Working at it amidst the cacophony

Written by Amy on December 9th, 2016

Somehow, a month has gone by since the election.  What happened, in the world and in my heart, is unfolding and deepening, so I share this… with a desire to touch the ground of compassionate mindfulness, amidst the cacophony of emotions that’s been stirred up in our country, no matter where you stand.

8am Wednesday November 9, I was tired, jittery, and numb. With mom. Needing me. To just show up. Care, and take care of her.  No memory at all, no understanding about “the world.” Just the usual need for cajoling to let me help her bathe and get dressed for the day.

In a fantasy about what mindfulness practice is, I would say that my worries washed down the drain as I felt the warm water, the suds in her hair, the banter of “ok, lift your arm now!” “Is this my arm?” “Yes, that’s it.”

Alas. No worries swirled down the drain. Just rinse water, soap & shampoo.

There was no bliss-filled payoff from my years of mindfulness training. My original teacher always said: “There is no payoff!”  Practicing awareness doesn’t magically make the world safe, change my mood, or even snap me out of numbness. Especially when numbness is my body’s way of slowing down events or news that feels threatening.

At breakfast, though, mom snapped me out of numbness with an outburst: “They took it!!  Do you hear me?? They took it!”

Not knowing the cause of her upset, I said, “Wow, they took it!”

“Yes. And how are we going to get it back?  We’ll have to work at it,” then pointed at me, “You! have to work at it.”  She leaned forward, “And don’t stop until you get it, do you hear me?  Work at it.”

“I hear you.  I’m going to work at it.”

She sat back in her chair, at ease.

I don’t now what prompted the outburst, whether she had not yet found her fork to eat breakfast, or if it was a random frustration. Either way, it was what I needed to hear.

I do need to work at it. Compassionate mindfulness does not seep out of the woodwork and permeate my being just because it sounds like a nice concept. We all have to work at it. And sometimes we get pretty shook up by life – our energy ramps up out of control, or we numb out.

As always, the question is, how do we work at it?

The way I see it, there are two important impulses to follow, and when followed, they swirl towards each other and change positions, like a yin/yang dance.

One impulse is to do something. Anything. Take action.

The other impulse is to stop and be quiet. Just be.

Action, taken wholeheartedly, leads to quiet. Like mom’s outburst, once she was satisfied that she had made her point, led to her relaxing back into her seat. There are times we need to take action, and peace will elude us if we don’t do something.

Quiet, practiced wholeheartedly, leads to action. In our noise-filled society, it’s easy to not hear the impulse for quiet.

For me, it shows up as a craving to be connected through news, interaction, doing things… and a need to just stop.  I crave being quiet.  Deeply quiet.  To feel the pulse of the earth, the rhythms of water and air, the goodness of life at an elemental level.  Not in order to shut down.  No.  To connect with what is real and true and good.  To remember who I am.  To feel the strength of my backbone, the capacity of my heart, and the power of my voice.

The most powerful action comes out of a deep quiet.

In the Northern hemisphere, as the days get shorter and the season of winter draws us inward, how is it for you? What is the work that you need to do? When do you feel the call to action? And do you let yourself hear the pull toward quiet? Both are so very needed in the compassionate mindfulness dance.

An invitation to work together:
Sometimes it’s not so easy to move from action to quiet, or from quiet into action.  Especially if your nervous system is numbed out or on high alert with chronic stress or difficult events.  When that’s the case, you may need a little help to ease the diverted the stream of attention and let it come back into it’s natural flow.  Feel free to contact me or check out my individual work. Why not free yourself from what’s making it difficult to move forward with ease? You can click here to read more, then we can have a conversation to see if my work is a good fit for your needs.

He needed that

Written by Amy on September 16th, 2016

I don’t know what it is about the 1222 building, or the parking lot, or the people, but something always happens when we go there.

It had been a morning of trying to be a good caregiver… which only emphasizes all the more that in my trying, it was trying.  Trying to balance basic things like respect in two forms: trying to be on time for an appointment, while gently re-routing detours of mom’s predictably unpredictable Alzheimer’s journey needs.  Little detours like needing to take the dog for a walk when I’m trying to get mom to leave on time (“She’s ok, I just took her 10 minutes ago.” “Look at her! She needs to go!” I have to admit, the dog does a good job of looking desperate).

So when we finally get to the parking lot, and “one, two, three” I help mom out of the car, and am hoping to make a bee-line for the 1222 door.  Just then mom’s eye is caught by an elderly gentleman sitting on a bench.

“Who is that?” she asks me.

“I don’t know.” I try to guide her, saying quickly, “Let’s go this way, toward the door.”

“I know where the door is!” she says, happily, staying on her own path, holding my hand tight, and walking toward the gentleman.  His long white beard almost touches his thigh as he sits, slumped over, leaning on his walker parked beside him.

As we got a little closer, mom calls out cheerfully, “Hi!” and grins and waves, her palm blinking with the opening and closing of her fingers.

He looks up, face brightening like a flower touched by a ray of sun, and waves back.  Mom smiles with a friendly nod, and we continue making our way toward the door.

She looks earnest and tells me, “He needed that ‘Hi’.”

I glance back at him.  He is still smiling.  I smile… and I feel the weight of my trying efforts of the morning lift.

“Yes,” I agree. “He needed that ‘Hi.’  I think we all did.”

Mom nods, satisfied.

How many times when I feel frustrated, lonely, or just tired, am I in need of a “Hi!”

As human beings, we long to be acknowledged, witnessed, seen.  Compassionate mindfulness is a way of learning to say “hi” to what is present, what’s here, including what is often overlooked.

Try out a Compassionate mindfulness experiment: say “hi” to what’s present.  Really. Try it out.  With a gentle breath, notice what is present right now…. the sensation of breath, thought, emotion…  Oh, a little ache in the neck from long work at the computer.  Acknowledge it, “Hi!”  maybe the ache softens just a little bit.

Now take “Hi!” on the road.  Acknowledge someone who isn’t expecting you to see them.  What happens?  Acknowledge an aspect of your internal experience that is so mundane that you don’t usually notice it.  What happens?

Acknowledgement goes a long way.

In fact, it may go so far, so fast, that you’re here.

An invitation to share:
How is this for you?  What do you do when your “trying” seems to take you further from what you want?  Please scroll down and post a comment and share.

An invitation to work together:
Sometimes acknowledging things isn’t so easy.  Especially if your nervous system is numbed out or on high alert with chronic stress or difficult events.  When that’s the case, you may need a little help to ease the diverted the stream of attention and let it come back into it’s natural flow.  I enjoy helping people say “Hi!” to the difficult and the wonderful.  Feel free to contact me or check out my individual work. Why not free yourself from whatever makes it hard to embody this life? You can click here to read more, then we can have a conversation to see if my work is a good fit for your needs.

When Everything Changes

Written by Amy on August 16th, 2016

You know the old adage “Everything changes.” Well, it does.

New parents proclaim in awe: “She’s changing every day!” as their child hits the landmarks: holding her head up, making eye contact, coo-ing, first steps… and caregiving a declining parent is like being a parent, in reverse. For Alzheimer’s, the landmarks are: first time mom thinks a banana is a flower. First time she can’t tie her shoes. First time she looks at me and says, “I know you… don’t I?”

Yes, sometimes it hurts. And sometimes it’s a relief, even a joy.

When it hurts, I cry. When it’s a joy, I laugh & sing… like at our summer outing to the Celtic Festival, where mom so completely listened to the rousing beat of the Drowsy Lads, thumping her hands on her legs, cheering in rhythm with their stomping, and hooting “Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! Hee! Hee! Hee! Hee!” Her smile was absolutely contagious!

Life’s always good times and bad… why is it that some days are full of equanimity no matter what bizarre thing is happening, and other days I’m fit to be tied from one demented comment? What makes the difference? I could say grace, but grace sounds like pure chance. And pure chance is neither scientifically probable nor spiritually practical.

My experience is that I have control of very few things. No control over the weather, politics, accidents, the price of popcorn, other people’s behavior, or even what arises in my own mind in reaction to all of that. Yet when I exercise the control I do have, it makes all the difference in the world. Where do I have control? How do I take responsibility for what I have influence over, and let go of the rest?  This is a live question for me, as it’s what makes the difference between my feeling alive or suffering caregiver’s burnout.

When I’m in a grim place as caregiver, pretty much guaranteed, I’m thinking I should have control over something…. that I don’t.

To help myself discern “where do I have control?” I have learned to get very curious about what seems most out of my control… like the sneaky symptoms of burnout that mysteriously appear out of nowhere: ennui, “not caring” about things, feeling tired even when I’m rested, or irritable and blaming myself and others for everything.

In practicing mindfulness, instead of trying to attack the “problem,” it’s essential to

  • step back (pause)
  • slow down (pause again)
  • and not try to change a thing

Here’s one way of letting myself get really curious about what’s present and true.  Mom’s sheets are messy again and I’m thinking “whatever. I don’t care” as I  start to clean up and notice that… actually I’m not noticing anything! I’m numb and going through the motions. Then step back (and pause).  Look again at the bed, letting myself feel the dullness inside, and see the disarray.  My brain commentary is something like this: “Uhg. How boring. It’s just a messy bed. Why would I want to experience this? What good would that do? Change the brain channel please, let’s get moving!”

Just by pausing with the ennui, the internal energy has shifted, so now I feel both agitated and bored.

If I’m determined, I can use that energetic juice to continue staying present. I slow down (pause again) and do not try to change a thing.  Even after years of practice, I often coach myself through it: “Ok, you can be here. Breathing into the desire to change the ennui, really curious, what is this, how does it actually feel to ‘not care.'” and I pause, really pause and let myself experience what’s present … “Hum. Heart area aches. Downright hurts. Ouch!” and I let myself see the messy bed again. Or for the first time.

Now, a wave of grief washes through me, and with it, a warm tingling through my body. My vision becomes more clear, breath becomes easier, lighter. Mind is quiet. Sheets are dirty and in disarray. Thought arises:  “Mom has declined another bit. I’m exhausted trying to keep up with the changes in care in the old way. I wonder what I can do differently?”

Nothing’s really changed. Except that everything has changed. I can see things clearly again, and my mind has a calm clarity that’s comforting.

The pause of mindfulness opens the window of possibility a crack… and grace only needs a crack to breeze through. 

So, Listen up (talking to myself! If any of you want to listen in, go ahead :-) ) When you hear the internal voice of ennui: “I don’t care about anything.” or the demand: “Something has to change! You need to do this or that better!” Get suspicious. Maybe something already has changed. Maybe something is out of control, and cannot be brought back into control, because it is not controllable. Maybe there is an unacknowledged loss that needs grieving, and then an adjustment to the loss, to the new situation, to the new normal.

Breathe. Be here. This is the only place to find yourself.

An invitation to share:
How is this for you?  What do you do when you “don’t care” (and yet you know underneath it your care deeply)?  How do you come to peace with what you do not have control of?  And how do you recognize when it’s time to take responsibility for what you can control?  Please scroll down and post a comment balow.

An invitation to work together:
Sometimes coming home and embodying this moment isn’t so easy.  Especially if your nervous system has been jangled by chronic stress or difficult events.  When that’s the case, you may need a little help to ease the diverted the stream of attention and let it come back into it’s natural flow.  I enjoy helping people do that!  Feel free to contact me or check out my individual work. Why not free yourself from whatever makes it hard to embody this life? You can click here to read more, then we can have a conversation to see if my work is a good fit for your needs.

p.s. Happy August from mom & me!

Sometimes you just need a good cry

Written by Amy on May 26th, 2016

One of the perils of caregiving a loved one with Alzheimer’s is that even though I know better than to take a nasty mood as a personal affront, sometimes… I forget.

I call it Caregiver’s Alzheimer’s:  I forget who I am. I forget that her brain is no longer functioning the way is used to.  I forget that I’m an adult, and she is too, and she needs my care.

I bet you can relate, since it’s helpful to not take things too personally in any relationship. After all, relationships have their dynamics. They just get played out sitcom-style in my life…

Like this morning, when mom seemed pretty chipper, already in the bathroom getting ready for the day when I arrived. I poked my head in, “Good Morning Mama!”

“Good Morning!”

“Are you ready for me to help you with your shower?” She wasn’t at all ready, she was preparing to give herself a sponge bath with toothpaste, with obvious consequences I was hoping to avert.

“Do I have to take a shower today?” She asked petulantly.

“Yes, today’s the day!

“But I’m doing this,” she says, holding up the washcloth and toothpaste.

“You don’t need to do that today, it’s shower day! I can help you.”

She said, “Oh, Ok.”

And I thought, “Oh, Ok. Not bad for a shower conversation. Easy Peasy morning.”

But by the time we got to breakfast, she’d gone from Easy Peasy to Grumpy. Poking at her eggs and toast, she declared, “these aren’t right. Who made these?”

“I did. Would you like them warmed up?”

She had a whole piece of toast speared on her fork, and shook it at me, announcing, “this is horrible.”

She sometimes forgets that she likes to eat toast with her fingers and eat the eggs with the fork. Usually I can gently remind her.

“You’re right. It’s no good. Horrible. I bet you’ll be happier if you use your fingers with the toast, and the fork with the eggs. I’m picking my toast up.”

“I know that!” she said, her voice raising, “but You Should Know Better than to serve it like this.”

Whoopsy! The magic childhood button phrase has been said and successfully activated: You Should Know Better.” A part of me realized that I really should know better than to let anything she says push my buttons, especially when she’s grumpy. But, like I said, sometimes Caregiver’s Alzheimer’s is a tough practice. So I forgot. After sitting for a few minutes refraining from nasty replies, I knew the best thing I could do was withdraw myself from the situation, go to the other room, hope she ate her horrible breakfast, and get on with the day.

When the next caregiver arrived to give her a ride, I wished her good luck as I helped mom with her coat, saying, “I hope you have a good day.”

“I doubt it,” mom huffed curtly.

After the door slammed shut, I had a good cry.  I see where I might have done things differently, like when I serve her toast and eggs separately, she gets less confused about how to eat them. Still. The point is, at a deep level, there is no way to help her. She has Alzheimer’s and is declining. And there’s no way to help my internal youngster who wants mommy to be happy when she’s not. I am the one who needs to love and accept myself. So I cry.  Letting myself soften and care again, amidst the ache of it all.

Then, I got on with my day.

Now, if I were going to pull out a Mindfulness Lesson out of this daily drama, I might say:

Start where you are, whenever you get there. That morning, somehow I didn’t have it in me to consider pausing until after the door slammed.  So, that was a good time to pause, let myself feel what I was feeling, and let go.  It was when I remembered what was possible.  If I hadn’t paused then, I probably would have had a downright sad awful shutdown day!  With the pause, I honored the frustration, sadness, and grief… and came back home, more embodied in this moment.

What a relief.

An invitation to share:
How is this for you?  When do you forget who you are?  And how do you come home to yourself?  Please post a comment below and share.

An invitation to work together:
Sometimes coming home and embodying this moment isn’t so easy.  Especially if your nervous system has been jangled by chronic stress or difficult events.  When that’s the case, you may need a little help to ease the diverted the stream of attention and let it come back into it’s natural flow.  I’d enjoy helping you do that.  Feel free to contact me or check out my individual work.  I would be happy to have a conversation with you to see if it’s a good fit for your needs.

Warm Wishes for Mother’s Day

Written by Amy on May 13th, 2016

Happy Mother’s Day!

to all Mothers, and to all who honor this gift of life that came through our mothers!

This day is bitter-sweet for me, as my own mother recognizes me differently each day. On Thursday, I was a cursed demon who she needed to chase from the house. Repeatedly. Friday, I was a lovely helper she enjoyed sharing breakfast and morning sunshine with. Saturday, I was once again her daughter, Amy.

In honor of mom, I want to share one of my favorite conversations – it happens every once in a while, when I’m helping her with the most intimate of caregiving situations.

She looks at me earnestly, “Who does this for you?”

“I do it myself right now.”

“You have to do this yourself?”

“Yes.”

“Humph,” she says under her breath, “you shouldn’t have to help me with this.”

“Well, I do it for myself now, but I bet I’ll need help when I’m older!  And do you know what?”

“What?”

“You helped me with this when I was baby.”

“I did?” she asks incredulously.

“Yes, you did. You did this for me many many times when I was a little baby.”

“Really?” Our eyes soften as we look at each other.

“Yes. Really. You’re my mamma. You took care of me. You did this for me. Now I’m doing it for you.”

She reaches her hands out and holds my face, “I’m so glad I took care of you.”

“Me too.”

As her memory fades with Alzheimer’s, I get to choose what we remember. What I will bring into the present from my memory. And what I let go.

It’s a disease in which memory and many other facets of the mind change randomly. Yet in this malleability, when I’m awake to it, I can help to shape the present into something beautiful.

So I thank mom for the original gift of life, and now too for the new gifts that come from practicing creative awareness, and love, amidst the ever-changing mind.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Can we have Yellow for dessert?

Written by Amy on November 25th, 2015

Most of the trees in back of my mom’s house have shed their leaves, yet one maple’s golden display still catches the morning light, a glorious dance of life amidst the change of season.

At the breakfast table mom did what she often does when she insistently wants to share: she vigorously pointed out the window  saying, “Look at that! Look at that!!”

“Yes,” I said, “isn’t it pretty?”

“No,” she corrected, “It’s beautiful.”

Indeed :-)  One lone maple tree with it’s bright yellow leaves, swirling and dancing in the breeze, amidst the skeleton branches of other trees and the blue blue sky. Beautiful.

Then she added thoughtfully, “Can we have Yellow for dessert?”

I nodded, “Yes. That is a good idea. Yellow looks delicious, doesn’t it?”

“Yes!” She said with great satisfaction.

And we sat there for a good while longer, taking in the Yellow, as the wind and the sun danced with the leaves.

There are so many kinds of hunger in this human body-mind: for food, warmth, necessities, camaraderie, love, respect, beauty, contribution….

This Thanksgiving, I send you warm wishes that your feast includes the nourishment of all aspects of what your body, heart, and mind long for.

And….

May we notice when we want more pie,
and when what we really want
is more Yellow!

Kind communication

Written by Amy on July 13th, 2015

I don’t know what it’s like for you…

Recently a friend asked the innocuous question, “How are you? How’s your mom?”

“Hum. Short of long answer?” I asked. She said she had some time, so I shared some recent events of My Family’s Adventures with Alzheimer’s.

After a pause, she responded, “You know, I really care about you. So I wish I could say something helpful, or empathize or tell you a story from my life. But I’m listening and…  I just don’t know what it’s like for you.”

I was so relieved!

She listened.  She didn’t change the subject, try to fix it, or turn away.  She didn’t overwhelm me with related stories.  She just listened.

How wonderful!

Now there are times when we’re hurting and appreciate other people’s empathy, suggestions, support, stories from their own lives, etc.  Yet we often long for a simpler, more direct connection.

The conversation with my friend reminded me of the basics of kind mindfulness:

  • Express the impulse of care
  • Honor what’s here
  • Be honest
  • and  Express the impulse of care (yes, again, it’s that important)

Mindfulness is not a dry exercise in scientific observation.  It’s an opening of the heart as well as the mind.

When you Express the impulse of care you establish the context for communicating in the first place.  While caring often “goes without saying,” most communication can go a lot further with saying saying it!

My friend’s expression of care opened my ears to hear the kindness of her words.  That she said, “I don’t know what to say” was a beautiful way to honor what’s here & be honest.

Caring is essential whether the you’re casually talking with friends, within your own mind, or sorting out difficulties with others.  When we hold our communication within the acknowledgement of that we care, it makes all the difference.

As a practice, consciously take a moment before any communication, and bring kindness into your bodily awareness.  Feel your heart.  Let it be softened by kindness.  Communication can be more real because when the heart is open, there’s space for possibilities, for reality to sneak in, for what is actually here rather than just what we think, hope or fear will be.

Kindness can bridge a rift between people; it can ease the disagreeing factions of our own minds.  Kind mindfulness is a connection with the openness of the heart, in which many things are possible, rather than the limits of the mind which only expects this or thatWhen let our hearts be tenderized by kindness, we approach most everything and everyone with respect, curiosity, and gratitude.

What happens for you when you let kindness be your priority?

Share your thoughts below – I’d love to hear how it is for you when kindness holds the conversation.

Looks Like? Or Doing?

Written by Amy on May 28th, 2015

“Where’s Dolly?” mom asked.

I could see the dog behind mom, “she’s sitting on her cushion.”

“What’s she doing?”

“She’s looking at the wall,” I said.

“Why do you think she’s doing that?” Mom continued the questioning, which my brother and I affectionately refer to as the “lawyer” aspect of her personality that has only grown stronger with age and Alzheimer’s.

“I think she’s meditating.”

Mom smiled and shook her head no.

“Well,” I shrugged, “she looks like she’s meditating.”

Mom sat up straight in her chair and looked at me with an emphatic gaze. “Well,” she announced: Looks like and doing are not the same thing.”

Need I say more?  Once again, thank you mom!

Ok, granted, the dog was being a perfect dog, and she did not claim she was meditating!!  Play with my story here as a way to appreciate that difference between “looking” and “doing”.

The difference between looking and doing has nothing to do with time – they both exist in the same moment – you can look like you’re doing something and be doing it, or you can look like you’re doing one thing and actually be doing something completely different.

When looks like and doing are not the same thing, we’re not in integrity, we don’t feel fully alive, and our confidence is probably zilch.  When we’re going through the motions, body and mind become two separate things.

My Zen teacher used to say: “What’s the point of sitting still on your cushion?  A rock can do that!  Set a rock on your cushion if that’s what you want – the rock will do it better than you ever will.  What are you doing on your cushion?”

So what do you do when you find yourself “looking like” instead of whole body & mind “doing”?  Simple mindfulness goes a long way:

  • Notice that you’re not here
  • Let it be
  • Get physical

How does this apply?  Well, if you were like Dolly, sitting in a meditation position, you might start off sitting with ease and presence of mind and at some point… trail off into La La Space Out Land (that’s a technical Mindfulness term).  So you would Notice that you’re not here: “Oh. I’m spaced out.”  And let it be.  “What?!”  You may say, “don’t I have to do something punitive or corrective when I notice that I’m not here?”  Actually, all you have to do is notice  ‘not being here’ and let it be.

That’s the magic of this present moment.  It’s always changing, so there’s no need to “do” anything about spacing out.  Just notice it and the moment of “spaced out” is already gone.  If you do feel yourself seduced into endless moments of spacing out, then you can Get physical: as you are letting things be just as they are, allow your attention to notice, to really be aware of just how are things physically?  What sensations do you feel?  Do you feel your breath?  Your feet and hands?  The cool breeze on your skin?  What are you smelling, tasting, hearing?

Scroll down below and let me know what happens for you when you Notice you’re not here and Let it beand Get physical if needed :-)

While mindfulness is simple, it’s not always easy.  Especially if your nervous system has been jangled by chronic stress or difficult events.  When that’s the case, you may need a little help to ease the diverted the stream of attention back into it’s natural flow.  I’d love to help you do that.  Feel free to contact me or check out my individual work. Why not free yourself from whatever makes it hard to just be here? You can click here to read more, then we can have a conversation to see if this is a good fit for your needs.

When In Doubt…

Written by Amy on April 15th, 2015

See the Good

This morning my mom pointed ferociously out the window and demanded, shaking her finger emphatically, “Look at that!”

It was a beautiful early spring day, just sun & trees outside, I didn’t see anything that called for such ferocity.  Normally, I might ask, “Where?” or “What is it?”

I was a moment of doubt, when it wasn’t clear what to do or say…

You see, my Mom has Alzheimer’s, so sometimes she sees things that most of us don’t.  It’s best not to “feed” an upsetting delusion, and since she already seemed agitated, I didn’t want to naively ask “What are you seeing?” (which could lead further into an upsetting delusion).

So I leaned into mindfulness practice and … paused before answering. Other days this week, her theme has been a cheerful “Look out there! Look how beautiful it is.”  So I thought, what the heck, and said enthusiastically, “Wow!  Look out there! It is so beautiful!!”

“Yes! You see it.” She said with obvious pleasure, and her tone of voice relaxed. “It is beautiful.”

Turns out she was ferociously excited about the beauty of the sunlight on the trees!

Well. Chalk this one up to another Gratitude Lesson courtesy of my mom:

  • When in Doubt, Pause
  • See the Good
  • Keep it Simple
  • Passionately enjoy beauty

When in doubt, pause. Refrain from following negative associations.  See the Good.

If I’d gone into my head with a “normal” response of “What are you seeing?” we would have surely plummeted into a delusion, or she would have been agitated by my stupidity of not seeing what’s right in front of me!

It was truly simple: trees & sunlight.  Yes, such pleasure in enjoying, passionately enjoying, the beauty that’s right here.

Do these principles of mindfulness “work” all the time?  While Alzheimer’s is an unpredictable disease, so is life.  It may not “work” to turn around confusion, agitation, or pain with just one application, but in my experience, the regular practice of mindful attention to this moment is, truly, the only way to be here.  And here is the only place where we’re alive, and being alive, sooner or later, undeniably leads to Gratitude.

What’s your experience with “Seeing the good?”  Without advocating for a blind Pollyanna view, truly, what right here right now, is good?

Scroll down below and let me know your thoughts!

While mindfulness is simple, it’s not always easy.  Especially if your nervous system has been jangled by chronic stress or traumatic events.  When that’s the case, you may need a little help to ease the diverted the stream of attention back into it’s natural flow.  I’d love to help you do that.  Feel free to contact me or check out my individual work. Why not free yourself from whatever makes it hard to just be here? You can click here to read more, then we can have a conversation to see if this is a good fit for your needs.

When Life’s Moving Too Fast

Written by Amy on January 23rd, 2015

Slow Down

Have you ever been in a hurry and knocked over your tea, jumped for a rag to mop up the mess… and knocked over the whole tea pot instead?

Yup.  You know what I’m talkin’ about.

Things change.  Sometimes unexpectedly.

We like to think we can catch up with life when it’s moving too quickly, but….  It’s just not humanly possible.  Why is that?

On a philosophical note, I could say it’s because we’re not gods, and only gods think they know what speed “Life” ought to move at, or imagine “I” am in control of “catching it”.

On a more earthy note, we human beings are animals.  Yes, human animals with a large pre-frontal cortex, but animals just the same.  Quick or unexpected change is simply hard for our animal system to digestWe need time to orient.  Time to see where we are.  Time to be here.

I don’t know about you, but 2015’s been jam-packed with changes so far – planned & unplanned.  A few days ago I found my mind reeling with overwhelm.  So…

I ….     slowed …      down ….

I gave time to orient, see where I am.  Guess what I felt instead of overwhelm?  Yes.  Gratitude.  A clear head.  A lighter heart.

I hope you enjoy these slow photos

And tell me, what do you do when things are moving quickly?

Take a moment to scroll down & leave a comment.  How do you slow down?

Slowing down is simple, but it’s not always easy.  Especially if you have trauma, or anything approaching trauma, in your body, you know that despite your best intentions, it can be hard to slow down.

If this is true for you, I want to invite you to take a look at my individual work. Why not free yourself from these patterns? You can click here to read the page, then we can have a conversation to see if this is a good fit for your needs.



Creativity + Expression + Energy + Awareness = Unstoppable