How Full is Your Wagon?

Empty it for a Good Night's Sleep.
Empty it for a Good Night's Sleep.

Empty it for a Good Night’s Sleep.

A client mentioned how she woke at 2am and proceeded to take stock of all the details of the previous day, saying it helped her to make sure she took care of everything properly. I remembered the all-too familiar winding of the mind at all hours of the night.

I used to dread night-waking to pee because if I actually had to get up my mind would take over and all sorts of crap would start to flow during my time in the loo, none of which belonged there. A bit crude but accurate.

Mental diarrhea would take over my good night’s sleep and make it difficult to get back to dreamland. It’s easy to second-guess yourself in the quiet, dark hours of night.

It feels like years since my mind has kept me awake taking inventory of my day. No one particular thing eased me into dreamtime. Yoga, meditation, and practices like the one I share here, all played a part.

As my client talked about her busy mind, I shared how I used to drag my workouts or, more recently, my writing, through my day. I’d plan the session and show up for the workout or the writing but then rush off to pick up kids for lunch and continue to process my session in my head, not particularly present with the kids, lunch, or myself.

Maybe I should have done more reps. I don’t think my cardio was long enough. I could have pushed more weight. What if the flashback is better in the first chapter? I could have done a better job of describing that scene.

On and on I dragged these sessions through my day, revisiting what I’d already done.

As we talked about the behaviour pattern familiar to many female clients, friends, and myself, I saw in my mind a woman pulling a red wagon. She started with it empty and she looked fresh. Then as she went about her day she piled each activity into her wagon. The cargo grew and she tired under the weight she hauled along.

By bedtime the wagon overflowed. Her mind used nighttime to empty the wagon so she could fill it again the next day.

What helped me to stop dragging writing through my day was to take a conscious moment to consider myself complete with what I had just done. I sat down to write, I was present while I wrote, and I finished it for the day. I even had a ritual- symbolic of my completion with the task at hand- I wiped my hands like a Vegas blackjack dealer leaving the table.

Another technique I learned in yoga and use regularly is saying the word swaha to signify the end of one chant before moving onto the next. I have recited swaha - a sanskrit word used in this case to mean so be it - in my day when a particularly stubborn activity or thought hangs on. Firmly stating it aloud signals I am done with the task or thought. Occasionally I need to yell it repeatedly, drawing the belly and breath into it, to get my mind to let go.

What if we had a conscious completion to each part of our day, a personal acknowledgement that we did our best and that task is complete, at least for now? A conscious pause before moving onto the next item on our daily agenda. Mini-savasanas between practices.

I see the woman and her little red wagon. She places an item in her wagon and walks with it. When she gets to her next item she removes the first from her wagon, gives it a good once over and accepts it as complete. It is what it is for now. She sets it down and takes a deep cleansing breath. She places the next item in her wagon and carries on with it, removing it prior to her next stop.

She deals with one item at a time: meditation, breakfast, shopping, work, lunch, exercise, interviews, coffee, dinner, argument with partner or kids…that can tend to cause a mess in the wagon that may require more considerate clean up.

What unique way can you symbolize your completeness with each activity in your day?  A jig? A whoohoo! A pat on the back or hug? A deep breath and a moment of stillness? An affirmation or perhaps a round of self-applause? Maybe a big ol’ swaha!

Take a moment at the end of each day, maybe on your mat in yoga, on the floor in meditation, a walk in nature, at the table with a doodle pad, or in the tub with your favourite aromatherapy or salts. Check your wagon for any leftover cargo. Anything hanging on? If it’s not empty, take a moment to remove any items before slipping between the sheets.

Doodle your doubts, warrior I your worries, om your overactive mind…just for today you are complete. Just for today you let everything go. You’ll address tomorrow when it emerges and you’ll be restored and renewed from a good night’s sleep because you saved dreamtime for dreaming.


The 12 Days of Detox: Body, Mind, and Spirit. Recap.


If you missed the 12 days of detox and feel the need for post-holiday purification or simply wish to create a nourishing daily routine for the new year, here is a summary just for you. Start at 1 and add a step each day to gradually enjoy all 12 or choose several that appeal to you and build your own custom daily wellness ritual. Click on each day for the full detoxing details.

On the 1st day of detox, atONE gave to me…
It’s important to know where you are heading before you can get there. Meeting yourself face-to-face is an excellent and accessible method of detoxification. Find out how to begin the nourishing process of purification and discover the most vibrant you!
Every breath provides a channel for detoxification through the exhalation of waste and the inhalation of oxygen. Most of the day, however, our breath is shallow. As our shoulders slowly creep up to meet our ears throughout the stresses of our day, our breath also becomes more shallow and often quicker, limiting the supply of oxygen to our lungs and blood. Dedicating time each day to sit and breathe deeply or reminding yourself throughout your day to do so, infuses the body with fresh air and releases the stale air pooled deep in the lungs. Practice simple breathing techniques in 2 cleansing breaths.
Remove any mental ama with a daily mind detox. Committing to a daily morning practice sets the tone for your day, integrating dreamwork and clearing the mind for the day ahead. An evening practice surrenders thoughts, stress and worry of the day as you slip into deep relaxation before sleep. Learn a simple daily meditation practice in 3 meditations.
Food as medicine and medicine as food. That’s how ayurveda views eating. At least three times a day we have an opportunity to create vibrant health through our food choices. Foods that burn cleanly and completely, nourishing our bodies and assisting with the removal of ama, serve us well during detox. Simple whole food choices sustain us while cleaning out the pipes. Find out foods that support vibrant health and detox in 4 foods that heal.
5 Yoga Poses

Adding 30-60 minutes of yoga to your daily routine aids digestion, elimination and detoxification through postures, breath and sweat. Even 10 minutes of yoga every day allows you to feel the benefits of a regular practice. You may choose to seek out a convenient class near you, pick up a DVD to assist with a home practice, or simply enjoy a few poses each day. Committing to sun salutations every morning is a simple start. Practice before eating, particularly detoxing poses such as twists, forward bends and inversions, to aid in the process of cleansing. Discover daily detoxing poses in 5 yoga poses.
A little-known detox gem, Dr. F. Karach presented oil pulling in the early 90s. The practice dated back considerably further, however. In ayurveda it is called kavala graha, a medicine for the oral cavity, and has been used for centuries to detoxify the body and improve health. Learn a few ways to spice up your swishing in 6 spicy swishes.
Use self-massage in the morning before you shower to wake up the body and promote detoxification, or at night before bath to relieve stress and ama from your day, preparing you for a restful sleep. Discover ways to enjoy a daily massage in 7 layer massages.
Himalayan salt contains the same 84 essential minerals found in our bodies. It is praised for relieving a variety of conditions from acne to halitosis, eczema and psoriasis, and for drawing toxins from the body. The salts can be purchased in large crystals or more finely ground. Read the full post on 8 salt baths for natural additions to enhance your bath.
There are many herbal detox programs available. Purchasing a reputable herbal cleanse provides a prepared, easy to follow plan you can fit into your daily routine. If you choose to buy or follow an herbal program, do your research and make sure the product is top quality. Consult a herbalist or naturopath for professional recommendations. Read the full post of 9 cleansing herbs for some of the most popular herbal cleansing choices.
“Sweat and laugh every day,” said Yogi Bhajan, and turning up the music to groove and move with yourself, your kids, family, friends or a community is an invigorating and uplifting way to detox body, mind and spirit. A daily ritual of dance, whether 10 minutes in your living room or a 1 hour class at a local gym or dance studio, lubricates the joints, sheds excess baggage from the body and the mind, and lightens the spirit.
Empty that melon and make room for new thoughts while taking inventory of all the old ones running through your mind and all the old story running through your life. Your experiences to date, your ideas and stories laid out on a page, whether in prose, webs, design or image, allow you to review where you’ve been, gain new insight and acceptance, and even spark new inspiration.
You don’t need to be a yogi to use mantra and affirmation. Employ this powerful ancient tool to assist you in success with your commitments and all you wish to be and create in the new year. Choose or create your own affirmation.
Here’s to a clear, calm, simple and nourishing new year, naturally!
The information presented is intended to inform, not diagnose or treat health conditions.