How’s your road through the rest of this week been? Straightforward? A few surprise curves or bumps? Our theme earlier this week was the idea of being “in the driver’s seat” in your life, and how ambitious people can often struggle with the idea that they may not be fully in control of the wheel. Even when events catch us off guard or throw us off our game, we still like to think we’re the ones calling the shots.
Letting go of that idea is super scary. BUT, it also – strangely – brings you closer to actual control.
What I mean by that is that it connect you to what you can actually control – yourself, and releases the notion that your actions will always, reliably, create certain specific reactions in the people and world around you. That, you can’t control.
Our “no-fail” mindfulness challenge for this weekend will offer the chance to practice establishing a frame of mind for accepting what you can control, and letting go of what you can’t. To get there, you first have to be open. Open to being with what’s there, without resistance, and releasing the need to change it to something else.
In other words, easy come, easy go.
To begin your practice:
- Settle in to a comfortable seat. You can sit on a chair, or the floor, or even a couch, but let yourself be connected with the ground if you can, even if it’s only the soles of your feet that rest there.
- Set a timer for somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. Maybe a minute longer than feels comfortable.
- Rest your palms on your lap, face up. Let them simply fall where they do, without any overthinking or extra effort.
- Find your breath. Just notice it at first, and allow it move at its normal rhythm and pace. Note any details you may feel about how and where you feel the breath as it moves in and out of your body.
- Allow your breath to deepen. As you inhale, try to extend the breath to fill your lungs a little more each time until you’ve reached capacity, and give each exhale the space to truly empty your lungs each time.
- Bring your attention to your palms. As they rest facing up, on your next inhale, imagine your the energy of your breath moving in not only through your nose and mouth, but also through your palms. You can imagine a line of light, or a certain color, if you like. Picture it traveling up your arms, along your shoulders, and into your chest, along with the rest of your breath. Allow it to travel up and down, as you breathe in and out.
- If your attention shifts, gently bring it back. Shift your focus back to allowing the energy to flow uninterrupted, aligned with your breath. Do that as often as you need to, until the timer rings.
- Gently release your intentional focus and let your breath return to its normal pace. Take your time slowly coming back, feeling your feet resting on the floor, connecting you into your physical space.
Allowing takes practice. Making space to be, notice, observe and listen instead of trying to “drive” takes effort – of a different kind than you’re used to, though. It’s the kind of effort that keeps you into the present, instead of pushing you into the future, and in turn, puts you squarely in control of the one thing you truly can control there.
Remember, it’s not the course of your life that you’re here to master – it’s yourself.
Photo credit: Nick Demou