Practice 3: Take a Break
In the uncertain times that we are currently experiencing with the Covid-19 situation, I find myself trying anything that might settle down my fearful thinking. I hear the story going in my head about unemployment and the economy and this is not what I had planned for my life (blah blah..!) and suddenly the noise is so loud I can’t focus on anything else.
This practice is about giving you a small window of space to step away from your fear story. Just a small pause, but long enough for you to breathe. Within a few minutes you will find an open moment to just relax and let go of that story.
If you don’t find meditation easy, then this practice might be helpful because it doesn’t require you to close your eyes. I found my shoulders dropped from around my ears back to a normal position, and my stress eased away after about 3-5 minutes. I now do this whenever the noise gets too loud in my head.
To give you a pause so you can quietly breathe.
A space to sit or stand near an open window or door
3 minutes or more if you want it.
The next time you feel worked up, angry or frustrated at this situation, find a quiet space near a window or door so you can see outside, and sit down. Look outside at the garden or the sky or a plant or tree. Last week I noticed lots of butterflies and I watched them. Just focus on whatever it is, and watch it.
Watch the clouds move, and breathe.
Or watch the butterflies, and breathe.
Or watch birds in the garden, and breathe.
No thinking allowed. No worrying. No story.
Just watch for 2 or 3 minutes and that is all.
If you prefer to sit with your eyes closed, do that. But don’t let the story pop back because you have nothing to focus on.
It doesn’t matter if you give your full attention to a detail or if you just look out at nothing in particular. Simply breathe.
Then just go on. And if you find yourself hooked again, go back to the window, take a look at the sky and watch it for another minute or two. Do this as often as you need to, to relax your mind.
We will be okay.
This practice came from a little book by Pema Chodron called ‘Taking The Leap: Freeing ourselves from old habits and fears.’ Pema is a Buddhist Nun and speaks to our deepest fears and worries in her books.