Monday, July 23, 2012

Stop, Drop and Breathe

The first step in the SURF model is to Stop. This is not to suggest you stop thinking, as if you could if you wanted to. A common metaphor for a busy mind is a monkey with its tail on fire. In the midst of a craving or even in the chaos that may proceed a craving it may seem as though the mind is on fire as it consumes your attention in trying to solve the immediate problem...PAIN. This could be the pain associated with physical withdrawal or the emotional pain resulting from a fear of loss or abandonment. It occurred to me that we could use stop drop and breathe to help better describe what it is we are talking about. The fire in the mind is fed by our attention much like oxygen feeds a traditional fire. By stop we mean stop feeding the fire and by drop we mean drop the thinking process in favor of the feeling process. The process of dropping our attention creates a vacuum that can be overwhelming. Kind of like the old adage of "Don't think about a pink elephant...good luck! The breath is the simplest and most effective way (for most)to fill that void. Practice is the key, Stop Drop and Breathe can be used whenever we notice the Monkey's tail is on fire. Aloha, Steve

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Curious Ocean

During a SURF the URGE group in Digby, NS recently we were discussing where people could regularly find a sense of peace and calm. Nature is always a popular response but in this group every person mentioned going to the beach. When we explored what it was about being on the beach that helped us achieve deeper states of relaxation and awareness, one gentleman described his perspective, "when I watch the waves and the water, it is always changing and something about that holds my attention".

Curiosity is half of the mindfulness battle with the other being a non-judgmental perspective. Curiosity is all about being present so that we don't miss the moment. This can be a challenge as we are so used to being externally focussed and stimulated. We may initially become easily bored during a simple SURFing session. As we practice noticing thoughts, feelings and sensations in the mind and body our awareness muscles grow. We are able to perceive more and more subtle movements or waves within. This can ultimately enhance our ability to remain present and curious. Just like watching the ocean or a campfire is dynamic and continuously changing so too is the internal world of our mind and body. There is a curious ocean of thoughts, feelings and sensations to explore....without judgment. More on that later.

Have you given yourself time to SURF today? Let me know how its going.