Walk Slowly, Go Farther: a Case for Rest

text walk slowly, go farther, overlaying an image of a woman walking a red rock labyrinth.Sometimes the answer to getting somewhere is to do it slowly, and rest along the way. I’ve heard different versions of “Walk slowly, go farther” over the years, attributed to different people, most often to Confucius. However there is also the Aesop’s Fables version, in the story of the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race (that phrase used to really irritate me as a kid).

I’ve always wanted to do everything, and do it fast.
I started walking at 9 months old.
When I was 4 years old, I lost my first tooth.
I couldn’t wait to be all 10 fingers old.
In middle school, I decided I was going to read ALL the classic literature (and I made a pretty big dent in the list).
In high school, I took AP classes. Tutored elementary kids. Joined the Spanish Club. Key Club. National Honor Society…

In college, I tried to do everything too. Studying to get in to nursing school, taking ballroom dance classes, attending extracurricular activities, juggling a part time job and dating. I was burning the candle at both ends, as my dad would say. I burnt out and got really sick. So sick that I could hardly drag myself out of bed to get to class and my shifts at work. That earned me my first ever “failing” grade, in Organic Chemistry. I was so sick that it triggered a cycle of chronic pain and fatigue that I still deal with, 20 years later.

My body had been telling me I needed to rest, and I ignored it until it demanded that I rest. Still, I forced myself to continue on. I finished nursing school, working 12 hour clinical shifts, had three babies, continued working part time and took care of my family.

From time to time, my body would shut down and I would miserably watch my children play from the couch, hardly able to move, feeling like I was fighting my way through wet concrete. I received multiple medical diagnoses, none of which offered me much hope, but demanded rest. A sickening anxiety surfaced, which would edge me toward a numb abyss of depression, which I referred to as my “deep dark hole”. I felt stuck because I wanted to do so much, but my body couldn’t perform. There was a grieving process for what I felt I had to give up, but I started learning to learn to treat my body with care and tenderness. I learned that I could still do the things most important to me (but not every whim that popped into my mind) if I would gift myself with adequate physical and mental rest.

This rest does not limit itself to naps or sleeping, or prostrating myself on the sofa. I learned (as the Nap Ministry has often shared on social media), that rest is anything that connects your mind and body.

I still have a long list of projects that I would like to accomplish, yesterday if possible. I want to become an expert in a dozen different subjects. Like so many others, I want to find the answers to all the questions that keep me up at night.

But the answer that keeps coming into my heart, over and over, is to walk for now. Rest, and then get up and walk again. Self compassion has helped me to process so much grief and recognize all the things that walking still allows. I used to think that I could rest when I was dead, but I have learned to treasure rest as a worthy endeavor by itself, and for its own sake.

Do you ever find that you can go farther by walking slowly?

Migraine Checklist: Options for a mindful approach

Migraines- ugh. Anyone else out there regularly deal with these joy- sucking neurological events? If so, you truly have my sympathy. Like so many migraine- experiencers, I have done hours of research, spent so many dollars, and tried so many therapies to rid myself of migraines. I have created a migraine checklist that is a compilation of the things I have tried that have helped, and a few that I haven’t tried but personally know people who have with good results.

Disclosure: Wild Goose Meditation is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, and we may earn a small commission on items you purchase using our links, at no additional cost to you.

I should note that while I have had a measure of success with many remedies I have tried, I haven’t yet found any treatment that is 100% foolproof. When I feel one of these headaches coming on, I try to use my intuition to select a treatment, or multiple treatments. Sometimes I can nip it in the bud, sometimes it takes a few hours, and sometimes I just have to accept that today I am going to experience this and go to bed for the day.

I am lucky enough to have a prescription that works for me most of the time, but it does have side effects, and I am not always willing to trade discomforts. Other people I know can’t take prescription medication because it doesn’t work for their particular migraines, or they are pregnant, or have medication interactions. It’s good to have options that are alternatives to medication. So, most of these therapies are non- pharmaceutical, with a few exceptions.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and I cannot diagnose, prescribe or treat any conditions. Feel free to peruse my list, but do consult your physician and do your own research about treatment options- you use them at your own risk.

First things first

Before anything else, ask yourself these questions and address them if needed:

  • How is my hydration? Do I need to drink?
  • How are my electrolytes? Do I need salt? Potassium? Magnesium?
  • Where is my blood sugar at? Do I need to eat?
  • How is my stress level?

It seems basic, but it’s worth saying. Consider your hydration and electrolyte balance. This probably won’t treat your migraine by itself, but dehydration and low electrolytes will make your migraine worse. Make sure you’re getting enough clean water each day. At minimum, your weight in pounds divided by 2 is the number of ounces of water you should be drinking every day. As for electrolytes, you could definitely drink a sports drink or use an oral rehydration solution, but you can easily replenish your electrolytes with food, or by drinking an electrolyte drink called solé that you can make yourself.  Beyond that, just try to make sure your needs as outlined in the bullet points are being met.

Migraine checklist: first line treatments

It’s also important to act as soon as you become aware of your migraine. Early treatment is key. If you have an aura before your migraine, start right then, or at the first sign of pain. Some first- line treatments include:

  • Hot/ cold therapy- Depends on the person; some people get relief with hot packs on their heads/ necks. Others prefer cold packs, and still others swear by using a combination of heat and cold on various parts of their body. For me, heat on my neck with my heating pad is usually the most successful option (This is the one I have).
  • Acupressure- stuff you can try on your own, like ear seeds (tiny seed on an adhesive patch that you put in a specific place on your ear depending on what you want to treat), wearable acupressure devices (like this one that you wear on the webbing between your thumb and index finger). 
  • Aromatherapy- as long as you’re not smell sensitive. If scents worsen your headache or cause nausea, skip this. Otherwise, peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus essential oils are great options to quell nausea, tension, and sinus pressure, which sometimes contribute to migraines.
  • Breathwork- The breath is an under-appreciated yet powerful tool in your arsenal! Changing your breath can slightly alter the acid/ base balance in your blood. It also has the power to release tension you hold in your body, so don’t overlook this option. There are two main breath exercises I use when I have a headache.
    • Balanced breath: this exercise is about as easy as it gets! Just breathe in to a slow count of four, and breathe out to a slow count of four. Continue as long as it feels good, but try for a minimum of a minute.
    • Sitali Pranayama: this is a traditional cooling yoga breath. Roll your tongue into a ‘U’ shape, with the tip of your tongue just past your lips. Inhale deeply through your mouth, through the rolled tongue. Exhale through your nose. (If you can’t roll your tongue, just breathe over a flat tongue.) Repeat for 8-12 breaths, or up to 3 minutes at a time. I have tried this with good results, especially when paired with other approaches.
  • Body scan- Some migraines are triggered by tension held in the body. Assess your musculoskeletal system, and focus on letting tension drain from your body. Check out this body scan script if you need ideas.

Nutritional supplements

Consider taking vitamins and supplements that may help with migraines. Keep in mind that while there is anecdotal evidence for these options, the research is ongoing and in some cases inconclusive. I recommend that you do your own research and consider checking with your doctor or pharmacist before starting a new supplement, especially if you’re already taking medication. Here are the supplements that have helped me to some degree:

  • Magnesium
  • B-vitamin complex
  • Feverfew
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
  • Omega-3s
  • CBD oil
  • Natural caffeine
  • Ginger/ Turmeric

This is by no means an exhaustive list. On the subject of nutrition, however, it’s worth pointing out that there are foods you may need to eliminate from your diet. Some people find that their migraines are triggered by wheat/ gluten, alcohol, chocolate, dairy, caffeine, or sugar. Many people experience a fewer migraines when they adhere to the ketogenic diet.

Know your triggers

Prevention is, of course, best. Knowing what things tend to trigger migraines (even if you can’t always pinpoint it) is an essential strategy. So, do what you can to understand your migraine triggers. These things might help:

  • Keep a migraine journal
  • Use a migraine tracking app (like Migraine Buddy)
  • Chart your menstrual cycle (if applicable)
  • Consider: Am I light sensitive? (Make sure you have good sunglasses to wear outside, and an eye mask to wear during a migraine.) Motion sensitive? Sound sensitive? (I have worn noise dampening earplugs with good results when I am in noisy crowds.) Weather sensitive? Smell sensitive?
  • Are you getting enough good quality sleep? (If not, and especially if you have neck or shoulder pain, reevaluate the pillow you are sleeping on! There is no pillow that is perfect for everyone. Some people love memory foam contoured pillows, others love buckwheat filled pillows, etc. Find the one that feels best.)

It might be worth visiting your physician and getting lab tests done to rule out allergies, nutrient deficiencies, or an autoimmune condition. If you often have neck, shoulder, or back pain that precludes a migraine, it would definitely be a good idea to visit a chiropractor or physical therapist. Things like poor posture and pinched nerves are very treatable causes of headaches. When I went to my chiropractor, I got X-rays done that showed a congenital abnormality in my spine around my neck, and knowing that definitely affects what I do to prevent and treat my migraines.

If you can afford to get regular massages, or you have a friend or partner who is willing to work on your neck and shoulders consistently, this can help prevent tension from building up, which can sometimes trigger a migraine. Even if it doesn’t prevent every migraine, it’s a pretty pleasant form of self- care! I regularly use this neck and shoulder massager during the winter, which is migraine season for me. 

Speaking of triggers… If your migraines are related to muscle tension at all, you should know about trigger point therapy. This therapy goes along with massage, but it is not so pleasant, at least not for me! This involves the masseuse putting firm pressure on your muscle knots until they release. Painful, but effective. I also have a trigger point device that I can use on myself.

Get creative

If you’re willing to try some non- traditional forms of treatment, there are even more options available to you for treating migraines.

  • Binaural beats- “A binaural beat is an illusion created by the brain when you listen to two tones with slightly different frequencies at the same time.”- Source: WebMD. Basically you listen to these tracks (often paired with music) through headphones so that each ear receives a slightly different frequency, and your brain perceives a third frequency that isn’t really being played, but is the result of your brain trying to incorporate the different frequencies into one unified frequency. This is called brain wave entrainment, and depending on the sound frequencies played, it induces different brain wave states. Brain waves in the delta range are associated with deep sleep, pain relief, cortisol reduction, and deep meditation. Migraine relief is not a sure thing, but it helps some people, some times. Research at least agrees that it can’t hurt, although you may want to steer clear if sound sensitivity is a thing for you during a migraine. Search “binaural beats for migraine” on YouTube or Spotify, and look for tracks that use low (delta) frequency, under 4 Hz. Read more about binaural beats for migraine here.
  • Green light therapy– there is some research out there about using green LED light to alleviate migraine pain, and even decrease the frequency of migraine headaches (after months of use). I have not personally tried this, but it might be worth looking into.
  • Biofeedback- This amazing therapy has been extensively studied and found to be very helpful for sufferers of both migraines and tension headaches, along with a host of other issues. This therapy teaches you to control some of your body’s functions that are normally beyond your control. Electrodes connected to your skin measure things like heart rate, breathing, muscle contraction, skin temperature, and even brain waves. Then you undergo training to learn to control those things. This training can take place in a therapist’s office, but there are some options becoming available for home practice as well. This is definitely worth looking into if you haven’t tried it already!
  • EFT/ tapping- This is a highly studied modality based on Chinese medicine. (Seriously, there is tons of reputably published research. My child’s therapist even uses this with her patients.) Basically, you use your fingers to gently tap on specific areas on the body that are energy centers, while repeating certain phrases. This helps “dislodge” stuck emotions, and sends signals to the part of the brain that controls stress. The result is that negative emotions are neutralized, stress is reduced, and physical healing can begin. Read more about it here. Use the setup phrase “Even though I have this _______________, I deeply and completely accept myself”. You can fill in the blank generically with “migraine”, but it is more helpful to be specific, i.e. “shooting pain behind my eyes” or “vise around my temples” etc.

A little more extreme

These last few options are a little more extreme, and none of them are a silver bullet, but they might be worth researching and considering if they might offer you some relief:

  • Daith piercing- this is an ear piercing that goes through the ear’s innermost cartilage fold. It is placed over an acupuncture point that is supposed to relieve headache pain. The research is very mixed about whether it is helpful or not. I personally have a daith piercing on each ear. My experience was that it was more painful than a regular earlobe piercing, and that it took nearly a year to be fully healed. During that time, I did experience fewer migraines. Now that they’re healed, I do think fiddling with them or changing out the earrings- anything that causes slight inflammation- helps slightly. That is just my opinion. The TLDR is a daith piercing might help, a little. I really like my piercings anyway, but it might not be worth it if you don’t want the look as well.
  • Botox injections- I have not tried this, but I personally know people who swear by it. Basically, botox is injected into one of several muscle groups around the face, head, neck, or shoulders. Whatever your trigger area is that holds tension. This needs to be repeated about every 3 months, and it is not cheap. This treatment definitely isn’t for everyone, and it is only FDA-approved for those who experience migraines more than 15 days out of a month. It’s good to know what the options are, however.
  • Acupuncture- Another one that I have not tried, but does help some who can handle dealing with needles. It is also based on Chinese medicine and meridians (energy pathways in the body). The American Migraine Foundation states “It’s not completely clear how acupuncture eases pain or decreases migraine. The overarching belief is that it activates pathways in the brain that are responsible for turning pain off.”

Practice mindfulness.

This is really important, both when you are in the midst of a migraine, and when all is well! When you don’t have a migraine, try to note it. “Noticing what is not wrong” is one method of practicing mindfulness. Obviously, it is so much easier to identify what is going wrong. As human beings, we are hardwired to do so- it is an evolutionary survival mechanism. Find the thing that isn’t right, fix it, survive another day. It becomes less helpful in these modern times where our survival isn’t at stake, but those mental pathways remain. Now we’re stressed because of it! So we purposefully try to do the opposite. We identify the non-toothache, non-migraine, non-hunger, non-embarrassment, and this is a practice of mindfulness. It is also, as you might guess, a practice of gratitude.

When you do have a migraine, instead of panicking, try to bring that same quality of noticing and identifying. Note the location, quality, and movement of the pain. Be curious, and follow it. It is sometimes (though not always) possible to halt a headache just by paying attention to it and not fighting it. But if not, learning about where and how you feel your headache pain can help strengthen your intuition about how to treat it, or at least give clues about what triggered it.

Last but not least, a word about acceptance and expectations. This post is all about trying different things to find relief from migraine pain. I hope if you try some of the things on this list that they will help you. In fact, during the course of writing this article I had a migraine come on, and I hit it with half a dozen of the things I mention in the post. Luckily, my migraine abated without me needing to take my prescription. I wish that for you, too. But here’s the thing: when we become too attached to an outcome, or we refuse to accept what IS, we create more suffering for ourselves. I’m not saying don’t try to relieve and prevent pain. Of course not. But try to approach whatever is happening at the moment with equanimity. Try not to attach negative meaning to your migraines. I promise that will help you see the situation with more clarity.

I wish you the best on your mindful migraine healing journey. <3

 

Create a Personalized Mental Health Toolkit

We’re on the other side of Labor Day, and that means it is the unofficial beginning of Autumn. Even though Autumn is my absolute favorite season, I have mixed feelings (ok, read: actual dread) about the season that follows… Alright, I don’t hate Winter, but historically, it has been a struggle for me. I have chronic pain that is worsened by the cold, but it’s also the shortened daylight hours, feeling cooped up indoors, the poor driving conditions… you get the point. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, or seasonal depression, wintertime blues, etc.) is a real thing for me. I want to share one of my best tips for getting through the cold weather doldrums ahead: the personal mental health toolkit.

Those wintertime blues…

Prevent Wintertime blues with mental health toolkitSeasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that recurs around the same time every year, and lasts for a few months. Most people feel its effects beginning in late fall and lasting through the winter. A few people actually experience it the opposite way… starting in spring and lasting through the summer. Typical depression symptoms are common for both (hopelessness, low energy, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, sleep problems, change in appetite and/or weight, frequently thinking about death/ suicide, and problems with concentration). Read more about SAD symptoms here.

SAD seems to be connected to dropping levels of serotonin ( the “happy hormone”) and melatonin (the “sleep hormone”). The amount of natural light you are exposed to affects both of these hormones. So less daylight = less serotonin and melatonin = mood and sleep problems. To make matters worse, these effects are stronger the further away from the equator you live. This is because there are fewer hours of sunlight the closer to the poles you are (i.e. SAD is more prevalent in folks who live above the 35th parallel). 

You’re not in this alone

I hope you’re still with me, because my point isn’t just to share statistics about seasonal depression. My point is that if you know that you are prone to seasonal mood changes -even if you don’t think you quite hit SAD levels of depression- you can make a plan right now to support your mental health. Let’s call it your mental health toolkit, for any time you feel yourself getting depressed, anxious, or just moody.

Now, here’s the part where I tell you that I’m not a doctor, and I can’t give you medical advice. So use your own best judgement. Personally, I have talked to my doctor about this. He is aware of my history, and every year in about November, he writes me a prescription for an antidepressant that I can keep in my purse and fill at any time if I feel like I should. It’s a good option for me, since I am fairly mindful about my mental state. I recommend good communication with your own doctor as part of your mental health toolkit.

Your mental health toolkit awaits

There are a ton of research- backed treatments and practices that you can do to minimize the wintertime blues. Proven, official treatments for SAD that might belong on your list include:

  • Light Therapy (you can buy special LED lights for this exact purpose, google “light therapy for SAD”)
  • CBT (counseling/ therapy),
  • Medication
  • Stress- relief strategies (including yoga, meditation, music and art therapy),
  • Time outdoors and exercise.

plan now for good mental health during the winter time

But these are just a starting place- there are a ton of other options. YOU know best what kinds of things help you to feel better when you’re experiencing a “low”.

Your mental health toolkit is basically a list of options for you to run through when you don’t have the energy or willpower to think of how to pull yourself away from your darkness.

When I start feeling depressed, it feels like I am approaching a huge, dark pit in the ground, and if I get too close, I will fall in. The closer I get to my “deep, dark hole”, the harder it is to pull myself away and turn my mood around. I don’t have the energy or motivation to research what to do to feel better. But I can open up my notebook to where I have written out my checklist of things to do to feel better, and I can start doing things on the list without expending a ton of energy.

The toolkit

I will share some of the things I have included on my list. My toolkit includes things like: 

  • Meditation routine (I shoot for a minimum of 10 minutes a day. If you don’t know where to start, may I recommend trying a progressive body scan, blog post with instructions linked.) 
  • Nutrition choices (This could be cutting something out, like sugar or dairy, or adding something in, like trying to get an extra serving of veggies or fruit. It could also be allowing yourself to mindfully enjoy a special treat.) 
  • Sleep choices (Either going to bed or getting up at specific times. Taking a nap, etc.) 
  • Hydration (A good rule of thumb is your weight in pounds divided by 2 = ounces of water you should drink every day.)
  • Gratitude practice (I have a designated journal that I write a minimum of one sentence of gratitude in each day.) 
  • Continuing education (Find something you want to immerse yourself in, and learn more about it. Last winter I finished classes for a certification I was working on, and then I signed up for a labyrinth drawing class. Just find something that seems interesting, and maybe sign up for it ahead of time.)overcoming seasonal affective disorder
  • Music (I have a couple playlists of music that make me feel good- some are peppy and upbeat, and others are mellow, but feel- good songs. I also took up playing the ukulele a few years ago, and there are a ton of free tutorials, printable music, etc. out there. It’s a huge return on investment in terms of money and time invested to actual playing of songs and enjoyment in a relatively short period.)
  • Exercise (This can be as simple as a daily walk. Ok, true story- last winter, I walked my son to school almost every morning, all winter long. Even when it was below freezing, we bundled up and walked, as long as it wasn’t icy or stormy. Interestingly, last winter was the first winter in almost 20 years where I felt like my mental health was reasonably good all winter long. That’s huge for me. :))
  • Affirmations (Write out a list of a few positive affirmations, and for bonus points, pair them with tapping/ EFT to supercharge them. Here’s a classic: “I deeply and completely accept myself”.) 
  • Journaling (This can be anything that works for you, either bullet journaling, blogging, journaling prompts, a plain notebook where you record everything you did that day, write in letter format, or just do a brain dump, profanity and all. Whatever does it for you, seriously.) 
  • Nature therapy (Check out my social media posts on Shinrin Yoku, or Forest Bathing, to see all the amazing ways that nature boosts your physical and mental health. Consider investing in good quality clothing and gear that will keep you warm outdoors, and get outside.) 
  • Purposeful social connection (This could be forcing yourself to get out the door and go to that GNO, going out to lunch with a friend, or calling your sister/ friend/ mom/ SO on the phone for a few minutes.)
  • Vitamins and Supplements (I may do a separate post about this, but I do take at minimum a women’s Multivitamin, Magnesium, Omega-3 Fish Oil, and some other herbal supplements shown to positively affect mood and energy. You’ll have to do your own research about what you feel is right for you.)
  • Reading comics that make me laugh (My current favorite is Strange Planet by Nathan Pyle, but my son loves Calvin and Hobbes. Try creating a folder on your phone with your favorite comic strips, memes, or TikTok videos. Again, whatever works for you.)

Caring for your mental health in the winter timeYour personal resource

I don’t do everything on my list everyday. It is a kit filled with options that I turn to when I need it. Some of the options are intended as prevention, and others are meant to be utilized once I am already feeling down. My toolkit is geared around depression (and it’s written in my notebook under the heading “Anti- Depression Toolkit”). This is totally personal preference. Your toolkit might be geared around anxiety, or intrusive thoughts. Just try to notice now if there is anything that helps you feel better, even if it’s only a tiny bit, and put it on the list. Sometimes just knowing that you did something good for yourself, like drinking a glass of water instead of a soda, is enough to pull you out of a spiral.

Hot tip: Share your list with a trusted person who can remind you to use your toolkit when you’re struggling. Even if your mood is generally pretty stable throughout the year, consider taking 5 minutes to jot down a short list of mood-lifters or things that make you happy.

If it helps, you can download a free template for coming up with your own Mental Health Toolkit- link below. No strings attached. Just click and the download will start.

Personal Mental Health Toolkit Template

Mental Health Toolkit Thumbnail

I wish you the best as we head toward Fall and Winter, and I hope you find creating your own Mental Health Toolkit helpful.

Setting an intention for meditation and yoga

Do you set an intention for your personal meditation and/or yoga practice? Or, do you wonder if there’s a point? Is it just a new age-y way to say you’re setting a goal? And what should your intention be, anyway???!!! If you’ve ever been stressed during yoga or meditation class about what this whole intention thing is, keep reading!

Setting an intention is a powerful way to align your head, your heart, and your body and attract positive energy into your life. It is a bit like making a goal, but there are some important differences. Understanding these differences between a goal and an intention might point you in the right direction.

Imagine that you’re planning a hike up to a beautiful vista- you’re not there yet, but you can clearly see where you want to end up when all is said and done. A goal has to do with reaching this *future* destination. An intention has to do with the journey you are currently on toward that destination, whether you arrive at the top or not. It has to do with being immersed in the *present* moment.

If you just love making goals, there’s nothing wrong with that! So go ahead and picture where you’d like to see yourself at a specific, later date- this is your destination, your goal for the future.

Now let’s focus on the journey- this is how you’re going to get there, starting right this minute. What do you want the journey to be like? Is there a feeling or quality that you would like to cultivate- in life in general, the next month, the next minute? Keep in mind that your intention is something you can attain, moment by moment, regardless of whether you reach a future goal- or not.

For clarity, you might want to ask yourself:

  • Who/ what matters most to me?
  • What am I most thankful for?
  • How do I feel when I am my happiest self?
  • What words resonate with me?

Examples of possible intentions include: peace, unconditional love (giving or receiving), balance, equanimity, optimism, forgiving self or others, courage, focus, patience, flexibility, faith, connection, embracing change, soft/open heart, resilience, etc.)

Once you have an impression of what your intention should be, try to distill it down to as few words as possible- focusing on what you want, rather than what you want to avoid. This is the feeling you want to come away with, after your practice. It is the quality you would like to color your life, your goals, your successes and your struggles with.​

You might find it helpful to write this word or phrase somewhere you’ll see it often, or create a “trigger” by associating your intention with an object you see or handle fairly often, like a piece of jewelry or a pocket stone, etc. For me, the wrist mala (meditation bracelet) I wear daily reminds me of my personal intention. Do whatever works for you!

These instructions can help you identify your intention for your life right now. However, you can always set a time- specific intention that is just for the duration of a yoga class, a difficult conversation, or some other short- term activity.

Now that you have identified your intention, you have a couple of options. First, you can just mentally set it aside. Yep! Your subconscious mind will remember it and help you create the connections you need. Second, you could use that word or short phrase of your intention as a personal mantra to repeat with each breath you take while you sit in meditation or do your yoga set. It’s totally up to you and what feels natural in the moment.

Got a question about setting an intention that we didn’t cover? Feel free to leave a comment, or send us a DM on Instagram. <3

No Mud, No Lotus -Thich Nhat Hanh

Book Info:

No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering, by Thich Nhat Hanh. Available as eBook or paperback (128 pages).

“The main affliction of our modern civilization is that we don’t know how to handle the suffering inside us and we try to cover it up with all kinds of consumption.”

Summary:

Most people don’t like to be with pain or suffering – especially not their own. We may talk about topics such as grief, sorrow, and pain, but it is rare that a book will help us learn to first sit with the suffering and understand it – and then even transform it. Often meditation books address the positive feelings and benefits that come from a meditative practice. These books may also address philosophy. But few books so specifically guide the reader to find the peace, beauty, and transformation through sitting with our pain, sorrow, and fear. A wonderful introduction to understanding our difficult emotions, it also helps us understand our selves better in the process.

Things to Know:

  • Written in Thich Nhat Hanh’s signature gentle style, this book has many deep concepts that are written in an understandable way.
  • This books explores difficult human emotions and experiences. While it is powerful, at its core, this book is an introduction. If implemented, this book will guide the reader to sit with, understand, and transform emotions and feelings the reader may not have known how to explore in the past.
  • If you are looking for a deep exploration of sorrow, transformation, and meditation, this is a good starting point. Other books you may be interested in are: Radical Acceptance, and Solve for Happy.

The Bottom Line:

This book will help the reader release past grievances and work through sorrow. Self discovery and healing await those who practice the exercises and teachings in this book.

The Verdict:

Check out more of our “short and sweet” book reviews HERE.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you if you purchase using our link.