In the Meantime: Mundane Times


An example of In the meantimes embedded in the mundane times throughout the day is this. You have a date that evening you are looking forward to, and 3 or 4 hours until it is even time to get ready for your date. What do you do with yourself? Can you focus enough to get some things done that need to get done such as grocery shopping, house cleaning, and planning and organizing for work? If you can't, can you take a long walk or go for a workout to focus your mind on something else? And if you can't, what do you do? Can you make this time a meaningful time or not…..just a wishing time would move fast kind of time?

This is another opportunity to learn how to just be or be with yourself. Imagine if in this type of instance you could feel fitful and restless, and yet still find a way to be with your mind and pay attention to where your mind goes and what you are thinking about as well as how you are thinking about the impending date. The person you are dating is relatively new to you and you are excited about him/her. Can you stay in the present and feel the excitement and anticipation as you go about your day? Do you find your mind wandering and going into the future to how it would be to be married with this person and how your name would sound, if you are a woman? Along those lines, if you have children, imagining how he or she would be with your children? Do you find yourself feeling anxious because you carry scars from previous relationships, including the first primary one if your life, the one with your parents?

This period of in the meantime could be a fantastic time to notice where your thoughts go and to be with them without judgement or shame. It is too common for us to experience feelings from early woundings of not being good enough, of feeling stupid, of feeling the need to be a shape shifter and go along with another to please them because maybe we are afraid of being alone and being hurt; afraid there is something wrong with us in some fundamental way. Maybe we haven't learned yet that what good is it for us to please another if we lose ourselves in the process?  As we notice these thought patterns and feelings making their appearance it is a great time to welcome them in instead of shooing them away. Usually as people we tend to shoo away thoughts and feelings we don't like rather than to welcome them in to learn more about them and to learn from them.

We could notice our thoughts, welcome them, and hold all the thoughts we are having regarding our new relationship at the same time. We don't have to let only one thought in; the one we like, for example, or the one we are most afraid of. Instead, we could notice and hold all of them, because at that moment of time, all are true for us. I find that when we can do that, hold all our thoughts that are circling our mind and body, and bring them close to us, slowly something new can emerge. As we bring our thoughts closer together so all of them recognize each other, something new has an opportunity to begin to show itself. Maybe the most fearful one begins to ease and the thoughts regarding the possibilities comes more to the surface. As we breathe into these thoughts and feelings they begin to find a new place within us and something changes, sometimes ever so slowly, and sometimes more quickly.

Here we have used the meantime as a way to get to know us better and we have more of our resources with us as we go into our date. It is like having a date with ourselves because we have a date with another. 


Exercise:
This exercise is one I use with myself and with my patients quite frequently. Take a moment and find a place where you won't be interrupted. Sit down and place your feet in front of you on the ground where you can feel the strength of the ground beneath you. Begin to breathe slowly and deeply. As you breathe, imagine yourself breathing into your center, wherever your center is within your body and self. Feel the air ebbing and flowing inside of you. Go to a place inside of you that might be asking for your attention. It could be feeling restless or uncomfortable or even a feeling of tight or tense muscles or areas. Just let it know that you see it. Now begin to imagine a situation coming up for you in your present life. This could involve anyone or anything that is true for you. In this scenario coming to your awareness, allow all the thoughts and feelings you have to be expressed.  If many are coming to the fore at one time, let them know you are here and will listen to them all; they all have a chance to be heard, even the ones you aren't comfortable with. Open your center to them all if you can. If you can't at this time, then just notice them, and notice it is hard for you to let them all have a voice in your center. Maybe then let them find wherever place in you they can feel safe enough to be heard. Listen to them all, or all that let themselves be known to you at this time. Tell them it is ok to have these thoughts and feelings and that you would like to get to know them better….even if it is a little at a time. Breathe into all your voices and feelings and just notice them as you breathe into them. Some may fade, some may get stronger, some stay the same, and here we are just noticing. Ask if there is something they would like you to know and if you can, just listen. You may not hear anything, and you feel something, or you see a color, anything is possible. Just take it in, and if you aren't aware of anything at this time, that is good too. Tell them you will be back to listen tomorrow or next Sunday, or whenever feels like you truly can come back to this exercise to visit them all. Begin to notice your breath and become aware of your body and slowly open your eyes.

I recommend taking 5 minutes or so and writing down anything meaningful that came to you or writing down your experience in general. Do this again when you had promised yourself that you would. In this exercise, there is no right and wrong, just an opportunity to listen.


My soothing words of wisdom for the week is about how easy it is to feel helpless or hopeless:

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