Today started like many, with one of the non jarring apple iPhone alarms and the sun shining through my blinds at 6:35am. I also wanted to let you know if you're reading this in the future, I managed to write it on the very last day of May...Happy Memorial Day!
Now, onto the focus of this month's blog, "Practice Is Life, Life Is Practice." What exactly does this mean? Well, most try to get life carefully categorized and compartmentalized though it doesn't have to be as neat to be turned in. Sometimes life is a piece of scratch paper with some thoughts scribbled down (or at least mine is) and that's a-okay! In all seriousness, if you think of every day as a chance to fail and learn, then you aren't doomed to repeat your mistakes or worse, spend your entire life aiming for perfection and ending up losing the perfectly flawed moments that tried grabbing at your heels. While I do indulge myself in everything neuroscience, I do believe if meditation appeals to your nervous system, it would be a great strategy to have a mantra or phrase that you repeat during your time of silence. If you're thinking something like, "isn't sitting criss cross applesauce on the floor with my hands face up and eyes closed enough to wedge open my third eye?" Well, yes it is, and wearing your shoes without socks works at protecting your feet but we love the feeling of socks in shoes, right? Whether or not that got the point across, I'd invite you to practice this neuro-centric lens I'm always ranting about on my instagram account.
When we think about neurology we tend to think about the brain and its connection to the rest of the body. The primary pathway would be the spinal cord which is attached to countless nerves that reach out to different parts of the body. One nerve we famously talk about in the neuro-community is the Vagus nerve. This specific cranial nerve is the tenth out of twelve pairs, though that is less important to the general population (unless you love learning about the brain). What is important, is the fact that this particular nerve interfaces with the parasympathetic (calm) control of the heart, lungs and digestive tract. So if you are trying to meditate, and it just ain't working for you, i'd invite you to try repeating a mantra or even a word. The vibrations from something like "ommm" in classic meditation practice are powerful due to their ability to stimulate the vagus nerve which serves to initiate relaxation after stress (aka the reason you're sitting on the floor channeling your inner buddha).
The next time you're wondering how to do life better, first, assume that all of life is just practice, and if you're ever so inclined to manage your stress with a method like meditation or stillness, then you might be better off including a phrase, word, or sound in efforts to shift your perspective and truly accept relaxation. Enjoy your perfectly blended science-woo-woo smoothie y'all!