Just a Couple of Degrees
Anti-Anxiety Tool of the Week: The Lake Meditation
Mindfulness. A great antidote to anxiety. There are many websites with lots of information about how to practice mindfulness; most of them explain it a lot better than I can.
Here's a link to a beautiful mindfulness meditation called "The Lake Meditation." It takes just 15 minutes. Here's a link to a transcript of that meditation as well. I did a blog post on this back in November 2019 if you are interested.
This tool is from the third toolkit. Here's the Index of all toolkits. And The Mini-Toolkit: For Those with Little or No Time.
Just a Couple of Degrees
Many years ago Lawrence and I saw a couples counselor who, among other things, told us that we didn't need to make huge shifts in ourselves or the relationship to get it to work better. "Just try changing one little thing and see what happens," she said. "Change one damn thing." (She had her own unique style.)
I think I have always felt that change meant I had to alter dramatically in order to get my life, or my marriage, or myself to work better.
But at some point after the humorous revelation of that counselor, the thought occurred to me that moving just a degree or two differently from where I am heading now might do it. As in the 360 degrees of a compass.
Because, to use that compass analogy, if you set your course one degree to the south, let's say, of where you are currently going, your old course and the new one will become more and more divergent the farther out you travel. The farther you go, the bigger the shift.
So perhaps you won't see a lot of change immediately. But I think that kind of shift is more realistic, more do-able for many of us. it can take the pressure off, which allows more room for change.
I based my healing arts practice, in part, on a similar concept, gleaned from the writings of Hugh Milne, cranial-sacral practitioner and teacher extraordinaire: "It's amazing how much how little will do." I have experienced this within myself, and within my clients.
This idea, and the idea of making just a one or two degree turn is pretty antithetical to our culture, caught up as we are in the drama of the extreme. We seem to like the big bang--the bigger the better. And we seem to have polarized ourselves into extremes of right and wrong, good and bad, dark and light. Can we find shades of grey? Or better yet, a set of lovely, subtle shades and colors that defy rigid color descriptions?
Of course a "little" out of sync when it comes to gears is not so good. A "little" dislocation of a joint can be excruciating.
And, of course, there are times a person needs to make a major shift. Addicts don't tend to do very well with easing up on their behavior or reducing the intake of their substance of choice "just a little." Someone diagnosed with celiac disease will need to cut out all gluten; if they just cut back to one sandwich or one piece of toast they will continue to feel pretty awful.
But still, perhaps I can come home to myself without having to do a dramatic one-eighty. I will probably need to let go of some things to make this shift, but maybe I will find, at least eventually, that what I let go were the rags of a ancient security blanket, or an old belief, that I didn't really need anymore.
Change one damn thing. It's amazing how much how little will do.
Until next time,
Lake, Kazuend, unSplash
Compass, Getty Images
Two paths, Steven Heller
Tiny bouquet, Isaac Mehegan, unSplash