Here's the deal:
I'm trying to, once again, perform a Cranial Rectal Extraction and come up with some decent ideas for this space, but it's getting tough. Writer's block is coming on hard. Facing a divorce, a move, and having bouts of "Woe Is Meeeeee!" will do that to you. God's got this. I gotta calm down. But writing anything in any cogent fashion is tough.
Therefore, I'm going to run through the material from the stuff I wrote in "A Coach For Your Heart" this week and maybe a few more, depending on how I'm feeling. I think this stuff is pretty good, if I do say so myself.
Excerpt From: “A Coach for your Heart.” Apple Books.
CHAPTER ONE: THE HEART'S FOUNDATION
Key One: Be Present
Section II: How It Works
Start by wrapping your head around this quote by Eckhart Tolle, “All you really need to do is accept this moment fully. You are then at ease in the here and now and at ease with yourself.” Several people I know use this method, whether they are driving or on the phone or standing in line at the grocery store. When you follow their example, you are taking the first step toward living in your heart.
First, find a phrase that helps you move toward the present. Father Greg Boyle, head of Homeboy Industries, uses a mantra from a Broadway play to become present. His mantra is “Now. Here. This.” As in, Be “Now,” Be “Here,” See “This.” Find the words that suit you best and put them somewhere you can see them. I wear a bracelet on my wrist, with the words, “Exhale Gratitude” where I can always see it. You might decide to make your mantra your cell phone screensaver, tape it to your fridge, write it on your mirror, or something else.
Secondly, focus on everything else around you. Take an inventory of everything you see and hear. You could even say the “You could even say the things you see out loud. If you’re driving, for instance, just notice the cars. Observe the billboards, maybe even read them. And make an observation like “interesting billboard,” “nice car,” or something along those lines. These statements just identify that you are giving your attention to the world around you, not to your worries or inner monologue. Do the same thing when you are in a store. “That lady has a lot of cabbage.” “That guy parts his hair on the side.” “They play a lot of music from the seventies overhead.”
Now you’ve got the attentive part. The calm comes from doing. Your focus is outward. It’s being observant. It isn’t on you, your schedule, or anything that has to do with you. Just seeing, just paying attention, just noticing the things around you, pulls you away from your stress and puts you into the world; your focus is outward, not inward. This is where calm kicks in. When we think about everything we are engaged in–all the action, the lists, the endless stressors in our life– we stay tense. Putting our focus elsewhere, just noticing life outside of ourselves and truly focusing on the world around us, calms our tension.
“Some parts of life–even the most mundane, like doing the dishes–can be rewarding when fully present and accepting. When we’re truly present, we see the task, and only the task. We’re not thinking “I hate these gross dirty dishes, I want to be sitting, watching TV, reading, sleeping, anything but this!” Instead, we feel the warm water, we see the piece of food being rubbed off by the sponge, rinse, examine, and repeat. By not attaching anything to the task, there is not resistance to it, there is only the task. This, inherently, is less urgent, and less agitated. Thus, every task becomes an opportunity for calm.”