Be Here Now!
Photo by Isaleo
DID YOU KNOW? The average person blinks some 15-20 times per minute—so frequently that our eyes are closed for roughly 10% of our waking hours. Our brain enters a momentary state of wakeful rest to process information and to refocus. Resource (Also, a good read is 'blink' by Malcolm Gladwell, author of 'The Tipping Point'.)
Sometimes, in the blink of an eye everything can change. A sunny day changes quickly into a raging storm as the sky darkens and clouds thunder. Marcus Arelius, a Roman emperor from 161-180 BC and a Stoic philosopher says, “We shrink from change; yet is there anything that can come into being without it? Change is part of nature itself. Do you not see, then, that change in yourself is of the same order, and no less necessary than to Nature?”
Nature changes through a process of destruction and creation. The fire devastates a forest and a seed, lying doormat, cracks open and grows, triggered only by the intensity of the flame. The beauty of a geode is formed by fire and water heating and cooling a rock. So too, the human experiences this natural process of change. It is easy to welcome the changing seasons. This is a familiar cycle as one season changes into another. It is not so easy to embrace life when change is thrust upon us by the death of a relationship or by a virus that threatens our very being. Both are raging forces that impact the soul and challenge the body. Paradoxically, just as in nature, something old is being destroyed and something new is being created.
Now here is where it gets interesting. The brain resists change. The familiar is pleasant. The unfamiliar is disorienting. In the face of the familiar, the brain signals the body to relax and generates a sense of comfort based on the known of a past routine, a ritual or a tradition. In the face of the unfamiliar, the brain triggers the body into protective overdrive and generates a sense of anxiety based on the unknown future of experiences or relationships. This happens whether the change is internally motivated within my control or externally forced upon me beyond my control. When the familiar is disrupted by the unfamiliar, the Locator Brain goes into gear.
The Locator Brain goes into action to orient you in space and time. In times of change and uncertainty, we are caught between what was past and what will be future. Something old has passed away stimulating emotions of loss, grief and guilt. Something new has yet to come stimulating emotions of anxiety, fear and panic. Have you ever said, “I don’t feel like myself; I feel lost; I am anxious?” If you answered yes, then your Locator Brain is at work. Have you ever felt a sense of disorientation or confusion because you are torn between the demands of others and of yourself, then your locator brain is at full throttle. The key is living life to the fullest now. The question is how.
The Locator Brain orients you in time and space!
ABC Tool #7: Locate Now!
A – Awaken: Be Aware.
1. Ask yourself, “What is the source-time of this thought: past, present or future.” Clarify if this thought is generated from an experiential past memory or an imaginary future.
2. A Brain Tip: The locator brain is sensitive to the vortex of time. A time vortex is when the mind compares and contrasts a past memory to an unknown future. When this happens irrational thoughts may occur and anxious feelings may arise, unless the mind checks the facts and stays present.
B – Blink: Be Present.
1. Practice equal breaths. Focus inwardly on your breath. Put your fingertips of your right hand together. Put your fingertips of your left hand together. You will see two separate circles. Exhale as you bring them together so the fingertips of the right hand and left hand are touching. Inhale as you open the space with the fingertips touching. You will see one complete circle or a triangle. Exhale and close the space. Inhale and open the space. Repeat at least 7 times. You are welcome to do this with your eyes open or closed. What difference does this make: physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually?
2. Blink yourself awake. Let your blinks trigger equal breaths. Take a moment to follow your brain’s lead into a momentary state of wakeful rest or relaxation. Use your fingers to reinforce this equal-breathing break. Use it in a meeting when you hear a colleague drumming his/her fingers on a table or desk. Use it when you are stopped at a traffic light. In either situation, place your hands on your lap, fingertips together, eyes open and take equal breaths. It is amazing how you can breathe, listen and/or drive at the same time.
3. Take a blink-break. When you blink, keep your eyes closed for a moment and exhale. Count to 3. Open your eyes and repeat as needed to trigger a sense of relaxation.
C – Change: Be here now.
1. Find yourself.
a. Use your eye patterns. Locate yourself and be here now. Imagine a clock directly in front of your face about 2’-3’ in front of you. It is a circle with numbers from 1 to 12. The 12 o’clock position is at your forehead and the 6 o’clock position is at you chin. Your nose is the center of the clock. Now, move your eyes from the 9 o’clock position to the 3 o’clock position. Let them flow back and forth horizontally from one side to the other. Be sure to keep your eyes straight ahead and not let them drop below or above the horizon. Quickly, repeat this pattern for 1-3 minutes. Bring your eyes to the center of the clock. Exhale. Practice equal breathing as you refocus and find yourself located in the present. Think about the memory. Describe what is different: physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually.
b. Assist your Locator Brain when you get tripped, trapped or overwhelmed by a memory. Take a break from the past by awakening to where you are located now. The brain knows no time. Simply, it energizes the physical body for action, according to the mind’s eye recorded in images, sounds and sensations (feelings.)
c. If you find yourself trapped in an imaginary future of worst case scenarios where anxiety and fear overwhelm, please go to my blog entitled Words Have Power. You will find a different breathing and eye-movement strategy to switch your Locator Brain from the future to the present.
2. Know your destination. The mind is a time traveler. The brain is not. It seeks to locate you whether you are in the past or future. Be here now. Ask yourself, “What do I need right here and right now? Once you identify your need, act on it. Think of it as your destination. If it is food, eat something healthy. If it is peace, breathe it through your body. Words Have Power. Go to my previous blog and practice ABC Tool #4: Take Custody of your Mind!
Control the energy of your brain!
May the Fullness of the Present … of the Now Flow through You!