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Inspiration Report

Guest Blog By Rona Cherry

Lazy days of summer, indeed! Roses may be blooming, but who has time to smell them? You’re off to the mall to outfit the kids for camp. You’re frantically cleaning for summer house guests. On the job, it’s vacation season (but not your turn yet), so the work of others trickles your way. Stop! Issue your own declaration of independence! Try these ideas for pursuing the life, liberty, and happiness that are rightfully yours. Here are six different time and activity options for having some time out.


090912_lede_inspired.jpg Take a 2 Minute break: Every morning look in the mirror and promise that familiar face, “I won’t forget about you, today. I’ll remember to bring love and joy into your life.” This little affirmation may sound corny, but it effectively sets your intentions for the day ahead. Take two minutes at midday and mid afternoon to repeat the exercise–and make sure you weren’t just making campaign promises at dawn. You should be able to say to the face in the mirror, “I told you I’d take good care of you. And so far today, I’ve done this and this and this…”
 
Take a 20 Minute Break: Take an iced tea out to the patio, and reread a beloved childhood classic, as if you were a parent doing something special for a child. Some of our favorites: Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, The Little Prince, Little Women. In some corner of our being, we’re all little kids, and you’ll find that part of you delighting in beloved stories from long ago. Then close the book and imagine yourself a child of summer again–at play, free of care, in a world of happy possibility. Slowly return to the present, bringing an inner glow with you.

Take a 30 Minute Break: Needlepoint is one of the most therapeutic things you can do with your hands. Set yourself up in a lawn chair (make sure you’ve got a steady base) and create a bookmark, a pilow cover, anything you like. Not only do you get the pleasure of making something for someone you care about (don’t forget, that can also mean you!), but the steady rhythm of thread being pulled through canvas clears and quiets the chattering mind– a lot like meditation. To get started, checkout www.stitching.com.
 
Take a 45 Minute Break: Sit outside with paper and pen, and practice the lost art of writing letters or sending cards to friends and family. Like all gestures of love, it’ll warm your soul as well–while taking your mind away from mundane concerns. On the receiving end, personal correspondence instead of an email will make a loved one’s day, like a seashell washing up on their doorstep. And guess what? They may just write back and make your day in return. 
 
Take a One Hour Break: Move your exercise routine outdoors. Try hiking instead of a treadmill, do lunges up ahill, pushups against a tree trunk, calf raises on a curb. Pick up rocks and tree limbs instead of dumbbells and barbells. Or learn the gentle art of tai chi, then practice the flowing program in your backyard or park. One video to try: Flow Motion Simplified Tai Chi (Collage Video, $19.95), at collagevideo.com.
 
Take a Two Hour Break: Relax on a blanket in the yard or a park–or, if you can swing it, the beach. Tune out all thought and focus only to your sensations. Feel the fine sand between your toes, or the cool touch of grass. Savor your iced tea, noting every flavor. Listen to the rush of the waves, or just the sounds of the neighborhood. Feel each shift of the summer breeze. As you “come to your senses” in this way, you’ll find that peace follows. Try the exercise at different times: early morning to collect shells or hear birdsong, late afternoon, or on a moonlight walk.

Rona Cherry was Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning publications Longevity, Fitness and Golf Digest Woman magazines. She was also Editor and Publisher of Love Magazine.

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