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.
Sometimes we make mistakes and we ruminate: why did I do this, why didn’t I do this, what can I do next time, what I wish I did, and the criticism continues. Guess what, it didn’t get better and chances are you, at least I did, continued to make that same mistake.
We all go through changes as we move through life. Some of these are minor and not that impacting. For instance, you might gradually stop frequenting places you used to visit or lose touch with casual friends. Other changes are major, such as graduating from college, changing jobs, or beginning and ending serious relationships. Some other changes, however, are not only major in terms of outward effects, but also in terms of how they affect our world view and sense of ourselves. Have you ever experienced a profound change such as this, one that rocks you to the core and causes you to question core beliefs that once seemed certain to 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!!!
Building a house, changing a career, making a plan – all of these require a certain focus and approach in order to be successful. It is also critical to remember that these shifts and changes don’t happen in moment nor do they rely on just one factor. It is often most challenging to make real lasting change when there isn’t a plan and strategy to support the growth. So many people will attempt change and then give up when the results are not immediately gratifying.
I have had patient after patient come into my office talking about what a harsh and relentless winter this has been. I can’t agree more! It is always interesting to see how people talk about the weather. There are two classic perspectives that get presented: How cold it is on the thermometer and how much energy is being used by the thermostat. What an interesting way to understand ourselves as well!