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As human beings, we are very attached to self-soothing tactics of all kinds. I think what’s important is to recognize when we use something to become more present, and therefore relieved of stress and exhaustion, versus when we use something that makes us less present, less connected, and more zombie-like. Either way we may feel somewhat more relaxed, but one is only temporary relief.

So in an effort to have compassion with my old habits as well as begin new ones, I’ve started my own “Awaken Project”. I write post-it notes for myself on my laptop, phone, in my nightstand drawer, bathroom counter, purse etc. They are simple reminders like “Notice your breath” or quotes from my most recent book that I want to reread. By the kitchen pantry (where I go to eat when I’m feeling out of sorts) I wrote a post-it that says, “Look within, not without. When you make the effort to heal from the inside, the outside will fall into place.” Much more often than not, I walk away with one hand on my heart and one on my stomach, really listening to my body for the first time in my life. I’ve also noticed the chocolate supply stays intact much longer, haha!

The biggest part of my project is that I listen to classical music and open my windows in the morning and then sing along with “Hallelujah” at least three times before bed. I used to always plug in a movie or get online before bed to “wind down”. I don’t mean to say all TV or whatever is bad, but had I been watching a program that helped me awaken to that present moment, I wouldn’t have felt like I had gone two hours ignoring the space in the room, the lights outside my window, the feeling of life in my toes, and the light in my heart… We are all very good at narrowing our attention, dropping below thought, numbing ourselves, and hence making life very, very isolating.

We are all masters at self-soothing, but ask yourself this: How do you want to greet the day? Greet this moment? The more we make the effort to practice presence, the more natural it becomes and the less we need reminders. But for now – and as always – turtle steps!

Namaste, Laura Marie XO

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