Turning Stress into Gratitude with the Practice of Mindfulness

By Melissa Zaineb

The leaves had changed from vibrant green to a deep gold and were falling all around me as I briskly pushed my baby’s stroller through my new neighborhood. My mission — to burn off a few calories from the cookies my teens had baked, and to de-stress after my 4-year-old son’s sugar-induced tantrum. There was a chill in the air that reminded me that our Michigan winter was not too far off. My sleepy baby nodded off, her precious cheeks bouncing slightly with each bump we strolled over. I drifted into thought as I often do. I hoped that moving to a new neighborhood after my divorce was the right decision for the kids. Will they be happy here? Is everyone okay? Am I okay?

I began to think of the approaching holidays, and how they will be different. I asked myself the question that every single mother asks herself from time to time, “Am I enough?” I quickened my pace as I continued this unnecessary line of questioning for a few moments. I snapped out of it when I realized I was not being a friend to myself but quite the opposite — a bully. I apologized to myself and remembered to follow my own advice as a Reiki Master — be mindful.

I left the negative conversation my anxiety was having with me. I took a deep cleansing breath in and with my exhale I imagined all of my unnecessary worries following my breath, floating farther and farther away until they dissolved into nothing. I focused only on the beauty that was all around me right at that moment. I breathed in the crisp autumn air and noticed the scent of pine. I focused on how my sweater felt soft on my skin, then on how I loved the sound of the leaves crunching beneath my feet as I walked. I scanned my body and still felt the remnants of anxiety in my heart. I imagined I was breathing in God’s healing energy and it was directed straight to my heart chakra. As I exhaled, I imagined the anxiety crumbling away like sand and leaving my body. I then felt lighter.

The clouds parted and I turned my face upward. I tuned-in to how wonderful the warmth of the sun felt. Baby Taia awoke and the sun forced her to make a funny squinted face with a scrunched-up nose which made me smile. We came up the walkway of the new house and opened the still unfamiliar door. The warmth of the indoors together with the delicious smell of cookies again made me smile. My oldest, Maya, was comfortably curled up on the couch in the family room reading as her brothers sat peacefully at the kitchen table drawing together. My heart grew with gratitude. The holidays are going to be wonderful this year.

Melissa Zaineb is a licensed massage therapist, Reiki teacher and owner of Highest Healing Bodyworks located at 906 South Main Street Suite 2 Plymouth, Mi. Her specialties are Intuitive Reiki sessions and pain management using a variety of massage and energy modalities. You may book with her online at www.highesthealingbodyworks.com.

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