Reconnecting with Self
Who am I? What do I want? What would make me happy in this life? What do I value, and am I living my life in accordance with those values? For many of us, these are overwhelming questions to tackle and it’s hard to know where to start in developing the answers. As an initial step in the process of reconnecting with Self, it is helpful to bring your awareness back to the present moment. If you are living in the future (What will happen next? How will things work out? What will happen if I do x, y, and z?), then you are living in anxiety. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are overly focused on the past (Why didn’t that relationship work out? What should I have done differently in that situation? Why did they treat me that way?), then you are living in depression. The only option for being fully connected, engaged, and happy is to be present in this moment right now. Where do you start and how do you become present when there are a million things on your plate, a long to do list for the day, and you’re rushing from one thing to the next?
Connecting to the Body
You can start the process by checking in with your body. How does it feel in your body right now? Settle in, close your eyes, and feel into the different areas of your body, scanning yourself from head to toe. Are there areas that are hot, cold, warm, or cool? Are there areas of your body that feel tight, restricted, painful? What areas feel open, at ease, strong? Notice your breathing. Breath is the pathway for connecting to the body. Without judgment and by bringing your awareness to your breathing without trying to change it, is the breath shallow or deep, is the inhale filling your chest or your stomach, is your breathing slow or fast, does the inhale last longer than the exhale or vice versa? Is there more energy in the inhale or the exhale? Start to bring gentle movement into the body. If you noted any areas of tightness, can you start to stretch and relax those areas? Pay particular attention to the shoulders, neck and jaw. These areas of the body hold a lot of our stress throughout the day. Can you start to connect with a sense of gratitude and recognize the wonder that is your body, its strength, capability, and power?
Incorporating the Senses
Start bringing awareness to your senses, noticing the external stimuli coming into the body. What can you hear in this moment? Is there a low hum of the refrigerator in the background? Do you hear the neighbors’ kids playing in their backyard? What can you smell? Can you pick up the faint scent of flowers from the vase across the room? Are you smelling the lotion you put on earlier in the day? What can you feel? Are you sitting in a comfortable chair? Can you feel the parts of your body that are rooted on the earth and supporting you? How do your clothes feel on your body? Are the fabrics soft and pleasant against your skin? Do your clothes feel comfortable or are they feeling restrictive in any area of the body? Is there anything you can taste right now? Can you pour yourself something to drink or take a bite of a snack and bring your full awareness to the texture, how it feels in your mouth and how it tastes?
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the demands of the day and start operating on autopilot. By practicing mindfulness, bringing your awareness back to the present moment, you are able to let go. You let go of the expectation of how things are supposed to be. You let go of the list in your head of what needs to be done. You let go of the pressure of the day, and you relax into the experience of just being. You remind yourself of the pleasure, simplicity, and expansiveness of being human, being alive, and simply being aware of what is, just as it is. Curiosity is your guide in this journey of rediscovery of the Self. Your focus has shifted inward and you are able to tap into the power and wisdom of the body and your sense of intuition.
Danielle K. Price, LMFT