TOUCH AS A LIFELINE – DAY 2
When we are lost in a ‘thought-storm’ of stress or even just distractedness, things that are lovely and peaceful in the world go by unnoticed. (The brain is wired not to pay attention to what is safe – such a shame!)
But if we choose to ‘shift’ to noticing what else is present, we can catch a spontaneous moment of peacefulness in the world and make it our own, just for that instant. By touching something that feels nice, like the grain in wood or warm water, we come into contact with ‘now’ and out of thoughts.
The trick here is to be OK with the fact that the mind keeps slipping back to thinking. It’s just a habit. Whatever we do often, we get good at (look at playing the guitar, do enough of it and you’re Eric Clapton!), and some minds are very good at thinking difficult thoughts.
As children, school taught us to ignore anything other than the work in front of us. Concentrate! Pay attention! But to what? To the mind and the task in hand. When you add in the brain’s hard-wired safety mechanism of paying attention to danger, it’s not surprising we develop the habit of a thinking mind.
But using ‘the shift’ over and over again, just like changing gears (using the ‘stick shift’, as they say in the movies – I love that!) helps to build more helpful habits.
Today’s invitation is to ‘shift’ as often as possible from thinking to touch. It may be helpful to programme your phone, use a pinger on the oven, or an egg timer to remind you to shift. Maybe aim for 10 times a day.
Over a few weeks this ‘shifting’ from storm-thoughts into something untroubled, lovely, calm, pretty – to NOW – becomes the new habit. You’re noticing what is good, rather than being lost in thought-storms (and storm-thoughts).
Linda France: Dreaming the real
I’m lying down looking at the colour
of sky falling through trees, dreaming
the real, tasting what it feels like to love it.
Why did it take me so long to let go, simply
exhale, so the day could breathe itself in
and open without me standing in the way?
How could I forget the grace of my own body,
strong as this blue, tender as the white
of the wild blossom, warm as midday light?
Let me practise a patience bold enough
to hold every weather, trusting the elements,
the beauty of rain, all its shades of grey.
I want whatever’s real to be enough. At least
it’s a place to begin. And to master the art
of loving it; feel it love me back under my skin.
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