Recently I came across one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard in a long time.
Learn to Rest in Your Wait Time.
One of the tools I use to come back to the present moment from time to time is Two Questions. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably come across the Two Questions. But just as a little refresher here’s the lowdown.
The Two Questions are a way you can quickly bring yourself into the present moment by turning your attention to your body and your breathing.
(No meditation cushion required)
The First Question is “What am I touching?”
Right now, without changing or judging anything, notice what your hands are touching. Now notice what you’re touching with the bottoms of your feet, the backs of your thighs, your buttocks, your back, your head, and your arms. You touch with all parts of you. Noticing what you’re touching is a very quick way to be aware of your body and your relationship to your environment.
The Second Question is “Where is my breathing?”
Right now, notice where you feel your torso moving as you breathe. Realize that just paying attention to your breathing will affect it—but no worries. Do you sense movement in your chest? Your belly? Your sides? Your back?
Bringing attention to your body and your breathing will instantly bring you into the present moment—because your body and your breathing exist in the present moment.
Your mind is the time traveler. It takes you on trips to the future to plan things and lets you ponder your past actions. But you can also use your mind to bring you into the present moment by choosing where to put your attention.
The Two Questions are an easy way to do that.
Take the question “What am I touching?” again. Make it even simpler. Just focus on things you’re touching external to you.
The floor, the seat, and back of the chair, maybe the desk if your arms are resting on it. These things are your support.
I’ve found that taking a moment to be aware of what’s supporting me, allows me to actually let those things support me.
The awareness is enough for my body to soften a bit, release some excess holding without collapsing and take full advantage of what’s there to support it.
This is all well and good you say but when am I going to have the time to pay attention to this?
That’s where waiting comes in.
Do you hate to wait? I do. Sometimes.
Other times I see waiting as free time in which to sneak a moment of awareness of what I am touching and let it support me.
(BTW, my body loves it when I do this)
You wait in an annoyingly long line to buy a cup of much-needed coffee.
Guess what? You can take that time to be aware of your feet touching the floor supporting you: your legs, your pelvis, your back, neck and head.
(and perhaps you don’t need to brace your legs or squeeze your butt to stand. You can soften a bit, release some excess holding and take full advantage of the ground supporting you).
In stressful rush hour traffic on a snowy winter day, you end up at a standstill waiting for the cars ahead of you to move for what seems like for-ev-er (probably only a minute or so).
Guess what? You can take that time to be aware of the seat supporting your back and legs and the steering wheel supporting your hands and arms. And then there’s the floor supporting your feet.
(and perhaps you can let your lower back go, stop tensing your legs and release that unnecessary grip on the steering wheel. You can soften a bit, release some excess holding and take full advantage of the seat, the steering wheel and the floor).
Oh, and then there’s the dreaded hold. You’ve got to make that mammogram appointment, so you’ve really no choice but to wait for the scheduler to get to you while that annoyingly bad background music plays over and over and over. At least you’ve got speaker phone now, so you don’t have to hold the phone up to your ear as you wait.
Guess what? By now you know the drill. What can you do in that wait time?
(Be aware of your support. Let it support you. Just a bit more. Allow yourself to soften, release some excess tension and take full advantage of whatever is supporting you).
So, if you’re wanting to feel better in your body and have less tension in your day, re-engineer your wait time into rest time.
Keep the phone in your pocket. You can check Facebook later.
Notice what you’re touching. Realize that it’s supporting you.
And let it.
Your body will thank you for it.