Updated: Aug 1, 2019
I decided instead of feeling overwhelmed and anxious I would just notice the light instead. Notice the shadows, the sun, the momentary changes in my surroundings. It just felt like a better use of myself and my mind.
So I started to just notice the light and photograph it.
Sometimes the temptation to wallow is to great and instead of noticing I fly off into a tail spin. But then sometimes I catch myself and decide that's probably enough of that... I wonder what's happening with the light?
The sun reflecting on the ice.
The tiny rivers flooding off.
The wide expanse of light in the sky, it goes forever.
One blade of grass casts an arc so long.
After a while I catch myself and I decide before I start the panic cycle that I will just check in with light first, and then when I have done that I will go back to my worry if I still need to...
Frost on the window.
My plant absorbing the sun.
The mid afternoon sun casting strange shadows across my living room.
I know that I can choose my thoughts, that I don't always have to go down the rabbit hole of my concerns. But if I don't fill my time with concern what will I do instead? A serious question when you have spent so much of your time and energy in this pattern. My answer right now is to instead....
Notice the light. Notice the sun. Notice the dark. Just notice.
A footnote for those wanting to notice as well...
One of the things mindfulness teaches us is that we are not our thoughts. That we are more than our thoughts, and that we can choose our thoughts. Brain science backs this up showing that our neural pathways fuse together in familiar and comfortable ways. So if ruminating on the stressful is what's comfortable, our brains will go there naturally. Choosing new thoughts interrupts this familiar pattern and starts fusing new alternative neural pathways.
1. Set an intention to interrupt unhealthy thoughts by noticing the light.
2. Notice the light, and even better notice it and then photograph it or sketch it to offer our brains something new to do instead.
3. Practice noticing light whenever you can, take pause, breathe and if possible try to creatively document it. The more presence and attention you bring to the light in any moment the easier this will become. Eventually this will become a familiar exercise and if you notice yourself locked in unhealthful patterns, you can simply invite your thoughts to take a break and instead- notice the light!
4. Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with your thoughts. Notice the gentle light.
The gentle light on my babies head as we rock together...