As we slide from spring to summer in this scary season of uncertainty, I find myself thinking a lot about Horticultural Time. As a society, we are very used to living by Clock Time: the agreed upon measurements that break up our days, our weeks, our months.
We know this is our third month of social isolation, we know we have to be at that Zoom meeting at 3pm, that on Monday it will be June, and that if we stay up past a certain hour it’ll make tomorrow morning tough. These are all important things to know. These are facts based on Clock Time.
I always say “Come to couples’ therapy when there is something to work on. It is an easier road than when you wait until you are injured and broken and looking for salvation and healing.” One of the gratifying aspects of being a couples and sex therapist is when a couple decides to come see me when they are building their future rather than when they come to me in distress. Premarital therapy is one of those opportunities where both partners are looking to learn more, grow together and find some open curiosity. However, this can also be a time of great stress and challenging relationships.
The simple truth is that we aren’t designed to be glued to a computer screen or in an office all day. Our brains have evolved to thrive in sunlight, in lush green surroundings, and by the water. Since I think we’ve seen the last of snow in Boston (fingers crossed), it’s time to jumpstart our cognitive batteries and kickoff this spring with a plan to leverage our local resources.
Yesterday I put my own advice into action. I invited a colleague to join me to walk the labyrinth. Really, this is something I should be doing more of as it is an amazing path to mindfulness. When I work folks, we often include some form of meditation, mindfulness or centering to help manage anxiety, fear, stress, discord and just general feeling blah. There are many people who love meditation and find it to be an important part of their mental health. There are just as many who, try as they might, can seem to quiet their minds and bodies to be still. I am one of the latter. Quiet still meditation is hard for me – I can do it from time to time but it seems to take a great effort to get there. I do it whenever I can. However, when time is precious or being still just seems in possible, I try a moving meditation – like walking a labyrinth.
We have all had days when we are just not focused on the tasks at hand, when something else seems overwhelmingly “stuck” in our minds and prevents us from focusing on the present. Have you ever experienced this? Some have described the feeling as akin to an enveloping fog. There may be obligations and deadlines whirring around, yet they seem distant and unable to penetrate the stupor that encircles you.
You have made your list but halfway through it you realize it is too much. Your brain starts to be filled with counter thoughts, excuses why it is hard to do this or what is going to make it hard, or worse, you cannot decide where to start. OH NO!!! This starts the negative thinking; the self-deprecating statements; hours on end of wondering why you cannot do something this simple; your chest feels tight or your body feels burdened. So much for spring!!!