“…attention is what confers interest and vitality upon life…” – Marion Milner
Marion Milner spent seven years (though one could reasonably argue it turned into a lifetime) chronicling what it meant to live her own life. In the process she discovered this simple truth – letting go of what we think we should be and do, surrendering to what is with our eyes ever open to our internal conversation, yields an understanding of what truly makes us happy.
Milner invites us all to simply observe our actions, our world, whatever draws our attention, to acknowledge all the thoughts that pass through without judgment, to see and admit whatever shows up. Happiness and its companions less stress and struggle are not found in fighting the complexities of life but rather in embracing them. When we resist by rejecting or turning a blind eye, we allow tension to build within us. By keeping our eyes open and attending to what is right in front of us, by listening to our heart’s reaction, our path forward becomes clear. Sometimes we change direction, sometimes we simply sit with the “this is”, sometimes we stay the course. Regardless whatever shows up, by accepting we blunt the anxiety, fear and tension our denial builds within us.
This new year simply pay attention. Notice what arises within you. Embrace it all. Live joyously.
For more insights by Marion Milner, I recommend reading:
Photo by Nigel Tadyanehondo on Unsplash
“If you know “what” you are doing and even more important “how” you use yourself to act, you will be able to do things the way you want.” – Moshe Feldenkrais
Act or React? The choice is yours. When you mindlessly react to events and demands, it’s easy for your nerves to get frazzled. Not a happy situation but one you can change by choosing a more measured response based on awareness.
Easier said than done? Perhaps at first. But like building muscle, starting small and doing a little bit – consistently – increases ability until soon you are able to “change your mind” almost without effort.
Want a recipe for change?
Leave it to the good folks at “Daily Good” to provide the instruction manual. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I’m passing along their tidbit of “goodness”.
Who would have thought that saying yes, with a simple nod of your head, could bring relief to an anxious nervous system. It can IF you make that nod very slow and simple.
Awareness, in and of itself, is the backdrop for positive change. By bringing a bit of awareness to that head bob, you’ll find your nerves (and often accompanying body aches) releasing into ease.
Give it a try:
Sit or lie quietly.
Begin to nod your head as slowly and simply as you can.
Let your nod be VERY small and VERY slow. Stay in a range where the movement is easy and effortless.
Continue to nod in this way until your breathing becomes easy and regular.
Let it go and notice the changes.
For even more benefit, use your powers of observation and take notice:
How do your eyes move when you nod your head?
What happens along your spine as you nod?
If you are sitting, does how you take weight through your feet change as you nod your head?
Habits keep us sane. Imagine having to think about every detail as you tie your shoe, climb the stairs, eat your dinner, click the remote. You’d be consumed by tiny individual tasks and life would become unlivable.
The magnitude of all that attending is more than overwhelming. Yet, attention is how we change. Attention and willpower. As much as we would all LOVE a magic pill, bullet, therapy, you name it to make our fat melt, our bodies sculpt, our relationships happy, NOTHING is going to happen without old fashioned elbow grease.
Think of your habits at ruts. The stronger the habit, the deeper the rut. The deeper the rut, the more you have to work to dig a replacement. So to swap out a habit that isn’t serving you for one that does, start digging.
What does that digging look like? Simply it’s catching yourself in the act of slipping into auto-pilot and then CHOOSING to do something different. Easier said than done? Perhaps. That’s why I always recommend shifting habits one divot at a time. If you create a tiny change, followed by another and then another, you gradually build your desired habit and the digging isn’t quite as demanding.