Through mindfulness we can develop willingness and capability to observe ourselves in any aspect of life be it relationships, work, creativity, what we think and how we feel. Mindfulness can give us more freedom from strong negative beliefs and painful emotions. That’s because it affords us the possibility of being conscious rather than running on automatic.
It may be easier to understand how meditating quietly while sitting still can relieve stress than to imagine how actively living life with dual consciousness opens up potential for choice and change. Even in the midst of challenging and overwhelming situations we can become the observer of our own experience. This is what is meant by dual consciousness: one part of us is having the experience while another part of us is observing. The part of us that is observing is openhearted, open minded and curious. Just like the ideal parent or therapist, creating the ideal environment for growth.
There has been solid research to substantiate that the practice of mindfulness helps people with all sorts or issues, including physical and emotional distress. This being true, it’s also quite possible that a person can do their practice and become quite ungrounded or overwhelmed with certain aspects of their lives.
One of the most powerful influences in our momentary experience is body experience. Yet this is the part that we often pay little attention to. What is sensed in the physical body forms the foundation of how we feel. It also corresponds to the low brain: essential for survival and the foundation of the higher brain structures. Read moreNancy
Life is demanding; that’s for sure. There are so many things to look after, problems to solve, things to fix and things to learn. It’s also a natural part of life that illness, accidents and other unfair events occur! When trauma memory lives on in the form of strong feelings life feels even more demanding that it would otherwise be. Read moreNancy
When we have tolerated a long-term discomfort it’s easy for us to believe, “It’s just the way that I am”. Mary was used to feeling anxious so she thought of it as part of her personality and had a variety of strategies for coping with it. She would talk to friends for soothing. She would keep her home very orderly to create some calm inside. She would make detailed plans to feel that things were under control. The strategies helped but did not resolve the anxiety. Read moreNancy
We can simply get in a comfortable position and notice everywhere that our attention goes. Sitting back and following the pattern of shifting attention is like watching a natural phenomenon, like the way the wind blows the tree or the river moves. The mind may go from thought to emotion to body sensation to sounds in the environment. Just following the path of your attention to see where it goes is a great mindfulness process. Read moreNancy
“Where attention goes neuro-networks grow” is one of the basic rules of how the brain can change itself. It is also true that where attention goes, body sensations grow. Read moreNancy
When we are in any kind of intolerable emotional pain, we are ‘beside ourselves’.
Language can be so helpful! That means that it’s not the real me that is in so much suffering. Overwhelming experiences: those of childhood, of life threatening experiences, of too much to integrate and process…can be ‘remembered’ in our emotions and body sensations even though we are not thinking about them at all. It is so helpful to understand suffering as a held and trapped remembrance of an overwhelming experience. Read more
Studies are showing that Mindfulness processes are highly alleviating for emotional pain. Just as we recoil from physical pain as an automatic response, it’s natural that our response to emotional pain is to want to get rid of it. Read moreNancy
So much about learning mindfulness is really about changing our relationship with ourselves. If we are observing ourselves with openness, curiosity and compassion then we are in a profoundly healing relationship with ourselves. Read more
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Nancy Christie BFA, CYW
170 The Donway West
North York Ontario
Certified Sensory Motor Psychotherapist Advanced Practitioner
Member Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Therapy
Member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario
Clinical Member of the Ontario Society of Psychotherapists