by Beth Lowell
“You Should Have Just Said Something!”
How many times have you heard that? Maybe you were really stressed after over-extending yourself but still honored your commitment. Or you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Or you didn’t want to fail at any cost.
An imaginary standard of perfection seems to take over sometimes which defies all reason, creating a rigidity that upon later reflection borders on the absurd. In hindsight, we can laugh at the situation, learn from it, or kick ourselves for being so pig-headedly stupid.
“Why didn’t I say something?”
How many times have you said or thought these words? Maybe your words could have helped or encouraged someone, or in your mind prevented some terrible tragedy. Sometimes you think you have all the time in the world, and suddenly the person you wanted to thank, or express sympathy to, or tell them that you miss them is gone. So now it’s too late. And then comes the regret and the guilt.
Do you hear the bell of self-compassion ringing? Your intentions were probably good even if misguided, or thwarted by circumstance. Give yourself a break. And then take action.
One way to do this is to put your feelings in writing. Journaling daily works wonders to set your intentions and goals, clear your thoughts and clarify your emotions in a way that’s personal and for your eyes only. Looking back on your journal in a year’s time after diligent writing is a concrete way to see how much you’ve progressed in all areas of life. In this way, it’s a way to use writing to heal.
Writing things down gets them out of your head and off your chest. That’s why productivity experts recommend writing your to-do list for the following day before you go to bed so your mind can be free of anxiety and you can sleep soundly.
Another way to free yourself of nagging thoughts or doubts is through letter writing.
- Write a letter to your former self showering yourself with all the love and understanding you deserve.
- Write a letter, as recommended by Julia Cameron in her groundbreaking work The Artist’s Way, The Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, to someone who was a naysayer along your personal path. This can include family and teachers, friends and mentors, anyone who discouraged your dreams, or someone who has upset or angered you. Mail this not to the person or people, but to yourself. The act of writing it will get those unresolved feelings off your chest. You can save it for the future and open it on a rainy day.
Writing such letters:
- Eliminates fear of expressing yourself or repercussions
- Helps you heal through releasing anger
- Is an act of compassion for others who would love nothing more than to hear from you as well as an act of self-compassion, validating your deepest thoughts and feelings
- Keeps you honest
- Allows you to experience humility with grace and grasp the true nature of how little we are in control of
Sound familiar? If you’ve studied Reiki, this may sound similar to the Reiki precepts. Yeah, funny how those precepts work!
If it’s not too late, (it’s never too late in my book) write a letter to a loved one. Why not email? People read email these days just about as much as they answer the home phone. In an age where texts and tweets serve as primary forms of communication, a hand-written letter stands head and shoulders above and is a beautiful gift to both yourself (because the act of writing forces you to slow down and breathe) and to the recipient, whose mailbox is likely to be filled with little other than circulars, bills and junk mail aside from birthday or holiday cards whose popularity has waned with the onset of electronic communication.
If the person you wish to address is no longer living or has disappeared from your radar and can’t be located you have yet another option.
Join the What I Never Told You (Winty for short) project to give you the chance to write to a person who may never be able to receive your note. It’s about healing and sometimes letting go.
The end result of this collaborative project is the creation and exhibition of a beautiful mosaic-like paper quilt created from the shreds of letters from all over the world, which can travel and grow over time and which will carry forth all of the good intentions of the writers.
Participating is easy. Write your letter and mail it to Winty’s PO Box. If you wish to be mentioned in the catalogue that will accompany this exhibition, simply include your return address on the envelope.
You may type the letter if you prefer–no email is accepted for this project. Your letters will not be read, but shredded and combined with all of the other letters received (with all of their different colored paper and envelopes, handwriting styles and beautiful stamps) into a very large paper quilt.
You can follow the project’s blog or sign up for the newsletter to keep up with the progress of the project. If you include your mailing address I’ll send you a handwritten thank you on a postcard, and include an affirmation created just for you.
Writing letters is different than having a conversation. Writing allows you the time to have your say uninterrupted, and it allows you to cross out, edit, trash and start again all over. It’s a way of communication that lets you gather your thoughts and allow the other person to savor them. Writing to heal can become both a meditative and respectful process.
The project assumes that whoever and wherever the recipients of these letters are on their path of existence, living or dead, that they will energetically receive and appreciate the messages and that their authors will be a little lighter of heart and spirit for having participated.
Write your letter
Mail it to WINTY PO Box 281, Morristown NJ 07963
Follow the Blog at www.nevertoldu.com or sign up for the newsletter
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Beth Lowell is an artist and Reiki practitioner with a specialization in pets located in Morristown, NJ
It’s that time of year, and I wanted to compile a heart-centered list of health and wellness gifts for the season. I’ve seen other wellness gift guides, but they seem mostly centered around fitness, so I’m taking it in a different direction.
From reflexology tools, books on spirituality and health, to Tarot and oracle cards, to essential oils and sprays, these are some of my personal favorites that help me find health and balance and connect to my intuition. I hope you find them helpful (and fun) and perfect for someone on your list (or perhaps something for yourself!).
Giving and receiving can be a beautiful cycle, and here’s to opening up to this, and savoring time with loved ones during the holiday season.
Hope you enjoy!
Here are the categories I cover for the best gifts for stress relief and relaxation:
For Reflection: Journals & E-Courses
For the Mind: Must-Read Books & Hypnosis Tools
For Intuition: Tarot & Oracle Cards
For the Nose: Essential Oils & Sprays
For the Taste: Teas & Spices
For the Feet & Body: Reflexology Tools
For Ease of Use: Gift Certificates
For Reflection: Journals, E-Courses, & Games
Using the principles of positive psychology, this journal helps you cultivate gratitude, promote inner growth and self reflection, and overcome negative thought patterns in 5 minutes a day—sounds like one of the top gifts for stress relief, right? I’ve been using it every day for over a year and noticed a huge difference in my mindset.
Here’s more about my personal experience using it.
Susannah Conway offers a range of beautiful e-courses to help you connect to your intuition. (I’ve taken all of them, I think.) This course teaches you to tune into your own creativity and intuition using Tarot and oracle cards (see below for deck recommendations). Her free Love Letters (her e-newsletter) are wonderful, too!
This is a great game to bring families together (they’re in the midst of a kickstarter campaign). Research shows that family conversations are good for the spirit, brain and health. Developed by one of my lovely clients!
For the Mind: Must-Read Books & Hypnosis Tools
May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness
Gabby Bernstein offers a straight-forward plan to release fear and allow gratitude, forgiveness, and love to flow through you. The book makes change manageable, giving bite-sized exercises to do each morning and evening. I loved how the daily exercises built on each other over the course of 40 days, making transformation sustainable (and enjoyable!).
The Tapping Solution
This book by Nick Ortner provides a great foundation about how EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, otherwise known as tapping) works, as well as chapters that cover how to use it to alleviate pain/illness, lose weight, create healthy relationships, make money, and eliminate phobias. It’s one of the most powerful tools I use with clients and among my favorite gifts for stress relief.
Gorilla Thumps and Bear Hugs
This a cute EFT book for kids. Kids are people, too, and I love that they can learn at an early age how to manage stress and worry.
Greens Glorious Greens
Looking for gifts for healthy eaters? I love this cookbook with more than 140 delicious recipes for beautiful, leafy greens. It gives me creative (yet easy) ways to incorporate more veggies into my meals. Yum.
The Book of Awakening
I recently started reading this beautiful book. Mark Nepo wrote the book in response to his journey through cancer, and it led him to create a day book not only for people going through life-threatening situations but for everyone. I highly recommend this daily companion to read throughout the year.
The Artist’s Way
In sessions, I will often recommend writing a letter, journaling, or finding other ways to tap into your creativity through the written word. Julia Cameron’s classic book, The Artist’s Way, continues to stand the test of time. The book’s premise is that creative expression is vital no matter your profession. She guides you through a twelve-week program to recover your creativity from various blocks such as limiting beliefs, self sabotage, guilt, fear, and addiction.
Rise Sister Rise
A few of my Reiki III students recommended Rise Sister Rise to me and I highly recommend it to you. Rebecca Campbell offers tools, rituals, and questions to consider to help you access your own feminine wisdom, intuition, and power. (No matter our gender, we each have a masculine and feminine side so this isn’t just for women).
So many people I know are making big career changes. Looking for gifts for new business owners or know someone in your life who wants to become a wellness practitioner of any flavor (Reiki, reflexology, massage, acupuncture, hypnotist, or life coach, etc.)?
I wrote Building a Powerful Practice: Successful Strategies for Your Wellness Business to help practitioners find clients in person and online, market to their ideal client base (even for those practitioners that think they don’t like marketing), put together creative packages and promotions, and avoid burn out.
Uncommon Knowledge offers an extended list of hypnosis downloads for a range of issues (some of their most popular help with exercise motivation, procrastination, self esteem, focus and concentration, weight loss, insomnia, and even drinking less wine!). I like their recordings and approach a lot (and even bought one for my Dad for Father’s Day to help improve his golf game–after all, most professional athletes use some form of hypnosis for peak performance).
While recordings aren’t able to be as personalized as one-on-one hypnosis sessions, it can be helpful between sessions or to try hypnosis out and see if it’s something you can benefit from. These recordings are fabulous gifts for relaxation.
For the Nose: Essential Oils and Sprays
Wyndmere Essential Oils
Wyndmere oils are high quality yet affordable, and I’ve been using them for years. The sense of smell is one of the oldest parts of the brain and therefore one of the fastest ways you can change your state of mind.
Some of my favorite blends include Serenity, Anxiety Relief, and Stress Relief.
I also love the Neroli hydrosol (orange blossoms!), as well as the Rose Garden and other roll-ons.
(Whole Foods and some health food stores carry Wyndmere as well.)
This brand includes a combination of essential oils and flower and gem essences. They are more delicately scented than regular essential oils. The sacred space gift sets are lovely and Calling All Angels Spray is my absolute favorite (everyone I’ve given it to loves it!) The Combination Formula Kit also offers a wonderful range if you really want to dive in.
I recently tried acupuncturist and health coach Andrea Henkel’s custom blends. They are high quality, beautifully crafted, and smell wonderful. I especially love her Grounding Cedar roll on, and her various sprays are also a nice way to shift your energy quickly.
I visited Alaska with my family last year and bought a bottle of Alpenglow body lotion. I loved it so much I continue to order it online. Their products are super moisturizing, organic, and handmade from scratch (and include Alaskan snow as an ingredient). I plan to try it with my reflexology clients.
For the Taste: Teas & Spices
Rose Tulsi Tea is part of my morning routine. Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, has stress relieving properties. There are many delicious flavors to choose from, but my inner-grandma adores anything rose.
Genmaicha Green Tea with toasted brown rice is my go-to afternoon tea at the office. It’s much more subtle than most green teas. Again, Choice Organic Teas has many delightful flavors and a wide variety of teas to choose from.
(You can also find both brands of tea at Whole Foods and health food stores. Perfect gifts for tea drinkers as these flavors are distinctive and go beyond the everyday black tea.)
This company sells fresh cinnamon you can grate yourself. I use cinnamon every day (delicious and super healthy). This one is on my Christmas list—Mom, are you reading this?
For Intuition: Tarot & Oracle Cards
Quan Yin Oracle Deck
This deck speaks to me every time I use it—full of gorgeous images, as well as powerful messages in the accompanying book by Alana Fairchild.
Vintage Wisdom Oracle Cards
This deck is a recent acquisition and includes beautiful old-fashioned montages artfully crafted from French vintage postcards and sepia family photographs. So pretty and nostalgic!
The Fountain Tarot
I love this modern adaptation of the Tarot—clean and sleek. And the accompanying booklet breaks down the meanings in a way that deeply resonates with me. I even used it with my mother-in-law—isn’t she the coolest?
The Devas of Creation
This deck illustrates the concept of the invisible energy patterns in the universe—wow, right? These cards are magical and can be used in many ways—for journaling, meditation, or daily guidance.
These decks are all powerful gifts for relaxation and self-reflection.
For the Feet & Body: Reflexology & Other Tools
My list of health and wellness gifts would not be complete without my top picks for reflexology tools.
Wooden Foot Roller
The tried and true wooden foot roller: simple, inexpensive, and effective.
The Stick Foot Wheel Massager
Quite a name, eh? Karen Ball, a wonderful reflexology teacher, found this reflexology tool (if you know me, you know I’m ALWAYS looking for new gadgets to try and my feet are pretty happy about this). I’m putting this one on my Christmas list.
Magic Weighted Blanket
I finally bought this weighted blanket and find it incredibly restorative for my nervous system. I sleep more deeply and find it incredibly calming. I’ve recommended it to clients, too.
For Ease of Use: Gift Certificates
No health and wellness gifts guide would be complete without including gift certificates for a healing session.
I’ve had clients request gift certificates from their loved ones for both sessions and Reiki classes—what a great idea (yes, I’m biased!) Of course, they also purchase certificates to give to others.
Give gifts for relaxation and stress relief with a Reiki, Reflexology, and/or Hypnosis session gift certificate.
- $175 for an hour session
- $265 for a 90-minute session
- $350 for a 2-hour session
You’ll receive an emailable Gift Certificate that you can forward to the recipient. If you prefer, I can mail you a hard copy gift certificate card with matching envelope, just give me your address or the address of the person you’d like me to send it to.
Less stress for you in terms of shopping, and you’re helping by giving gifts for stress relief for your loved ones.
Whew! Quite a range of health and wellness gifts, eh? I hope this helps you find something special and heart-centered for your loved ones.