thoughts feel lighter. Before I know it, I've reconnected with my center, my energy is back and my worries... Gone!

January 9, 2007 at 5:52:00 PM PST  
Blogger Kim Carney said...

I want to start yoga! sounds good, calming. something I surely need.

January 9, 2007 at 6:30:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only time that I really feel at
peace is when I pray.

Yoga is good too. But for me not as complete.

Sometimes music- wordless, floaty kind.

I am also a person who is very calm on the outside. I hold it all in. Not a good thing for the body or soul or mind.

I like to transport myself to a beach in St. Luicia. It was the perfect vacation. I/we did absolutely nothing. Just sat on the beach for 10 days.


January 9, 2007 at 8:47:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are indeed a most calming spirit honey. I very much understand what you talk about here, even more so since you have brought it to my attention...and wouldn't you know it, I sat at my computer the other night searching for good meditation CD's, so thank you for the link love.

I wish I had some words of wisdom on this subject, but I feel inundated much of the time..and right now, after the evening I just had, I REALLY don't have perspective....which is making me a bit glum. But, I do believe that the meditation and yoga that you speak of is a very good first step, and it is something that I have been longing to start doing.

Beautiful you...thank you for just being you.

Love you,

January 9, 2007 at 8:58:00 PM PST  
Blogger Deb R said...

I never heard of the thing about the groovy tongue before. I'm going to take a look at mine before I go to bed! I read Holli's comment about the knotted shoulders though, and man do I ever have those, all the time.

The times I'm most successful with calming exercises is when I can get things truly quiet - no music or tv, no one talking to me - and preferably when I can be outside where I can feel a breeze on my face.

Your portrait is beautiful!

January 9, 2007 at 9:48:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love this post. Has me thinking. I really love my positive thinking walks. I just try to clear my head and only think about all of the good things in my life. It really helps. I tried yoga years ago and I loved it but like you, find I keep putting it off. Maybe I'll take it up again?

You seem like such a well balanced person. Enjoy this time connecting with yourself.


January 9, 2007 at 10:03:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goodness, i have such a hard time meditating...like you I have about a thousand things going on in my head at one given moment and trying to shut them out or shut them up is near impossible. I have found that guided meditation CD's and sessions work in a way for me, being able to listen to a soothing voice definately helps...but it is something I would like to work more on. It is funny because my list of resolutions this year keep on growing, I think I am going to have to add meditating to my list as a way of allowing some time for myself/my soul. I personally relax the best in the bath, i have a connection with water and being surrounded in it relaxes my physical self and my spirit. One of my resolutions I made was to take a soothing bath (candles, aromatherapy, music...) atleat 2 nights out of the week to try and clear my head...so far so good :)
I hope you find the calm that you seek...

January 9, 2007 at 10:04:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meditation does not work for me--too much that I'm trying not to think about and end up thinking about anyway.

Really the most relaxing for me is doing a yoga or pilates DVD; doing it along with the DVD forces me to pay attention, listen to the soothing voice guiding each pose. By the time I'm done both body and mind feel relaxed but re-energized.

January 10, 2007 at 10:24:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always had trouble meditating--could never relax enough. Until I was "hypnotized." It was wellness day at work, and the hypnotherapist that was there told us that every time we imagine a person, place or thing that is not with us, we are in a hypnotic state. With that definition, I realized that I am more meditative than I ever thought I was. When I am stressed or unfocused, I think of something that transports me, and puts me in another place...it feels like warm waves over me...

January 10, 2007 at 12:42:00 PM PST  
Blogger JC said...

I can be a worrier too, but I think I've gotten much better as I've aged (you know, like wine). For me, just going outside and looking up at the sky can help me relax. Also sometimes going for a walk, but I think the most important part is being outside. Good luck with the yoga!

And thanks for the collard recipe!

January 10, 2007 at 4:06:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, you already know about my recent experience with yoga-although it is going much better now. No "Alice moments" the last couple of times.

Meditation is a lot harder for me but when I can reduce the clutter in my mind a little, I will have words pop into my mind. This helps me tremendously. I tend to have a hard time meditating in the traditional sense (crosslegged, fingers pointed upward) I tend to meditate at night while lying down and having it dark or with a few candles lit. Scent helps me too, it gives me something to focus on. i should probably order one of those CD's, I need all the guidance I can get. : )

Cooking really relaxes me. A bit of kitchen therapy. I find it sort of puts me in a trance if I am stirring or chopping a lot.

Driving with great music playing helps me to relax. too.

My tongue is also groovin'

I also was a worrier to the point of anxiety attacks and medication, so now I work constantly at letting things go.

Great post, hope you grabbed that Yoga schedule!

January 10, 2007 at 5:55:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post reminded me that I should practice yoga more regularly, too. I remember feeling so calm after every class, and actually I can't remember what made me stop. (Note to self: Go to the yoga centre and book some classes.)

Apart from doing yoga I love to stretch out on my bed, close my eyes, concentrate on my breathing and listen to soothing music. My brother gave me a meditation CD from India, it's wonderful. But any calm, classical piece of music would do the trick, too. And I love a cup of hot yogi tea every now and then, too.

January 11, 2007 at 3:54:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh dear boho. is worrying a virgo thing? all my virgos and me are worryflowers. i am trying to beat it.
yoga, massage and quiet time or meditation on my heart chakra calms me. remembering that i am connected to all living beings and tiny as an ant in the grand scheme take the pressure off. i think i have to remind myself that i am not in control to let myself off the hook.

i am loving you and carsten and the divine spark that is baby boho so much in this moment. leonard must be laughing at how lovely his legacy is from the cosmos....

xoxo pixie

January 17, 2007 at 10:20:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sometimes I don't feel it right away but either minutes or a few hours later, my heart will start to race or my mind will play back all that it has heard. I then begin to analyze or I find myself feeling worry for others or myself."

I've been reading your blog and feel we have a lot of similarities, but this quote really stunned me. Its like I wrote it myself.

I love your blog and am trying to catch up!


September 9, 2009 at 6:27:00 AM PDT  

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