Mobilizing for Action — Try On Some Calm

by Susie Amundson

I can’t believe the start to Amelia’s 2017. She is topping out on the frazzle gauge. You too? Well, let’s start with her first.

My friend Amelia and I finally had a chance to catch up on the phone this past weekend and she is in a full-on frenzy. As a new single parent, Amelia is juggling her teen daughter’s volleyball practices, screen time, and dance lessons while navigating her own job and new and “demanding” (not her word) boss. And her daughter’s father just migrated to New Zealand with his new family.

And for the final drum beat: Amelia’s old red Audi died last Thursday

In Amelia’s words, she is feeling “overloaded and trapped.” At times, she can barely breathe. Other times, she finds herself irritable and sad. And anxious. Last week she found herself screaming at the radio and banging the steering wheel when she listened to the news on the way home from work.

As I’ve looked around this past month, I’ve seen a lot of folks including myself trying to keep emotionally balanced, calm, and grounded. It’s not always easy these days.

Is calm even a reality in the spin of 2017? Or is it illusive? Or just overrated? Or more woo-woo? And really? Why bother?

Well first off, calm is good. A calm state allows you to expend a lot less juice and to keep up your energy reserves in life. You don’t wear out as fast.

And scientific findings tell us that in calm states:

  • Our attention increases and we are more productive.
  • We gain more perspective to see the big picture (at work, home, in community).
  • Our attention becomes broader, more inclusive, and sharper.
  • Our actions are more thoughtful and stem from a clear mind.
  • We are able to stay in the present, accepting feelings and thoughts rather than over-identifying with them.

Remember too, CALM feels a lot more pleasant and light in your body than anxiety ever will. Sound good? So where does calm live?

Let me assure you, you can’t think your way there. In the midst of frenzy and frazzle, the last thing your body and mind will respond to is your inner voice yelling “STAY CALM.”

But you can mobilize there. Through your body. By focusing your mind on your body, its parts, its wholeness, and the sensations within. By losing that storyline – that constant internal yammer yammer yammer in your head. By tracking your body’s sensations when you are doing things. By scanning viscerally for charged up energy in your body when you’re lit up. By coming to your senses when you are taking a walk or starting the car. By being in your body – right now.

All of us know about mindful meditation. We sit on a cushion, settle ourselves in, set a timer, and hope that our squirrel mind doesn’t carry us to 2020. Mindful meditation is known for calming the mind and body. Through science and even my own experience, I know it can be highly effective. But we’re not going there today.

Today’s tool is Active Meditation. Go ahead open the link and try it out! Check in with your body on the spot whether you are sitting on a flight, emailing a client, knitting mittens, taking a shower, or listening to the radio.

Active Meditation is when we come to our senses with whatever we are doing. When our mind drops into our body and curiously observes our experiences, accepts them, and refrains from judgment. It’s then, we find a content home place within us — a place of calm.

This Season of 2017 is begging for calm. Go ahead. Try some on with Active Meditation.

Warm wishes,
Susie