Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Five Finger Exercise*

*and no, its nothing pervy, and is completely unrelated to a five-finger discount. It's 100% legal and maybe even good for you.

**

The alarm rings every weekday morning at 6:45 am, unless M. pops out of bed before that. My eyes open too, but just long enough to register that I have a few more minutes to sleep while M. hits the shower and gets dressed. He talks to me while I'm still buried in covers. Sometimes I remember what I say, often I don't. He leaves the room to grab a bite to eat. I catch a few more winks, then growl out of bed to meet him on the couch. If I'm blessed with a morning that doesn't include a 7:30 am meeting, I might even be cheeky enough to grab another 10 minutes of sleep there once he says goodbye and the door shuts.

M says he's never met anyone that tried to suck more sleep out of a night than me.

This is because as soon as my eyes open, I reach for my phone to tell me what awaits. And as soon as I register to anyone in the outside world that my eyes are open and I am semi-coherent, my day begins, and usually snowballs from there.

I bet this is the case for every one of you, too. The day begins = you're off and running. I just happen to have the luxury of being able to cling to my last moments of sleep to stall that process for just a little more. So I take it.

But I hope that won't always be the case. I hope there will be a time, some time in the near future, that drifting back to sleep won't be an option. Because there will be a mouth to feed, tiny needs to be attended to...

So I better come up with a new plan.

In fact, I need a new plan anyway. The one I have brings me dangerously close to being late - Often - for places I need to be. And task avoidance via sleep only gets you so far.

Luckily, when I attended a conference a few weeks ago, in addition to getting to spend some delicious quality time with my girl Dresden, I actually walked away with some very useful stuff. Including this little gem:
Ok, what is this? You ask. This is your little pocket guide to just a few seconds of peacefulness, mindfulness and meditation you can fit into your day, especially those days when slipping back into the covers are not an option. I got this in a session entitled, "Managing Activist Fatigue," and while it wasn't exactly what I had been hoping for, this was a pretty nice takeaway. Here's how it works:

Sit down. Get comfortable. Calm yourself. Close your eyes. Breathe in slow. Hold it. Breathe out slow.

Take your next breath and as you do, touch your thumb to your index finger. During the hold, think of a time when you were physically tired, like exhausted, but in a good way. Like after a long hike, good run, full day getting shit done....you get the picture. Hold that image and feeling in your mind as you hold your breath. Breathe out.

In the next breath, touch your thumb to your middle finger and envision a moment when you felt unconditionally loved. With your partner, your dog, a friend, a sibling....just any moment where you felt surrounded by love. Hold it. Keep it. Breath out.

Next breath, thumb to ring finger, a time when you performed well - at work, at school, dealing with a situation at home....any time where you looked back on your own behavior and thought, dang, I done good. Hold it. Keep it. Breath out.

Lastly, thumb to pinkie, envision a beautiful place. A place that you've been to or seen that takes your breathe away with its loveliness or grandeur. Try to visualize as much of it as you can in that one breathe. Hold it. Keep it. Breath out.

Ok! Done! Open your eyes. And try to carry that feeling with you for as long as you can during the day. Stop and do it as often as you need it, strengthening the visuals you have or creating new ones each time.

And don't eye roll until you try it! I was mid-roll in the session and then we did it, and dang it if it didn't alleviate at least a little of the tension that had been building leading up to the weekend.

In fact, I did it this morning, right before I posted this post, to convince myself that yes, indeed, I did have a few minutes to blog before running forward in my crazy day.

Take this. Try it. And get on with your crazy days.

5 comments:

Smiling said...

love this idea! And luckily I even have recent memories for all these memories from the last week which is an added extra bonus for me tonight:) Thanks

Nadine said...

I like it, and I like you not being able to squeeze any more sleep out of the day too.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I love things like this. I'm totally game to try it today.

And I too wait until the last possible second to get out of bed; that moment where Josh is coming back in and saying, "really?"

Mo and Will said...

Lovely idea! Thank you for sharing.

Mo

Mabel Margaret said...

Good exercises.
finger rehab

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