How many of you have brains that have trouble switching off, high sensitivity, vivid imaginations and thoughts that sometimes don’t like to be tamed. Thoughts that keep you stuck and stop you even getting started?
Last week I joined a group of people who had been on retreat together for 5 days, I joined for the last 2 days. The place was a quiet backwater but what was happening there was anything but quiet. The place was in Snowdonia in the UK, the retreat house was surrounded by small shrubs and bushes all turning the most beautiful autumn colours of red, yellow, and deep orange. In front of the house was a large lake and in the distance the mountains covered in sparkley white snow. It was so very beautiful, the wind stirred up the ripples on the lake in just the same way as the meditation and sharing a space together stirred up the ripples inside all of us. It was a time to be aware, to cultivate an attitude of awareness and curiosity.
The group lovingly opened and let me in. I took the challenge of fast integration and the dumping of everyday life. My challenge was to swallow my doubts around being accepted and being liked and getting into the mindset quickly and easily. I was also concerned about changing the energy of the group, so many thoughts were whizzing around in my head, you can hear them cant you, I was in fast mode and everyone else was in slow awareness! I gave in, I became aware of a desire to take it steady, to listen on the inside to what my body wanted to do and take it step by step, little by little, relieve the pressure and know that it was important to do what felt ‘right’ for me and to know that that would also be ‘right’ for the group, to be mindful.
Keeping that unbroken surface on the lake and silencing the inner critic, the vivid imagination, the untamed thoughts is a job for life isn’t it, and not for the feint hearted. What happens when you drop that pebble into your lake, where do the ripples go to? Does it just affect you or others who care for you or those who work with you, or those you care for, or does it give pleasure or consideration? What would life be like to live with an awareness that allowed you to see what would happen to those ripples before you dropped the pebble? Would you pick up a different one or just not drop it at all?
Can you think of a situation right now that you are wrestling with? Take a step back and look at it from a different perspective. Look at it from underneath, from above, from the left and from the right. When we get troubled we often get tunneled vision, all we can think of is that particular thing, do you know that kind of thinking? : ) So take a look from a different place, create a different view. From your lake take a look at the mountains, what colour are they, how steep, what kind of vegetation is there, how tall are they, what lives there etc etc and now back to your problem. Is the ‘pebble’ the same or different?
What if everything you do you do with an awareness of the direction you want to move in. Slowing things down will also allow you to be aware of your thoughts can you do that without judging or blaming? Be curious, be playful and you may find out more than you imagined.
I felt so privileged to hear the conversations of those who had been deeply moved by their experience last week, sometimes the words came out so slowly that we all sat gently waiting for each carefully chosen word to appear and convey just the right message for that moment. How often do you take the time to consider your words and actions, and do you consider how they impact on yourself and others?’ How often do we just blurt out what is in our heads?’ On the other hand when do you not share what you are thinking? Are there words that you keep inside, you just think them in your head for fear of seeming too emotional, too caring, too gushing, too stupid, too sensitive, too outrageous?’ and how would the world be different if you shared some of those?
I once read that words are like feathers, once out in the world they blow away with little chance of recovery, so take some time to choose the right ones……
The people I joined in this still place without the stresses and strains of life chose their words well, do you? Maybe you could try this:
If I know that I have something cooking on the inside and need to voice what’s happening I prepare the person I am talking to by saying this: ‘There is a conversation I want to have and it may be a little uncomfortable, can we talk, and is now a convenient time?’ It allows the other person to prepare because remember they are not in your head and they probably know nothing at all about what you are going to talk about. Try it out and see what happens…..
On the retreat there was a beautiful woman who shared some thoughts on her life, she said that she found herself in a quiet backwater, it was safe and she felt safe, but somehow her life had no edge, she said she needed to get back into the flow with all of its difficulties and joys. She reminded me of a quotation I read many years ago and which still has the effect of giving me a metaphorical shake… ‘
Ships are safe in harbours, but they are built to go to sea’.
Do you sit safely in your backwater, pretending that everything is fine? It’s a safe place isn’t it, but is it a fulfilling place? Is it fun? Is it joyful in there? Are you using all of yourself?…. ships are built to go to sea…… if you were to wake up tomorrow and a miracle had happened, what would let you know? what would you be doing? How would you feel? What would you see? what would you hear? Ahhhhh, now what is the very first tiny step that you could take to make that happen? And even if its having that thought you have already began : )
To finish today I want to share this film with you… On a Monday I receive a short films alert and this weeks is beautiful and so thought provoking. I wondered if you would like to watch it too? The guy, Nic Askew, always manages to capture such spirit and humanity and his films move me so much, he is doing what he loves and also giving so much to all of us who watch and take in, I wonder what his tiny step was and I wonder if he ever thought he would give so much to so many just as the woman who features in this film did…
This is the link:
Take care and have a great week