On the riverbank with your own best advice
Learn to trust and hold yourself to the perspective and advice you give those closest to your heart and to detangle the ever-changing river of our experience and examine the connection between our thoughts, feelings, and actions at a given moment.
My reflections & quick writing prompts:
In an effort to stick to my New Years intention of writing when it comes to me in a moment and not over-analyzing or planning for it - and posting out into the world when, maybe, it’s all come together coherently. Having said that, my main New Years intention is to learn to be there for myself in the best ways. In some ways these beautiful last 25 years have been training of sorts (for me at least) in how to be there for others: as a child for your parent, as a teen with friends and family, and in your college years with your friends).
Aspiring with this intention in mind, I'm holding myself to FOLLOW MY OWN BEST ADVICE. I mean the advice you give friends with your clearest head and heart in their hardest moments. I've told myself to write these clear thoughts down if I need to, but I'm generally reminding myself to reflect on my actions and process my own journey with this little avatar-of-advice on my shoulder.
What did I actually do today to move my body, as slowly as I must, to help clear my head or channel my energy?
How did I nourish my brain and body to deal with the stressors and experiences of the day, and how can I plan in ways to make it easier to fuel myself tomorrow regardless?
If I felt panic or an intense moment, did I reflect on it and how I can move on to feel truly calm and satisfied in my body and mind - or did I linger on how said feeling or moment's intensity was affecting me, letting it send tendrils out to change my patterns and ways of processing?
Am I being generous with myself and trusting my journey and decisions, believing in myself as I navigate the world and make decisions? Or am I letting myself linger on past decisions and experiences feeding a lack of self-trust and inhibiting myself to trust my future?
One quick meditation or thought loop I have been working more mindfully with myself is: how to see myself as beyond my emotional or physical state - on the riverbank, say, of a river as calm or tumultuous as it comes. We are not our thoughts or feelings or body failures.
One way for me to linger in this is to imagine myself dealing with the stimulus of life and my own emotional current in a churning river of this experience, and to pull back and identify what major flows are coming through -
What stimulus came from you environment that affects this river during the day?
How do the zaps of your day affect the flow?
What was the dominating feeling inside your body of feeling caught up in the current?
How does this feeling change as I imagine myself, drying in the air of the riverbank, and slowly breathing in deeply as I try to name what I see if I replay the whole experience from the new viewpoint?
For me, the real magic of this way of thinking, especially when my mind is ruminating more anxiously, comes in these chaotic moments - when I can pause and convince myself that it is useful for my brain and might help me better process. By aspiring to name and ultimately put words to my feeling and experience, using the river as an image of this internal flow, my breath slows as my mental gaze turns inward and these tide-changing experiences feel less present in my body. It’s the mental act of “tabling” the things that you’ve noticed really resonate within you, with the intention of reflecting on them later from a clearer mind-and-heart-set, and thus it no longer need dictate your current experience in your body and mind.
“Being on the riverbank with my own best advice,” so to speak, has been a rewarding and healing process for me. Ultimately, I feel I am building towards a level of mindfulness where my body can be more attuned to the heart-fluttering, breath-changing moments of positivity, so when they come along I pause mindfully as the river changes its swell and jump in to feel all the pleasurable intensity.