This exercise is an adaptation from an Acceptance and Commitment teaching practice by Russ Harris (Oct 02016) called "Dropping the Anchor". CC3.0-NC-BY-SA
Practice first when you are not feeling stressed, so that you can use it when you need the extra strength.
Start by imagining your emotions swirling around you like a furious stormy sky: clouds, wind, movement. It's hard sometimes not to get swept up in the pain, fear and discomfort. But you can stay with it. The primary purpose of this exercise is not to distract ourselves from the storm. Because trying to force it into a bottle has just led to a lot of exploded bottles, and additional glass shards in the storm - making it worse.
So we will instead experience our feelings a little bit more at a time, through the visualization of a storm. Connect first with that imagery, and then acknowledge them as symbols of your difficult feelings.
With courage and recognition that your will has the ability to make changes in patterns of behaviour, we face the storm. In the midst of the turmoil and unrest, you create steadiness. You regain your center to regain control of your actions. Imagine these happening, so that you can engage in behaviour that leads to a more positive future.
The storm swirls. Acknowledge to yourself that you are hurting, label the feelings that are happening: anxiety, fear, guilt, etc.
You are still here in the core of this,
and the storm is happening to you.
It is not you.
Resolute to stay with it, you drop the anchor.
Press your feet down into the floor, grounding you.
Place your hands together in a way that is meaningful/appropriate for you: palms together, in prayer, just fingertips. My preference for this the hands clapsed one on top of the other, with the heels of the hands touching.
Push your hands together firmly, but not so much that it hurts in any way.
Create solidity and firmness, not a feeling of pain to displace the originating discomfort.
Visualize a structure made in your body, combining the posture of your arms and shoulder, with the pushing down of your feet, making you feel very steady and solid.
Exhale completely and sink into this heavy solidity, a psychic force of weight thudding down to the bottoms of your feet. For me, the image comes to mind of a great big cartoon lead weight, like the type dropped on Wile E Coyote. But use whatever dense, heavy thing in imagery you like best: an anvil, anchor, boulder, gold bar, asteroid, etc.
Down and solid amidst the storm.
Okay, now that we are fixed and steady in the present. Observe the storm.
Start with listening, what sounds do you hear first? What else? Look further.
Now what's in the background?
Between the sounds?
Open yourself to hear them all at once,
separate and together.
Thoughts, memories and feelings may continue to arise. Coming at you from out of the storm. Listen in order to acknowledge they are saying things, but just let them be. You don't have to answer them right now. But note that they are happening. Let the storm whip them away, as you rest here, solid. And be open to paying attention to others as they come.
Open to your physical sensations again. Your feet on the floor, your shoulders relaxing into the steadiness of your structure - when you are heavy and established again it is relaxed and can be effortless to maintain.
Now, what do you see? Notice things about where you are.
Try to open your visual attention so that you are able to inspect your peripheral vision without moving your eyes too much from the direction that you are facing.
What were you doing?
Acknowledge that you are exerting your will doing this exercise here,
in the midst of a storm, solid in its swirling.
What will you do now?
Slowly and intentionally,
do a small next step on what you wanted to do.
You maybe cannot do everything right now,
just start where you can.
If the storm rises up and is difficult to bear,
take a moment to breathe and visualize your solid shape in the storm,
slowly opening again to the storm's sensation,
the reality around you,
and your engagement in the actions of moving forward.
By opening our awareness to the experience of the many sensations that are happening in our emotions and reality - The storm and anchor plants you firmly in your present moment experience. This practice is so that you can engage in behaviour that leads to the positive action, and the ability to do so in the face of difficult emotions.
Are you willing to: being, feeling and doing
in the present moment?
If this practice works for you, it would really help me out if you could share it with a friend or with someone who might need it. Thanks, and best wishes. Aaron :)
"The single most powerful technique for extreme fusion" Russ Harris 2016 www.ImLearningACT.com retrieved from https://www.actmindfully.com.au/ January 2018
Aaron Ball. Recovered Academic. Grieving Environmentalist. Evidence-Based Transformational Coach. Electronic musician. Transrationalist.