What Makes a Strong Family: The Factors Involved

When we are asked about our opinions about the word family, a whole lot of us would first consider our parents, followed by our...

What Does Family Mean to You: The Multiple Definitions

It is essential to note that a family may appear to be a simple concept to most individuals, but definitely, there is not one...

Meditation Prep

Get Your Sit Together: 7 Best Meditation Cushions to Support Your Practice

  Meditation cushions can make all the difference when it comes to a successful, comfortable meditation practice—for beginners and experts alike. Here are the best...

Try This Heart-Centering Meditation Before You Take a Forest Bath

  A forest bath is an inner journey to reacquaint us with our own wildness as much as it is an outer journey into the...

Alan Finger’s Energy-Clearing Yoga Sequence to Prepare for Meditation

  Zev Starr-Tambor Yoga Journal’s new online Master Class program brings the wisdom of world-renowned teachers to your fingertips, offering access to exclusive workshops with a...

“I Tried 40 Days of Yoga, Meditating, and Chanting at 4 a.m. Every Morning”

  Sadhana involves two and a half hours of yoga, meditation, and chanting starting 3 a.m. for 40 days. One early morning last November, my doorman, Jose, who usually...

Everything You Need to Know About Meditation Posture

  Do you sit down for meditation and wonder if you're doing it right? Learn all about the universal meditation posture here. There are a million forms of meditation in...

A Sequence to Beat Restlessness + Prep for Meditation

Did your self-reflection reveal a rapid breathing pattern? Was your jaw clenched? Were you feeling anxious or irritable? Many of us are regularly in...

Get Your Sit Together: 7 Best Meditation Cushions to Support Your Practice

  Meditation cushions can make all the difference when it comes to a successful, comfortable meditation practice—for beginners and experts alike. Here are the best...

Move Into Meditation with Shiva Rea’s Prana Flow Pranams

Tadasana with Anahatasana and Jaya Mudra Mountain Pose with heart opener and victory mudra Rise to standing, with your hands at the base of your spine...

17 Poses to Prep for Mindful Meditation

  Not all meditation practice has to happen sitting perfectly still in Lotus Pose. By focusing your awareness inward, on the breath and the way your...

Benefits of Meditation

Common Meditation Myths: What are the Benefits of Meditation?

This is the final part of a 3-part series on common meditation myths. The first part discussed the myths about What is Meditation and the second...

Meditation and Confidence: From Inner Noise To Inner Knowing

  Self-confidence is indicated by how strongly we believe in ourselves and in our ability to complete a task or speak up what we’re thinking...

Patience is Action

Patience does not come easy to me. I’m a sales professional for a consulting firm and avid marathoner: two worlds where success is equated to time...

Letting Go In Meditation Isn’t As easy As It Sounds

The profound opportunity of meditation is to completely let go of any adherence to your current interpretive framework. All of the experience we have, every sensation that...

Using Meditation to See the Bigger Picture

Imagine you’re at a beach on a beautiful summer’s day, and you become aware of a child moping and whining, complete with the familiar...

How to Mindfully Calm Your Anger and Stop Doing Things You Regret

DisclaimerThis site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other...

Inside a Panic Attack: What It’s Like When Anxiety Strikes

DisclaimerThis site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other...

Embodied Trauma Conference: a Free Online Event, Feb 3-8

Would you say you’ve experienced trauma in your lifetime? Perhaps it’s an obvious yes—if you’ve fought in a war, you’ve been abused, or you’ve survived a tragic accident or natural disaster. But odds are, even if you haven’t experienced these things, you’ve lived through something traumatic—the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or even a divorce. We all go through harrowing events that challenge and change us. If we don’t face the pain head on, our unhealed traumas can leave us stressed, depressed, or unable to cope with daily life. They can affect our mood, sleep, and appetite, not to mention our relationships. If you’re struggling in the aftermath of a traumatic event, or if you think you might be living the effects of trauma from years back, I highly recommend that you check out the upcoming Embodied Trauma Conference—a FREE only event running from February 3rd-8th. Hosted by Tiny Buddha contributor Karine Bell, the Embodied Trauma Conference will focus on how our “trauma imprints” shape our bodies, lives, and experiences, and how we can heal. When you register, you’ll receive two trauma reports as free gifts: Understanding Trauma in Our Children and Why You Can’t Think Your Way out of Trauma. During this six-day online event, you’ll learn from and interact with twenty-two well-respected thought leaders including: Dr. Peter Levine (How Trauma Becomes Lodged in the Body and How We Can Heal) Irene Lyon (Trauma, Chronic Health Conditions, and Healing) Laurence Heller (Working with Shame and Developmental Trauma) Kimberly Ann Johnson (Sexuality, Sexual Power, and Healing Sexual Trauma) Resmaa Menakem (Racialized Trauma and How We All Heal) Nir Esterman (Intergenerational Trauma and Healing) Ale Duarte (Trauma Work with Children and Working with Trauma After Natural Disasters) You can register for the free Embodied Trauma Conference here. Or, if you won’t be available to catch the live interviews, which will each be available for twenty-four hours, you can purchase the complete bundle (and by doing so support charitable organizations working to make trauma education and healing accessible to everyone). I hope the conference helps you heal and better connect with yourself and the world around you! See a typo or inaccuracy? Please contact us so we can fix it!

What If Everyone Were Conspiring to Help You?

DisclaimerThis site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other...

It’s a Myth That We Can Just “Get Over” Pain and Loss

DisclaimerThis site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other...

Guided Meditation

[New Guided Meditation] Infuse Your Life with Gratitude

The power of gratitude is no secret. When practiced regularly, gratitude and meditation have tremendous physical and emotional benefits. Plus, evidence now suggests that when...

Healthy Habbits

How I Lost 30 Pounds by Meditating (and All the Things...

DisclaimerThis site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. The content on Tiny Buddha is designed...

A Beginner’s Guide to Relaxation And Stress

Stress is a killer. It’s no exaggeration to say that our society is stricken with a stress epidemic. Stress is also one of the biggest...

Self-Regulation for the Modern Day Mystic

In our modern era, it appears that stress and overwhelm have become a normalized baseline for most people. When we were younger, the majority of us probably...

Relax & Start Your Meditation with this 6-Step Breathing Exercise

You’re tense and exhausted. Your back aches and you’re irritable. You decide that mediation could help. But with your tight shoulders and racing mind, you can’t...

When It’s Hard To Be True To Yourself, Remember These 8...

DisclaimerThis site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. The content on Tiny Buddha is designed...

Living with Depression and Anxiety: How to Lessen the Pain

DisclaimerThis site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. The content on Tiny Buddha is designed...

When You’re Tired of Trying: Lessons in Mindfulness from a Woodpecker

“The antidote to exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s wholeheartedness.” ~David Whyte Crouched down in a cold clump of leaves in the woods, I watch a woodpecker. Persistent, unbothered, moving up and down a tree next to me. It is methodically tapping its beak bit-by-bit looking for something to eat. I watch and wonder… Aren’t you tired of this relentless pursuit? Tired of smashing your face again and again with the odds stacked against you? How fleeting disappointment must be for you. Not me. I take one bump and the disappointment reels through me. I desperately seek ease, my eyes always halfway gazing elsewhere looking for relief, wondering when I can stop trying so hard. My mother used to talk about her own persistent struggles like “smashing your head into a brick wall.” But you, my woodpecker friend, don’t seem to be struggling or frustrated. You simply move on moment by moment in pursuit, unbothered by the repetition of trying again and again. Not worried about what happens next, what the outcome of each tap against the tree is. This is your life, the persistent pursuit of nourishment moment by moment. Tap, tap, tap—look for food. Tap, tap, tap—try again. Tap, tap, tap—no time for disappointments. Tap, tap, tap—that would be silly, counterproductive to living. Today I sit and watch you. It’s early morning and my body is already buzzing with stress. My baby crying, children fighting, another night without sleep. I am six months postpartum with baby number three, and I have been struggling to adjust to my new life. All my energy has gone into trying to cope, provide for, and nourish my growing family. I am supposed to have it together at this point in my life, I should have made some progress by now. I wasn’t supposed to have to try this hard. I teach people how to manage their stress through art, the daily grind is my muse! But today I can’t step out of my own fog. I can’t prescribe myself time to create and breathe, I am just too tired. We hear the word “grind” a lot these days. A collective acknowledgement that daily living in the western world is full of bumps, abrasions, and sparks. The notion that not all stress comes from the big dramatic life moments of life and death, pain, and suffering. Much of it comes from the momentary energy we put into trying to shape and survive in our day to day lives. The details of my life’s challenges are specific and particular to me, but most of us can relate to this feeling of a boiling point—where we can’t take it anymore, where the stress is too much, and we are tired of trying. Each of us dances between our own tiny stories of struggle and joy in a day. Sometimes coffee isn’t enough. Sometimes more sleep can’t help. Sometimes it feels like all my trying is only making it worse. Like there is no influence, no mark I can make in this world, or in my life. Sometimes all my therapy, self-help books, and good advice are just beyond my reach. Sometimes I am locked in a moment where showing gratitude feels like a boulder I just can’t lift. It’s so hard to pick yourself back up when all you want to do is close your eyes and find some quiet. Usually, I am the kind of person who thinks that change is always possible, that my pain is fleeting, that improvements can always be made. That it’s my duty to try and make the world a better place. My husband and I joke that we are constantly tweaking things searching for a better flow in our lives. We are always informing each other that we have made a new change for something in our home, moving a pot from its old drawer to a new one, trying to make new systems for managing the chaos of laundry, children, and our lives. We just keep trying. We each hold a sincere belief that with each new tweak it will improve things for us. It’s easily one of our best attributes as a couple, we are both persistently interested in bettering ourselves, our lives, and our community. We know that we have agency and influence in our world, so we try to use it for good. But it’s also a trap. A set up for disappointment. Call it attachment, call it the grass is always greener. Whatever you call it, the outcome is the same: You become swept away looking for something better, more, or just different. All this trying and lifting and doing can be a setup just weighing us further down. And then before you know it, you find yourself on the verge of tears, fleeing your life, huddled in a cold clump of leaves in the woods with no resolve or ounce of resilience to be found. And this is the morning I found the woodpecker, the morning I fled my house in exhaustion. Tired of feeling like I can’t catch up. On this day I was tired of enduring the grind of wanting more. So, I sought refuge in the bluff behind my house. I closed the door and walked away from my family and the stress, setting the intention to find a place to just be still in the woods, hoping it would offer me some peace. And this is the morning where things shifted for me, where the woodpecker came to me showing me how to be in between each tap of its beak. You, my persistent woodpecker friend, have come at just the right moment… Tap, tap, tap, the persistent woodpecker calling to me. I watch and I listen. It’s showing me how it’s done. To keep showing up in each moment. Tap, tap, tap, a genuine presence. Tap, tap, tap, just try again. Tap, tap, tap each moment born anew. What if I never get it right, never quite arrive, never work it out? But what if it’s actually just about showing up again and again, finding little treasures in the moment and continuing on? No past resentments, no future longings. Just a willingness to show up each day and try, and try, again and again and again. I watch and listen to the woodpecker. I watch and see that it doesn’t stop and wallow in disappointment when it works so hard without reward. It moves on persistently trying because it has to, because that’s what living is. Tap, tap, tap. It felt like the woodpecker was here to show me how to be. Reminding me that with each moment I feel amiss, that all I need to do is show up again to the next. That this grind is temporary, that I can feel it, notice it, and come to the next moment fresh and continue to try. I don’t need to endure the grind; I can use my influence and agency in this world and keep trying to find the nourishment I need to thrive. Each moment is a new beginning, a new chance to shape my world again. So, I took a breath and decided to do what I know helps me be present and whole—I created. I walked for a while and then hopped off the path… and that’s when all the magic began (and just for the record this is always where it happens, in that moment when we hop off the regular route and move to the land of curiosity.) I found something I had been longing to find all summer and fall. Wasp paper. A bird had found an old wasp nest and torn it apart. Tattered little bits of the former hive were strewn about. It felt like a gold mine. It was a piece of magic right in my hands. So, I breathed. I tinkered. I made a few installations with all of the wonders around me. I tried. I showed up in this little pocket in the woods. I let my thoughts and stress fall to the foreground, and I found my breath. I tried again looking for stillness. I let go of the desire to brood, to wallow, to hold onto the fretting that occupied my morning. I found my breath and I just tried to be in the woods with these treasures. I spent time with them, slowed down, and played with their arrangements taking a few photos. As I began to create with presence, I could feel a shift happening inside me. I was shaping the world around me, and as I did, I could feel my inner landscape being shaped to. I felt relief. I felt my fog lifting. I began to feel calm, but my gaze was already tempted to move to what was to come next. The temptation to be anywhere but now, is a constant lure. Then I reminded myself that today I showed up, in this moment here and now, I actually did it. I remind myself that it’s the act of showing up, not the outcome that’s most important. I release myself from future progress. Today I showed up in this pocket in the woods and made something. Tap, tap, tap because that’s what living is. About Rachel Rose Rachel is an expressive arts educator who teaches people how to use creativity for self-care, awareness, and wellness. Her training and research have focused on a variety of mediums including the visual arts, creative writing, storytelling, nature, and music all through a lens of mindfulness. In her own practice every creation begins through the exploration of an emotion and emerges as a symbolic story. Learn more about her supports at www.workshopmuse.com See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!