Mindful Moments

Mindful Moments

A MINDFUL MOMENT

Let’s start with an inquiry.  Find a comfortable seat.  Close your eyes; Breathe deeply into your belly and let it rise on the inhale.  Exhale, empty your belly.  Inhale to the count of 4.  Exhale to the count of 4.  Continue this for a couple minutes and center yourself in the present.  Pay attention to your belly rising and falling with each breath.  Let your thoughts float away, allow your mind to be clear and free.  Your body relaxing deeply with each exhale.  Let your emotions settle to a place of cool observation.  Just watch the breath.  I am breathing. Here. Now. I am breathing. 

 

Journey into your present life.  Take a meander through your home.  Imagine you a polaroid camera and as you journey through life you are going to take some snapshots. Meander slowly. Collect as many pictures as you need.  Nothing fancy, just a quick snap to reflect on later.  Look into your bedroom, your living room, your kitchen, your kid’s rooms, your basement or attic, and just observe without evaluation what your see.  See as much as you can.  Notice, observe, move on.  Stroll through your backyard, basement, and make your way to your place of work looking around.  Notice everything you can.  Step back and look at your home from a distance.  Notice.  Notice your neighborhood. Your community.  Pay attention to the details and continue to observe.  Notice the people in your home.  What are they doing? How do they feel?  Flip through your calendar and your phone book and notice how you spend your time.  Notice who is in your life.  Notice who is missing. Return to the places in your life that need a little attention.  Take your time.  Take a stroll through your life? Where do you spend your time ? Observe yourself outside of work in chores, leisure, play, vacation? Where does your heart sing? Breathe it in.  Where does your heart sink? Take notice.

 

Now find a park or a beach and sit.  Layout all of the snapshots of your current life.  Everything you just saw.  Take your time.  Take notice.  As you layout the images allow your evaluations and thoughts and judgements to stream.  I like this, I love this, I really am disappointment about this, let the feelings flow.   Take a good long look at your current life and notice.  Notice how you feel, what you think, how your body reacts.

 

Begin to ask yourself.  How do I feel about my life?  See the beauty.  What is wonderful and beautiful?  See it, feel it, breathe it in. Make a special not of what is sacred, what you are grateful for.

 

Now ask yourself what needs your attention.  Notice the neglected corners.  Notice the long list of things to do.  Notice the images that make your cringe a little or react a lot. Allow the truly important areas to be lit up.  See the flashing lights.  Ding, ding, ding over here.  Notice what really needs your attention that is deeply important and meaningful.  In your heart of hearts what have you been ignoring or putting off.  Allow that to come crashing into your mind. Notice what you do not want to notice.   Open to it.  Sit with it.  Listen to it.

 

What’s missing from the pictures?  What images would you like to see?  Allow them to emerge?  Now take pen to paper and write until you have nothing left to say. Allow yourself at least three minutes.

 

When you are done, take a few moments and journal on these questions:

What is the best part of my life presently?

What am I grateful for?

What are the best parts of my life?

What parts of my life are burdensome or challenging?

What do I need to change or address?

What parts of my life do I truly dislike?

What are the worst parts of my life?

And how important is it to me to change this?

Releasing Trauma

The process of psychotherapy is to make the unconscious conscious so that we can free ourselves from these old beliefs.  We tend to live as much of our lives in the past as much as we do in the future both consciously and unconsciously.  Sometimes it’s more obvious than other times.  We react to our current situation based on our physiology as well as every moment in time that has ever happened to us.

 

Every failure, every success accumulates on our internal scoreboard.  Underneath the conscious knowledge, is the unconscious belief.  After 25 years of asking a lot of questions it is very clear to me that the most common underlying belief is “I am not worthy”.  This is not to say we feel unworthy all the time, or for that matter that we are even aware of it.  It means that if you dissect a painful memory, more often than not the negative self-belief people hold is “I am unworthy”. 

 

When I treat trauma, I asked my clients to picture an image that represents the worst of a traumatic experience and then identify the negative irrational belief about themselves that they are still holding on to.  Common beliefs include “I am unsafe”, “I am unlovable” and “I am not good enough” with “I am unworthy” taking the top seed. 

 

How does this translate into our lives?  At a deep level, our unconscious mind is walking around sabotaging and creating our reality.  If we believe we are unworthy, we will repeatedly create situations where we fail or are rejected. Freud called this repetition compulsion. I would argue that it is a form of Karma. This of course creates a multitude of pain for us as we tend to repeat old patterns over and over again in an effort to work them out.

 

Unfortunately, talk therapy can fall short of the” freedom” part as the old beliefs are deeply rooted in the mind-body and they are hard to release.  If we don’t entirely desensitize the old memory, over time, it will start to fester again.

 

There are many effective mind-body techniques that are effective for digging out the root of trauma and releasing it. I treat trauma using a technique called EMDR-Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing.  If you are stuck in old patterns or can’t get over old issues, I highly recommend it.

 

Dr. Amy Rein