Category Archives: Wellness

Be True, Be Kind, Pay Attention!

This week I was reading the text of a Commencement Address by Carrie Newcomer titled “Be True, Be Kind, Pay Attention,” which she shared in her book The Beautiful Not Yet: Poems, Essays and Lyrics, (published in 2016 by Available Light Publishing and available at www.carienewcommer.com).Her address touched me deeply and connected with wisdom I have received through the wonderful practice of Interplay (www.interplay.org) developed by Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter. Her words resonated with several of what Interplay calls Body Wisdom Tools. They especially connected with my understanding of the tool named affirmation, that invites us “to look for the good in any situation”; and the tool called body data, body knowledge and body wisdom, that calls us to “notice, notice, notice what is happening in us body, mind, heart and spirit in any given moment”; and the tool of internal authority, which invites us to “trust what we are noticing”. Her words also resonated with an insight from my Appreciative Inquiry teacher Rev. Dr. Rob Voyle who teaches that when we pay attention to what we deeply love to do, it is a key to discovering our own life’s purpose. The more I ponded Carrie’s words and the wisdom from these other sources,  the more I wanted to share my reflections on them.

I think now more than ever we need to be true, be kind and pay attention! And so it is that the following poem emerged.(those lines that are noted in quotations are direct quotes either from Carrie’s speech or from one of her songs) After you read it let me know what it sparks in you.

Be true

Be true to your heart

Be true to your deepest knowing

Be true to what you love to do

Be true to what brings joy and gratitude and hope

Be true to what makes you shine

Be true to what makes you smile

from the very depth of your soul

Be true to what makes your heart sing

Be true to the gift of who you are

Be true to the gift of all that love is bringing to life in you

Be true to your dreams, even if they change shape

a time or two along the way.

Be true and let beauty lead you home

Be true and trust your heart

Be true and trust your own deep wisdom

Be true and trust your soul to be your guide

Be true and listen for the whispers of grace

and the brush of angels wings

Be true to your heart and discover

ALL that you are born to be and do

Be True!

Be Kind

For kindness is love in action

Be kind to yourself “as kind as you would be to a close friend”

Be kind to your family

Be kind to your co-workers

Be kind to the clerk in the store

-even if he isn’t efficient,

-even if she isn’t friendly

-even the ones who are not kind to you!

Send kind thoughts to the driver who cuts you off in traffic

Send kind thoughts the person who annoys you

-because he always has to have center stage

-because she never pays attention

-because he is always putting someone down

-because she won’t listen to your point of view

-because he values things you don’t understand

-because she sees the world through different eyes

Be kind in your thoughts

Be kind in your words

Be kind in your actions

Be kind even as you are standing up for what you believe

Be kind because kindness matters

And “When forgiveness is hard to find,

help me at least to be kind!”

Be Kind!

Pay attention

Notice what brings ease and joy and grace to you

Notice what evokes a deep smile from a stranger or a friend

Notice and trust what you notice

See the resilience of the human spirit

Recognize the breath of Life and Love

-in the wind

-in the sun

-in the rain

-in the flowers

-in the touch of a lover

-in the laughter of a child

-in the comfort of a friend

-in the kindness of a stranger

Pay attention to what quickens your pulse

Pay attention to what triggers your fear

Pay attention to what takes your breath away

and fills your heart with joy

Pay attention to what seems like a mistake

and ask what lesson it can bring

Pay attention to the questions that rise from your soul

Pay attention to your life,

so you can live it

Pay attention to your life,

so you can be the best version of who you are

Pay attention to what you love and do it

Pay attention to your heart so it can guide you

Stop

Look

Listen

See

Hear

Be

Pay attention!

Be true, Be Kind, Pay attention

And live, truly live!

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Easy Focus is NOT Always Easy!

out-of-focus-1

Easy Focus is NOT always easy!   Man, did I discover that last night! It was the first night of our eight week Online InterPlay Body Wisdom Tools class. My co-teacher, Sharie was coming online from her home base an hour or so from Seattle and I was coming online from my second home base outside of Boston. Our 9 participants were joining us from 9 different locations -6 in various time zones in the USA, 2 from Australia and 1 from India! This was a first for almost all of us. But, because I was the one who had done a very small amount of online teaching, Cynthia (co-founder of InterPlay who had asked Sharie and I to teach the class) dubbed me as the “technical expert”! Hahahah. I think that’s where most of my distress -the opposite of easy focus-  originated.

Throughout our planning and preparation  process Sharie and I kept reminding one another to breathe deeply, sigh often and do lots of shaking of our arms, legs, bodies and voices (all good ways to foster easy focus!)! Even so, even a cursory scan of my body data told me that I was anxious. So, not only did I do my part in preparing to guide us through  the content  we would be covering, but I read documents and watched training videos so that I thought I knew every in and out of how to help our participants get signed on, use the meeting controls and have a positive experience.

I was not, however, prepared for what to do when every word almost any of us spoke reverberated with an echo traveling down a long tunnel! And what was the Body Wisdom Tool we were teaching? Easy Focus, of course. Easy Focus, that way of seeing the big picture and holding things lightly and playfully! Easy Focus, that encourages us to savor and enjoy our experiences. Easy Focus, that encourages us to relax our muscles, soften our attention and just be in the moment. But how how how  do do do you you you do do do that that that when when when every every every word word word echoes echoes echoes????

Well, we took lots of deep breaths with lots of sighs and lots of shaking. We danced. We played. We laughed. We practiced softening our focus in a guided meditation that Sharie led. And we noticed what all of that felt like in our bodies. Here are some of the things folks said they noticed:

I felt a progressive softening in my face and body…

I was more a part of everything

I was less tense

 I was more forgiving to myself.

I was allowing myself to float.

Easy focus increases my sense of connection to all and everyone that is

Amazing! By playing and practicing the things that help to bring easy focus….. we somehow found easy focus even in the midst of the echoing. And just as we moved from our exploration of the Body Wisdom Tool of Easy Focus to our exploration of the Body Wisdom Tool of Affirmation the echo stopped!!!! That’s right just as mysteriously as it began, it ended!

As I pondered all of this I began to think how life can imitate art… that is how when I remember to do what brings me to that place of playful ease called Easy Focus, even and especially when easy focus seems hard to achieve, then wa-lah there it is -Easy Focus! And with Easy Focus comes peace, ease, playfulness, creativity, and JOY!

Take a deep breath…. let it out with a big sigh…. shake out your right arm…. shake out your other right arm…. shake out your right leg…. shake out your other right leg…. shake out what you are sitting on…. shake out your voice…. repeat as needed!

 

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