This question hit me last week after I side-swiped a parked car while pulling into my driveway. I actually didn't realize what I had done until I got out and saw the scratches on my three month old car. I thought to myself, "Did I hit a car and not even feel it?" Yup, I sure did. As I walked to the street to assess the damage on the other car, I was instantly aware that I was not really "in my body." The business of my life and my over-thinking about current personal challenges had me completely in my mind.
Obviously I needed a bit of a wake-up call. And I guess it needed to be an expensive one to really get my attention...more on that later.
Many of you can probably relate to being so consumed with work, your personal life, and to-do lists that your mind is on constant overdrive. When we are in a mood of doing, figuring out, analyzing, pondering and planning, we utilize a ton of mental energy which disconnects us from the present moment. And as a result of this disconnection, our body becomes a machine to execute the tasks our mind commands rather than something we are aware of inhabiting.
Consider how much time you spend in your mind while your body is doing something else. You drive home from work on complete autopilot, you space out when someone is speaking to you, you rush through a meal barely tasting any of the food, you race through a parking lot never noticing the sunshine or the sounds of birds chirping, you read three pages in a book and suddenly realize you have no idea what you just read. Checking out of the present moment has become a nasty habit!
How about creating a new habit to check back in? Right now, I invite you to get back in your body by sharing a process that came to me after my "oops" check-out moment last week. Begin by sitting in a very comfortable position with your back supported and your feet on the floor. I encourage you to have bare feet so you can actually feel the texture of the ground beneath you (and it's even better if you can do this outside or somewhere in nature to really connect with the earth). Close your eyes and take five deep breaths holding each inhale for the count of five. As you do so, bring your complete awareness to your breath. If thoughts come in, that's okay. See the thought and then visualize it floating away on a white cloud as you come back to your breath. Each time the mind grips you, and it will, come back to your breath.
After the five breath cycles, just allow your breathing to be slow, deep and natural. Then bring your attention to your feet. Really feel your feet. Imagine that they are like suction cups gripping the ground and drawing in energy from the core of the earth. Feel yourself get grounded and present in your body. You can even imagine chords or ropes extending from your feet, connecting you to the earth. Keep breathing. Once you feel grounded, (and you may even feel the sensation of clicking back into your body), slowly begin to bring your awareness to the top of your head. Then imagine from the top of your head, a white column of white light connecting you to Source, the Universe, God or whatever you call it. Visualize your mind surrendering and opening. Keep breathing. Feel the expansiveness of your mind when it is absent of mental minutia.
Finally, bring your awareness to the balance of energy that is present in your body. Through your connection to your feet, you are grounded and rooted in your body. Through your connection to a Higher Consciousness, you are expansive and attuned. Give yourself some time to bask in this beautiful harmony. From this place, you can set an intention, say a prayer, or simply enjoy the present moment. When you are ready, you can bring your awareness back and open your eyes.
What I love so much about the process is the interplay between a rooting and expanding energy which are fueled by the breath and accessible via the present moment. It gets us back in our body through grounding us to the earth while offering the opportunity to go beyond our mind.
And just in case you are wondering, I did have the ethical debate inside my head of "do I or don't I leave a note?" on the car I hit. The bumper already had quite a bit of damage- most of which was not from my car, so did I really have to leave a note? The person would probably try to get me to pay for more than I was responsible for. I made a case for both sides in my head for about an hour and finally realized that it would be completely out of integrity for me not to leave a note. So I did. And I waited. The note remained on the windshield of the car for four days and each day I just held the intention that the matter would be sorted out with grace and ease.
Finally, I got a call from owner of the car. She sounded pretty upset and I could feel myself getting upset. I did a "quickie" grounding visualization which supported me in being calm and present for our conversation. I listened and then spoke slowly while making what I thought to be a very fair offer. She wanted more. I held my ground (and I am noticed it's much easier to hold my ground when I am grounded!) and within about three minutes, she agreed to my offer.
As I wrote out the check to her, I reframed what may have been perceived as a dumb mistake resulting in financial loss to a lesson resulting in gaining a reconnection. I needed a nudge to get out of my head and into my body. So I ask you, what has been nudging you? Are you lost in your mind? Don't wait for an accident or emergency to pull you into the present moment, take yourself there right now.
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