Mary Elaine Kiener, RN, PhD is the Founder and Creative Energy Officer (CEO) of ASK ME House, LLC, offering holistic solutions to improve well-being. Mary will be our guest on RN.FM Radio on Monday, January 21st, 2013, and we’re delighted to offer the following guest blog post for your edification and reading pleasure.
During the first meeting of the year with my two “mastermind” buddies, Sue started us off with a centering exercise. As we paused to become aware of our individual surroundings, she invited us to first envision a clear whiteboard.
While I then expected to hear (and what she probably did say) was that there was a box of shiny “markers” next to the whiteboard. However, what I heard (and then visualized) was a box of shiny “erasers”!
Wow! I could tell this was going to be an interesting exercise, as long as I could graciously welcome what was there for me in that moment.
Step One: Pause. Noticing freshly what’s here inside now.
Hmmm. There’s the whiteboard itself – bright, shiny, and undisturbed – almost like freshly fallen snow. And there’s the box of shiny, multi-colored erasers. And nothing else.
Step Two: Turn. Letting go of any lingering need to do the exercise “right”, so that I can “be with” what’s here for me now.
Swiftly, some memories come:
- From earlier that morning, as I had begun inputting more projects and action steps into the new software I was learning: worried feelings of “Oh my god, there’s SO much to do” and “Don’t make the list any longer.”
- From decades ago, while I was still practicing bed-side nursing, whenever I would be assigned to a patient in isolation: a still not-understood/un-resolved “something” about the process of having to “gown up” (including mask and gloves) to be inside the patient’s room for an undetermined amount of time.
Step Three: Listen. Acknowledging, welcoming and hearing the “inner guest(s)” that arrive.
I find myself acknowledging the long-term relationship I’ve had with the decades-old “isolation room” experience– and recognize that the “felt-memory of it all” often stops by for a visit when I also feel overwhelmed by things that “need” to be done. There’s a sense that it’s also connected somehow to the overall concept of “time management.” It’s evident that there’s more to be learned here – and I let this old friend know I really want to take the time to get to know it better as the coming days unfold.
As I turn back to the still-present feeling of “there’s too much to do”, I notice several interrelated aspects unfolding within it:
- There’s a difference between those activities I “have” to do and those I “want” [and/or “choose”] to do.
- The software’s byline of “Simply Get it Done” brings a sense of comfort and ease inside of me – especially combined with a thought of including only those projects to which I have freely committed(in contrast to the necessary tasks/chores of daily life).
- Ahh……now the new software-related project begins to feel more like an “Integrity List” that helps me assure to get those things done that I truly WANT to do.
Noticing a “felt-shift” inside of me, another memory fragment comes – of gently cradling my kitty, Sheba on the examination table during a New Year’s Eve visit to the veterinarian. Ahh….it begins to feel inside as if there is room for me to breathe and grow…..together…..with my “want-to-do” list.
As the envisioning exercise draws to a close (could it really have been only 2-3 minutes?), two new words come into my awareness about the whiteboard and the nearby erasers: “Spacious ease”.
What a delicious transformation from where I started the exercise. And, I take one more breath to thank my body-mind-spirit for yet another of its luscious gifts—in return for my taking a moment to “Pause, Turn and Listen” inside.
Perhaps you’d like to experience a transformative shift of your own about something current within your own life. As a “get-acquainted” gift, I’ve created a Focused Self-Care Exercise entitled Saying “Hello” to “Something,” available at http://askmehouse.com/files/2012/01/stresswell-GuidedExercise-SayingHello.pdf.
You can also find additional exercises at http://askmehouse.com/offerings/freebies/guided-focusing-exercises/.
 The Guest House by Rumi [ http://allpoetry.com/poem/8534703-The_Guest_House-by-Mewlana_Jalaluddin_Rumi ]
This is a fantastic article, Mary Elaine. I especially can relate as this week I am busy with many "things" that "have" to get done. Or do they? I love your reminders of the difference between what we "have to" do and what we choose to do. This can always bring us back to our energy, passion, and health. When we "do" from a space of enjoyment, choice, and desire- then we are embracing our health. We are following our purpose. We are letting go of the feeling of overwhelm while getting done what most needs time and attention. Thank you for your beautiful and helpful article!