Three pots boiling on the stove for breakfast: eggs dancing a cha-cha in bubbles in one pan. Emerald green beet greens steaming in another one, and lastly, humble Yukon gold potato slices glowing cheery yellow in their pan.
Deep attention on life’s daily details of the present moment. Like an excellent photographer looking for the best angle for the picture, I note my immediate surroundings in search of goodness or beauty (overlooking the waiting pile of dirty dishes.) I note details with my senses, the colors, tastes, smells, textures. Giving thanks for small things, or large if they come to mind….and they are likely to come to mind on this good neural pathway of gratitude and immediacy.
Noting these things and giving thanks kept me in the moment and joyful, a nice start to the day. An anchor to the moment I’m living in, not flying off in a panic into the past or a sense of doom and gloom into the future. I learned this from a brilliant spinal surgeon, Dr. David Hanscom, author of Back in Control. This simple technique diffuses anxiety and depression and begins to build new neural pathways for the brain, so needed when we have been operating on broken circuits. You might check it out to see if it speaks truth to you. I’ve harvested a few treasures there.
This has become a life-giving habit over the past few months so that I am experiencing much less anxiety in my brain and body. I don’t wait for an ‘episode’ to attack me. I prepare a living cocoon of peace for all times, good and bad. It takes lifestyle changes in diet, exercise, prayer, quality of relationship connections, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically.
Depression or anxiety can creep up in any moment. A few days ago it felt like the black cloud was coming down on me—this is thankfully a very rare event for me now. I turned to my Safe Place, the Lord and asked for rescue. I left the house in a hurry to be outdoors, out into the sunny, cold, blue-skyed afternoon. I observed and savored the sunlight, the sky, the shimmery white clouds. After a few minutes the bad cloud lifted. It’s amazing how nature heals us. Then I gave deep attention to a moment of gratitude, just glad that God was with me. Peace sank into the tormented spots. Peace, what a gift!
Those dark moments are definitely coming with less frequency. My cycles of hormone imbalance sometimes now but not every day bring a challenge to late afternoon times until bedtime. Yet even this has greatly loosened its grip on my soul and body.
It’s an amazing if slow process of improving health…calling me to give my deep attention to my health.
Staggering numbers of statistics report the decline of overall health of Americans…but I have hope. We can be empowered to change that. No need to be victims surrendered to downward spirals of health.
When anxiety scurries through the walls of the mind, there are things we can do to get rid of it…to send it scurrying away. Can 2018 be a year for a new kind of attention, deep attention, that heals our many ills? How will you handle the challenges and opportunities of deep attention?