Written by Jessica Foreman, PLMFT.
The daily grind can really stress me out. In previous stages of my life Sunday evening has been the worst part of the entire week. I have gone to bed dreading the impending rush of work and have slept poorly because my mind was busy problem solving. My soul has felt dry and my body has been exhausted. It reminds me of the parable of the sower. “Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them” Matthew 13:7 (ESV).
I feel like good soil but my life keeps getting choked by thorn bushes:
- Logistics: Getting my three kids where they need to be with what they need to have. Every. Single. Day.
- Communication mishaps: Why is it that sometimes my words don’t mean the same thing to my husband as they do to me?
- Health concerns: We all need checkups, have aging family members and sometimes we are all sick at the same time
- Career challenges: Extra busy at work means less energy for home.
I can spend every waking hour solving problems that have already occurred and rushing to outrun new ones. This often leads to the feeling that I am missing it; it makes everything seem pointless.
The good news is if you have this problem too we can stop being driven by task focused thinking and anchor ourselves to the present. This sounds very simple, but is not always easy in practice because fear of failure or disappointing someone is probably what has kept us on this track. Good earth that can “produce a harvest” requires some faith.
It takes faith to put all that worry aside and be still, to stop constantly scanning for upcoming problems. This type of practice will also allow feelings to come to the surface that we may have been avoiding, like sadness. I hate sadness, it is no fun at all! When I avoid this feeling it is usually because I’m afraid I will drown in it. Thankfully this assumption is typically wrong.
The practice below is focused on helping us regain our sense of what it feels like to let go. To turn our attention to the present moment. Being in the here and now has a calming effect on our brains and bodies. These five minutes we will take together help calm our threat systems that are working so hard. Lets give them a break.
For the next week I invite you to practice being still with me for five minutes every day:
- Go outside. Here is an article on the health benefits of being outside.
- Set your phone to do not disturb, start a timer for five minutes, put it away where you can’t see it.
- Choose an object to focus on. Maybe you’ll watch clouds floating by, a bird, the wind in the trees, a squirrel, or water. (If you absolutely can’t get outside you can watch clouds here. I like to watch it on half speed :))
- When your attention waivers, gently bring it back.
Notice how you feel and let me know how it goes! I’ll be practicing too.
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