Bed, at last.
Subject: Awareness (Influence)
Breathing exercises (Methods)
Meditation (Methods)
Author: Eliot, Eve
Pub Date: 03/22/2012
Publication: Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075
Issue: Date: Spring, 2012 Source Volume: 15 Source Issue: 1
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 282741116
Full Text: Now is your last opportunity to be fully alive on this day. Seize this moment to be completely awake ... vibrant with awareness ... then ... you can rest more fully, conscious of precisely where yon already are, right here, right now. Let this suggestion find its way into the spaces between your inhales ... your exhales. Take a moment to join your awareness with your Settle.

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Feel your body coming in for a landing on the mattress, your solid heavy bones pressing down noting the sensations of your body as it surrenders to gravity. Exhale. Notice what calmness there is in your body when you focus on your breathing ... inhaling ... exhaling.

Find the sense of a loving protector nearby, watching all this taking place in your awareness. Take a moment to organize whatever image arises when you hear the words "find the sense of a loving protector nearby." What comes? Breathe. Notice.

When there is calm in the body, the mind can often seem more noisy, tumultuous. The thoughts spin and swirl. Notice their movement. Look for the empty spaces between thoughts. What would an empty space between a thought feel like to you? Or look like? Or sound like to you?

Watch, and listen ... and feel your breath ... as images of the day move across the landscape of your inner vision. As thoughts shift from one to another ... is there a space ... is there an interval, a space between thoughts when there is no thought? Like the silent moments between the words I am speaking when there are no words?

Notice. Be patient. Be still. What is in the spaces between thoughts? Anything? What is in the spaces between the inhales...the exhales...that slight hesitation when the pendulum of the breath swings in the other direction? Is there unexpected calm? Well being?

Again, sense the weight of your body connecting with the mattress. Notice tightness in muscles. Then let go of tightness by exhaling deeply... sigh even. The muscles soften then. The bones feel heavier.

Generate gratitude" that you have a mattress...a bed, warm blankets or a cool room to rest in...gratitude filling your heart, whatever that means to you, widening in concentric ripples through your body. Find the sensation of breath. What part of the body moves with the inhale? PAUSE Where in the body do you detect the exhale? PAUSE Feel the surrender in the exhale ... the letting go of the breath with each exhale...the letting go of striving, of longing ... the letting go of the day. The day recedes into the background of awareness now. Now...there is more now in your awareness. More presence in the awareness of the body, still, the breath, moving.

Let go of determination to be, do, or have anything different. Be fully with this breath, now... And this breath, now... Surrender to the heaviness of your body at rest. Bring that surrender from your neck and shoulders into your arms, hands, and fingers. Into your chest ... your heart... down into your ribcage, your low back, and then into your abdomen, pelvis, legs, feet and toes. Notice how warm and relaxed the body becomes when it is touched by awareness.

Direct that awareness to flow evenly throughout the body. Imagine the outline of your body being colored in by awareness, right up to its very edges.

With each breath, with each exhale, the mattress seems more and more receptive, as though your body could make an imprint in it. Your head finds gentle support in the pillow as you settle into it. The backs of the legs find their own shape in the mattress and they rest. Ali the exhaustion flows out of them. The muscles of the abdomen soften toward the back.

There is ease in the neck, throat and jaw as the tongue rests lazily in the mouth. The tightness around the mouth softens and all the muscles in the face relax as well.

Finally, dedicate your day to another or many others. If you have had pleasure, wish that for others. Imagine sending pleasure, satisfaction, ease to another or many others. Here is how: begin by noticing that slight pause that occurs at the very top of each inhale, just before the pendulum of the breath swings back into the exhale. During that pause at the top of the inhale, form an intention to share with another whatever positive experience you may have had today.

With the next exhale, identify a person or many persons with whom you want to share something positive. Then imagine that person receiving what you have intended for them on their very next inhale as though with each breath you exhale, another receives what you wish for them when they breathe in.

To those without homes, wish shelter and comfort...and a bed. To those without food, wish the abundance you may have enjoyed today.

If you have had pain, intend for the suffering you endured to relieve someone else of their own. For example, you could think, "May the headache I have remove someone else's." Take a moment with this.

Take the time now to be aware of two breath cycles...an inhale, its pause, an exhale, its pause. And again. Make this dedication now. You have many gifts to share, more perhaps than you realize.

Fall into sleep connecting your heart with those of others. Exhale blessings to others with these, your last breaths of this day.

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EVE ELIOT is a psychotherapist, yoga instructor, meditation teacher, and contributor to Annals of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health. Her unique use of metaphor to teach mindfulness makes it easier for students to access the stillness available through meditation. Eliot is the author of the meditation CDs Meditations for Every Occasion: Operating Manual for Consciousness; Marrying the Moment: Meditations for Softening Hardship; First Aid: Meditations for Troubled Times; Tooth Fairy Speaks: A Dentist Appointment You Can Love; Contentment Meditations, and Holding Still to Free the Butterfly: Meditations for Squirmy Kids, and of the books Attention Shoppers: The Woman's Guide to Enlightenment Through Shopping; Insatiable: The Compelling Story of Four Teens, Food and Its Power; and Ravenous: The Stirring Tale of Teen Love, Loss and Courage. The meditations are available from iTunes and other sites as downloads and from CDBaby.com as CDs. Her Web site is eveeliot.com.
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