I decided to do a little experiment the other night while I was working on setting up the Facebook page for this site. I recorded myself as I went through some very basic mindful steps to meet and bring some kindness to the unpleasant sensation that had been gnawing at the edges of my concentration. I noticed that I was batting away the thought that I had promised myself a relaxing evening but was also feeling driven to get some work done and that a feeling of resistance was building in my body… resulting in an upset tummy!
I hope it might be of some use. Often we read steps for mindful practice but might wonder how they would actually work in the midst of a messy or strong emotion. This is an example of quite a brief process of coming home to my body and getting in touch with self-compassion. There are times that call for a deeper practice, but in everyday life this set of steps, repeated often, will help to rewrite self-defeating habits with more resilient, kind and caring ones that give us a solid foundation for dealing with life’s difficulties. The steps I took:
- Stopping what I was doing with the intention of bringing some curiosity and kindness to seeing what was happening for me
- Placing my hands on my body with kindness
- Following my breath as a bridge to the sensations presenting themselves in my body at that moment
- Bringing my awareness to the sensations, taking appropriate action to honour what I saw needed my help (eg. I stood up to relieve my tummy)
- In the silence that following my breath in and out gave me, I could notice the thoughts and as with the sensations/emotions, simply acknowledge and allow them
- Recognising the turmoil I smiled and felt kindly towards myself, knowing that I had been acting out of habit.
I’m happy to report that I left the work down then and there and got an early night!
This is just one example, I would love to hear your observations or questions on it in the comments below or on the Facebook page. I realise also that there is a whole lot of fascinating stuff to share about what ‘taking a few breaths’ means and that can be the subject of its own post.