Thursday, March 25, 2010

Let Go for More Control

By Kristen Boyesen
Life Learning and Creativity Coach
Published in The Bedford Standard, March 25, 2010

I added a lot to my life learning this past week. One small problem with my laptop computer grew into a major catastrophe, and I lost several folders of files from my laptop. My desktop computer, used for scanning, photo retouching and printing, will no longer turn on: a long boring story not to be repeated here. The first life learning, is, of course, “Do regular backups of your computer!”

The most useful learning of this experience is how one handles such difficulties in life. Yes, there were some tears, a few muffled screams and a late night email to a friend lamenting my loss. Yet, I came to accept it, regain my inner peace, and still have a smile.

This was the process: Knowing that prolonged upset lowers immunity and causes health problems; Knowing that poor health is worse than losing a documents folder; Knowing that I did not like being in this helpless state of recurring unpleasant thoughts; Knowing that meditation has been shown in study after study to help alleviate depression, anxiety and rumination; Knowing that meditation enhances wisdom, compassion, awareness and pleasure in life; And, knowing that the only way out of my misery was through action, I choose to take action.

This had happened close to midnight. Sleep was what was needed, but I was too distraught to sleep. “Meditation will calm me down,” I thought, “then I can sleep.

I took three or four meditative breaths, … and went right back to thinking about all the work I had lost.

I tried again. And again. Nope. A shower perhaps? Yes, a shower, then try again.

• First a deep breath with eyes closed.
• Make the intention to take control.
• Take control by letting go.
• Take control by consciously relaxing all the muscles of your body.
• Focus awareness within.
• Feel the breath flow into your body.
• Allow your abdomen to expand as you breathe in, contract as you release breath.
• Look deeply into the darkness that is behind your eyes.
• Become aware of different parts of your body.
• Feel the tingle of life from your toes to your fingertips.
• Feel every breath as it expands your abdomen.
• Feel the blanket of warmth that surrounds your body.
• Appreciate the calm.
• Feel the peace.
• Imagine you are hovering over yourself, giving yourself a hug.
• Appreciate your ability to return to breath focus each time your mind wanders.

Next thing I knew it was morning, and I could take steps to try to solve the problem of the missing folders. Two days later, the results are in. The documents folder is indeed gone, but the folder containing hundreds of slides of photos, drawings, and other colorful imagery prompts for my presentations and workshops were retrieved, and that is much more than a small pleasure.

Training yourself to focus in this way becomes easier the more you do it. Start before you have a major meltdown, and it is easier still. Meditation builds the brain’s ability to focus, relax, and to be aware. Awareness helps you to always put your keys in the same place every time you enter the house. Awareness snaps you out of your head and into the song of a bird, the flutter of a butterfly, or the smile of a child.

Take a break from the incessant whirl of thoughts that go on most of the time in your head. Several small meditation breaks a day will make a big difference in your health and well-being. The practice listed above was what I personally did when I needed to return to peace from chaos, but it is not the only form: Some use sound, some use words, some involve movement, others use image-making. There are many excellent books on the art of meditation and there is much information on the web. Find a meditation practice that is right for you. Peace!

Kristen Boyesen, a resident of Bedford, offers art and meditation-based classes and workshops for core creativity training and empowerment for change. She belongs to the American Holistic Medical Association Speakers Bureau, the Bedford Senior Network, and Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio. She gives rehabilitation workshops at the Brecksville VA Medical Center and is a graduate student in Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College. Contact her at Kboyesen(at)thebedfordstandard.com.
Visit www.Art-Experiences.blogspot.com to see accompanying photos.

1 Comments:

Blogger chumly said...

This is a good reminder for people to take a few breaths and relax a bit. Good advice and well written.

3:07 PM  

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