Resting When You Don’t Have The Time
Sep 01, 2014 04:27AM
● By Carol Lessinger
As a caregiver, there is always something needing your attention. The details of daily needs, arranging appointments, organizing medications, scheduling other caregivers, worrying about what unforeseen issue is next all battle for your attention while you are trying to fit in your own work and personal life. Each of these activities involves focus that is pulled outward, away from yourself. Do you take the time to turn your attention inward? And, if you do, is it in a way that is helpful or does it simply provide more anxiety?
Being aware of your body to turn your attention inward is one way of being present. It is a learnable skill. Russell Delman (RussellDelman.com), originator of The Embodied Life School, talks about changing the noun, “presence,” to the verb, “presencing.” It then becomes an action which embraces the commitment to return to the here and now, when our mind has wandered elsewhere. Leaving self-judgment out of the picture, it means that we take responsibility for how we move our attention. Often, it is accompanied by the feeling of gratitude. Presencing is the return to presence.
If you are a meditator, presencing is helpful to include in your meditation practice. However, you don’t need to be a meditator to add presencing in your life. Following is a helpful way to come into presencing. It is suggested that you practice each paragraph’s movement of attention individually as you read along.
If you’re sitting, please feel your bottom on the seat, notice some of the details. How much weight is resting on each sit-bone? As you begin to notice, things may change just because your awareness in the area offers more choice than the habitual pattern. If you are in a different position, notice the places where you receive support under you.
Now add awareness of your breath to the awareness of the feeling of support. When you notice that your mind has wandered, compassionately return your attention to your bottom and breath.
The third step is to add awareness of the sounds you hear. This brings you into relationship to the context around you. Repeat the first three steps…bottom, breath, sound...bottom, breath, sound.
Now notice the effect of what you have just done. What has happened to your state of consciousness, to your breath and to feelings in your body?
The more you practice, the easier it gets. You can then bring presencing into many moments during your day, such as while waiting at a red light or standing in line at the store; stop, feel your feet (they are your new bottom), notice your breath and listen. You are listening to the precious moment that is the only moment you have right now. In truth, our whole life is made up of moments. Presencing while you are with the person who you are caring for – child, adult, animal - enriches the experience of your relationship with that other being and can make it easier to be there when the situation becomes difficult.
After practicing this type of inward attention, people have often reported a feeling of restfulness and calmness. Without the time for a nap, you can bring yourself into equanimity. It is a happy side effect of presencing. As many of us already know, feeling rested offers you the possibility for better health, resiliency, and a greater capacity to be helpful to others. Freedom from mind drain is restful. Presencing costs nothing and is always available when you tune into the moment.
Carol Lessinger is a certified Feldenkrais practitioner, cortical field re-education trainer, and a student of Russell Delman. Lessinger and Anna Johnson-Chase will be teaching a Feldenkrais workshop in Kent on September 13 and 14. For more information and to register, visit CarolLessinger.com. See ad, page 19.