Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Courage to Relax

What a perfect picture of relaxation and bliss.

I love this kitten because she illustrates perfectly the vulnerability in and pleasure of relaxation.

To drop into full relaxation requires us to drop our defenses. This is not always appropriate, of course. If we are in danger, instead of relaxing, we want to gear up to fight or flee. This protects us. Unfortunately, all too often, however, we operate with a perceived sense of danger. Under constant stress, we tense up against it. We tighten our muscles in defense, our body becomes contracted, our chest sinks, our shoulders hike up, our belly is tight. We go about life wearing armor to protect ourselves.

To drop into full relaxation requires courage to let go of that protective armor. Our belly softens, our chest opens, our shoulders drop. Our body relaxes and opens. Some people find that it is difficult to relax, that dropping that armor is not so easy. If this describes you, be patient and gentle with yourself. After all, it takes courage to let go and to be open.

Albert Einstein once said that the most important question was, "Is the world a safe place?" The stress that we feel on a daily basis can lead us to approach the world as if it is not safe. We tense up against the fear. We take shallow breaths so that we don't take the world in. We guard ourselves with tense muscles to keep the world at bay.

There many choices of activities that are calming and offer a respite from a world perceived as unsafe- yoga, massage and other forms bodywork, and meditation are some examples. The more you give yourself the opportunity to drop the armor, the less you will feel the need to put it on when you don't really need it.

Wishing you balance,



  1. Boy you nailed it. I always think I'm a pretty easygoing person and not much really gets to me, and yet there are times when I think that's bullshit. I'm tense and can't untense. I would love to find that relaxed little kitten somewhere inside me.

  2. Larew- You should teach a class then. Fragrant Liar and I will sign up!

    Fragrant Liar- I think we all need to find that little relaxed kitten inside. Thanks for the visit!

  3. That's really a perfect picture to illustrate what you discussed. What a thought provoking post. I'm really thinking about how relaxed I am, and how relaxed I am able to let myself become.

  4. Very Top Five- Thank you for the visit! The kitten makes it look so easy, huh?

  5. I actually have cats that do this! The love they receive, and trust built on time knowning they are safe is what allows them to feel able to completely relax. These things as humans seem to be harder to achieve and must come from within. Self love. This is not always an easy task with all the outside emotional smog entering our aura. Cats also are able to love us unconditionally. Not an easy thing for humans to do for one another on a consistant basis. This is why we must rely on ourselves and stop looking outside ourselves to fill up what oftentimes feels like an empty hole in our being. Mind you this is alot easier said than done. It is an ongoing process. I think it should be said I prefer animals to humans.

  6. teafor 2- Well said. I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for stopping by!


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