WHAT HELPS ON A WOBBLY DAY – DAY 5
Staying objective when the porridge hits the proverbial fan would be a wonderful skill, wouldn’t it?! But it’s true that most of us get sucked into the vortex of difficult experience, like washing on a spin cycle.
The good news is that we can develop the useful capacity to ‘be’ objective, even if we cannot ‘stay’ objective.
Zooming out from the distress to become aware of the distress (see Day 1 of this course) is something that becomes more accessible the more we do it. Just like any other new skill, it gets easier with practice, and that is what we have been doing so far in this series.
Today the invitation is to apply this skill of zooming out to the difficulty itself.
Yes, it is a bit of a leap after just 5 days. It may help to imagine you are sitting on a riverbank, watching the whole river flow by. But next thing you know, you have tumbled into it. You’re being swept downstream, drowning, shouting “Help!” – lost in the thoughts and feelings of the calamity. Then you clamber back out, shake yourself dry and sit back down on the bank to look ‘at’ the river again. Until you fall in the next time!
So, perhaps don’t expect to be able to do this perfectly today. Just noticing, “Gosh, that’s interesting…” may be enough to encourage you to keep drip feeding mindfulness practices into your day.
RAIN practice: the story so far:
R – Recognise “Wow! This (event/person/feeling/fear) has tipped me deep into a really difficult place”
A – Allow, drop any self-criticism for not coping, for ending up here (again), for not being the saint you wish you were. Allow yourself to be as you are.
I – Investigate: zoom out like a drone and get the big picture overview of this situation. Perhaps take a moment to play with this. How would it appear to an objective bystander, the other person involved in the event, or a wiser, older, steadier version of yourself?
Our zooming out practice develops the capacity to notice “I am in it”, when difficult situations pull us in, and to haul ourself out, back to seeing the big picture again.
Wendell Berry: The peace of wild things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
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