Three years ago, aromatherapist, meditation teacher, and yoga teacher Jenn Tardif shared all things well-being on her top shelf. And she’s been busy ever since! Tardif started a brand, became a mom, started advising and produced a podcast (which you can listen to here). There is a lot to consider, especially for someone whose mantra is, “If you move half as fast, you notice twice as much.” At the beginning of a new year, ITG reached out to Tardif for advice on how to make the most of new opportunities. Your first tip? Throw out the resolutions. Read on for the rest.
“I’ve never been interested in the saying,“ New Year, New Me ”because, unlike a snake that sheds its skin in one piece, people are constantly evolving, step by step. A New Year’s resolution is quantitative, action-oriented, and tangible. However, this isn’t the year to weigh yourself down with resolutions. Instead of following the pressures that come with goal setting, we can practice small daily rituals that help promote resilience. And it is actually easier to make lasting changes when we adopt mindfulness as a way of life. If you are new to this mindset, here are some things to consider: How would you like to present yourself to loved ones, colleagues, and yourself today? There are many proven techniques that you can use to be more targeted in your daily life.
Filling simple actions with meaning
I am often asked to explain the difference between routine and ritual, and intent is high on the list of necessary ingredients for the latter. As you approach something as simple as making tea in the morning with awe, you embody the idea that the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. A seemingly mundane act can turn into ceremonial, setting the stage for your time and attention for the rest of the day. In the words of the French philosopher Muriel Barbery: “When tea becomes a ritual, it takes place at the center of our ability to see greatness in small things.”
Practice inhaling the palms of your hands
Our sense of smell has a direct route to the limbic system, the part of the brain that regulates emotions, memories and moods. This makes aromatherapy a powerful tool for setting intentions with just a few deep breaths. [Ed note: ever hear the advice to sniff something while studying and then again during a test for a better performance? This is kind of like that.] When inhaling from the palms of the hands, an aromatherapy mixture is inhaled from the palms of the hands. Apply something herbal if you need a bump or earthiness for a grounded feel in the palm of your hand (3rd ritual offers options if you’re at a loss), then rub them together so your skin’s natural oils activate the scent. Then place your palms in front of your face a few inches, take a deep breath, and then remove your hands to breathe out freely. Repeat this process as desired, reciting an intention as you go. My long-standing mantra when I’m feeling stressed is to say silently, “Leave” while I breathe in and “Go” when I breathe out – the more economical you can be with your words, the better because simple sentences are easier to repeat and it’s time to maintain.
Create a container for concentration
The idea of sitting for meditation can be daunting, but giving yourself focus is a beautiful bait and switch to get started. In yogic and Buddhist philosophies, meditation can be achieved through a ritual of one-sided concentration called the trataka. To do this, fix your gaze on a point on the wall or on the flickering flame of a candle – while the mind concentrates on its focal point, the space between the thoughts expands and creates space for presence and peace. I’m obviously biased, but 3rd Ritual’s Bel Candle was born out of a desire to help us unleash our phones while practicing this exact technique. The Bel measures time with fire, gravity and sound. You put a needle into the candle in the minute of your choice, and when the wax melts the needle drops, creating a resonant ring.
What if the secret to having it all is realizing that you are already doing it? One of my teachers used to say that without gratitude one cannot find grace. Taking a break to say thank you for all you have, even for the intangible, ubiquitous privileges of your body and breath, is an effective way to harness an abundance mindset. To stay consistent, try adding this practice to a specific time of the day, such as dinner. If you live with someone else, you can also turn gratitude into an exchange.
Write it out
My husband likes to joke that there is a lightbulb in my pillow because I remember 10 things to put on my to-do list the moment I lie down. My favorite way to calm my mind is through journaling. It feels like I’m cleaning the cobwebs of my thinking mind, and it often turns out to be surprisingly insightful. Most nights I just write everything that swirls in my brain on the page in a non-linear stream of consciousness. But when I’m feeling stuck, prompts are incredibly helpful. “
– as ITG said
Photo via ITG