Mindfulness Blog: Part 6 - East Cheshire Hospice

Mindfulness Blog: Part 6

Mindfulness – A blog by East Cheshire Hospice’s Lindsay Dobson

This time round, Id like to explore the idea we don’t have to be seated to be mindful or meditating.

In fact, when I am very distressed moving is sometimes where i find the most comfort.  On my yoga mat, going into sensing my body, rather than thinking, allowing myself to feel my grief or anger, but constantly bringing my mind back to the feel of my body, when it starts to wander into thoughts.  Walking in nature is another way I love to find peace, to feel my body as it moves starting at the ground, feel of my sole on the floor, how it touches the floor, when the weight moves into my other foot, seeing how far up my body I can sense that having an impact.  Walking slowly slowly, trying to observe as much as I can about how my body walks.

When working, we don’t have the luxury of always being able to stop and breath, so to be able to breath and focus on the tasks at hand can be useful.  Ever done something, something you know you can do, only to find your minds talking a million to one at you and your shakier than normal?

I was once asked to do a yoga demonstration at the yoga show in London.  I used to do a lot of yoga dance and was chosen because when I moved it was graceful and effortless (I want to add it was before kids and exhaustion!), however on the stage all I could do was, see the people with cameras, hear snatches of conversation, hear my own mind worrying about what I was doing….. needles to say I nearly fell of the stage, one of my teachers laughed and asked what on earth I was doing!!  I had to take a moment to regroup, to breath, and to drop my awareness down in my body, to phase out all else, except my breath and my body.  To choose where I put my awareness, so it worked for me, not against me.  I’ve no idea how it went but it felt good.

Sometimes this comes naturally, and sometimes it takes practice.  I remember on one of my little girls admissions, I was told the paramedics were held up with an RTA, I was in the middle of nowhere and despite her oxygen levels being very low it took nearly an hr for that ambulance to arrive,  It took a lot of focus, to will myself to focus on the task at hand, to keep her breathing until help arrived, but I knew that the other option, was to delve into my thoughts of what if and worry and catastrophise, and prob be of no use to me or her , or the paramedics when they arrived.  So I focused on my breathing, I focused on the tasks I needed to do to get us safely into the next moment, and the next and whenever my mind wandered to where the **** is that ambulance, I brought it back to what I could control, to breathing. When help arrived was out of my control, what I did until then, how I allowed my emotions and thoughts to spiral was under my control!  Sometimes we need to let go of that things outside of our control, and bring our whole focus on to those bits that are.

The more we practice a skill, the easier it is to use under even those circumstances (I wont lie it wasn’t easy but it did definitely help!)

So my suggestion this time round is to find a form of movement you enjoy, yoga, walking, running, brushing your teeth, having a shower, whatever it is – and whilst you do it, drop your mind into your body, experience, notice as much about that movement as you can, both the good and the less comfortable.  It can be as brief as walking down the corridor on the ward, or as long as an hours exercise outside.  And your mind will definitely wander at some point, notice it has, bring it back to the feel of your body doing what its doing and every time you do , the ability to call it back, to choose your focus will be strengthened , then when you need it, its there.  On those days when worries and fears start to overwhelm you, you can drop into your body, sense your body and how it feels and give your space some breathing space and your body a chance to relax and let go of some of the stress.

Take gentle care

Lindsay x

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