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[Oct. 5th, 2006|09:29 pm]
I was going to talk about this on someone else's journal, but I decided to make this a quick entry before I go to bed.

I've noticed that there are some self-destructive patterns that go on with me, and I thought I knew the two causes of them: depression, and ADHD. Depression sucks the hope and happiness out of the world; ADHD makes my mind jump from problem to problem, and keeps me from noticing the other self-destructive bits.

Then I realized there was a third problem, which, while possibly related to the other two, was completely distinct. I call it "disconnectedness". It's related to dissociation, but I think it's a fuzzier state. I don't quite feel separated... but I also don't feel connected.

If I was a skin picker, I could pick at my skin without noticing it consciously, even though I would notice the effects of it ever time I scratched/gouged/dug/whatever. When I'm in this state, I can eat without noticing that

1) I don't really enjoy the food, and
2) I'm not really *comfortable* any more. But I don't stop eating, until the food is gone.

How have I been working on this? Well, it's a mental exercise that I do that helps, but this is important: you can't do it while doing anything else. You're already "going through the motions" with the rest of your life, you see... if you do this, without putting all of your attention into it, you'll just be going through the motions again.

What I do, is I find a comfortable place, and I sit down (usually, I can't lie down because I'm de-focused enough that I'll fall asleep). Then, I slowly, patiently, and without any particular purpose, take four breaths, counting them off, and only when my body calls for air.

Breathe in, slowly, filling my lungs... wait until I need to breathe out... slowly think 'one', while exhaling. If my thoughts were a bell, the bell would just barely stop ringing as I finished exhaling.

Then I feel for my root chakra. It's at the base of the spine, and, if you're into energy work, folks say it's supposed to be red. But all I do is try to find it, not to visualize it. This is your anchor to the physical world, what makes you a being of the material world, not the spirit. This is, in one real sense, your body. (Not really. It's more the anchor of your body. But if you don't have a hold on this one, you don't really have a hold on your body.)

And then, I focus my awareness of my body. What do my feet feel like? Can I tell if my socks are threadbare, or soft? Are my shoes too tight? How do my pants feel? Can I feel them on my calves, back and front? How tight are they on my thighs? Do I maybe have my belt too tight? Is there a lot of stuff in my pockets?

Is my bladder or bowel full(NB: don't concentrate on this too much; unless your bladder is completely empty, thinking about it is likely to get you to realize you could empty it)? How about my stomach? Is it empty, full, acidic, or okay? Are my abdominal muscles engaged or am I slouching? Is my back in a natural position? Are my arms and shoulders comfortable? And my neck? My head?

What about my brain? Are my thought trying to rush away, even though I should now be in a relaxed, quiet state?

What do I smell, hear, and taste? What does the darkness behind my closed eyes look like? What will I see when I open my eyes?

If I'm trying to evoke some happiness, now that my body is engaged, I'll imagine something pleasant (no, it's not necessarily sexual... but there's nothing wrong if it is) dealing with my body, trying to feel it. Then, when I'm ready, I open my eyes, and usually, if I'm in the middle of something I don't like (eating too much, fiddling with my beard and plucking hairs out, fidgeting, or whatever), I'm now connected enough to recognize what I'm doing, and stop it long enough that I don't start it up again.

From: kightp
2006-10-06 05:41 am (UTC)
That's very much like an acting exercise I use - myself, and occasionally with people I'm directing - to drop whatever distractions are keeping me/them from being really present. Just that: clearing, grounding, and checking in with the body. And it has very much the same effect. It's not focusing on anything, but it's a way to make yourself ready and able to focus.

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[User Picture]From: spiritmoving
2006-10-06 08:07 am (UTC)
Great grounding exercise! What is often the most challenging is to become conscious that one is in that state and realize that this is when the exercise is needed. Any thoughts on how you manage that - what helps you notice that you are need of that exercise and initiate it?
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[User Picture]From: hopeevey
2006-10-06 11:29 am (UTC)
Sounds like a very good mindfullness exercise.
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