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Meaningful Reflections with Chaplain Kim Crawford Meeks is a monthly column that provides words of encouragement for associates at USA Health.

Published Jul 19th, 2023

By Kim Crawford Meeks
Spiritual Care Manager

Vanda Scaravelli was a yoga instructor who began studying in the middle age of her life and is said to have devised a way of working that was harmonious with nature and was centered around rest, continual new discoveries, and clear uncluttered awareness. Scaravelli said, “The still waters of a lake reflect the beauty around it. When the mind is still, the beauty of the self is reflected.” Her daughter described her mother as “free within herself and her soul.”

To be free within ourselves and our souls is a beautiful concept. Are we taking the time for our minds to be still? Are we ever allowing the beauty of self to be reflected to us? Are we mindful of our needs for self-care, or are our minds too full? With busy schedules and responsibilities, we often have very full minds. 

Having a life of activities, goals, hobbies, work, and play is wonderful and not a bad thing, but it can lead to being overwhelmed or even exhausted. Some personalities thrive best with a very full schedule and having many plates spinning at once. Busy people are often able to accomplish a lot but can suffer burnout if not being mindful of their physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. It is within the healthy balance of activity and quiet that we can renew, refresh, and continue to move forward. 

Just as we schedule meetings and appointments, scheduling mindful moments is also vital. A mindful moment is a time where you are not on your phone, watching television or talking to anyone, and you are without interruption.

Mindfulness is a time to relax, and it is an opportunity to listen to your own breaths, feel the air on your skin, notice any tension in your body, and allow your body to release that tension. It is stepping outside of the chaos of the busyness and being still, being quiet and reflecting your own beauty. Mindfulness is a gift to self in the best way as we allow ourselves to inhale peace, exhale stress and move forward in hope. 

A wonderful mindfulness exercise is the 5 Senses Technique.

You may begin by literally looking around where you are and applying the actual space you are in, or you may close your eyes and apply a place in your mind as you practice the technique: 

  • 5 things you see 
  • 4 things you feel 
  • 3 things you hear 
  • 2 things you smell 
  • 1 thing you taste 

Another mindfulness technique is the Breathing Balloon.

Hold your hands in front of you and pretend you are holding a ball or balloon. As you inhale slowly, allow the “balloon” to inflate. When you exhale, allow the balloon to deflate. You can imagine that you are inhaling peace and exhaling stress, or inhaling joy and exhaling negativity.  

Deep breathing techniques relax the mind and body, oxygenate the organs, and cause those good-feeling endorphins to fire. As an instructor of Laughter Yoga, I have numerous breathing techniques, mindfulness exercises and stress reduction tips. Feel free to contact me to schedule an individual or group session. These sessions may be in-person or virtual.    

Love starts with you and me,

Chaplain Kim Crawford Meeks

Please also visit the USA Spiritual Care Page for other stress reduction exercises and resources.

Read more about the life and work of Vanda Scaravelli.

Patients, family members and USA Health associates are encouraged to call the Meaningful Reflections Line at 251-445-9016 for a daily recorded word of encouragement.

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