Art Therapy Counseling
Stillness and action are relative, not absolute, principles. It is important to find a balance... in everyday life. In movement, seek stillness and rest. In rest, be mindful and attentive. ~Ken Cohen
This week as I connect with my friends and family, watch the news, and talk to my clients I am better understanding that we, as a culture, are currently floating in a sea of stress.
I won't list all the different issues that could be causing you to lose sleep at night: they permeate our everyday world and seep into us as water seeps into dry dirt. It is as difficult to stop this anxiety from infecting us, as it is trying to keep mud dry.
Enter one of my favorite neuropsychiatrists, Dr. Dan Seigel. Dr. Seigel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and author to many wonderful books that integrate neuropsychiatry, attachment, and mindfulness into concrete strategies to be kinder to yourself.
One of my favorite ideas of his is how we are individuals interact with the outside world. We have rivers of information and energy flowing within us in the form of sensations, thoughts, emotions, and behavior. This river flows into itself, building up to rapids when we are anxious or slowing to an ice floe when we are sleepy.
We can change the course of this river by changing our focus of attention, or change the speed with conscious breath. We can think of this river inside us as our mind, a new way of seeing ourselves.
The other river we need to be aware of is the flow between ourselves and the outside world. Information and energy flow into us and can affect us in subtle but powerful ways: alerting us to danger, softening our bodies around those we love, speeding up our minds when asked an interesting question.
This river that flows into us is how we experience being a part of our larger world.
Currently the river flowing into us is urgent, information packed, and often unsettling. If we view ourselves as a person trying to stand in the river we will surely be toppled.
However, we can always remember - we are water. As this river flows into us we can allow it to pass through us and out again. The river within us cannot be knocked over, swept up, knocked aside. A river is always moving, changing, finding new paths.
We are the river, and we are powerful.
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