Art in Action is a weekly post: a simple, practical guide to applying the ideas and principles in the Focus Pocus posts to your body and life. As always, I love to hear from you about how you use them and how you translate the ideas into action.
When I started writing the Support ~ Seen & Unseen post this week, I was struggling some. It had rained in Charlottesville every day for a zillion days (or 24-ish, but still) and I am processing the bittersweetness of our boy’s college graduation and preparing a presentation for my 30th college reunion (?!). I was feeling the paradox of heaviness and disorientation of time zooming past. I simultaneously felt like I couldn’t catch my breath and that I needed to put my head down.
When I started thinking about support, though, my perspective shifted. I thought about support first in my body but it quickly spiraled into all the things and organizations and people that support me all the time. It’s easy to get caught in concern about what’s not working – my knee that suddenly hurts for no reason, the washing machine leaking, the person who says the not-so-nice thing – but without much effort, I can quickly see all the things that are supporting me and helping me right now.
The Art in Action practice this week is to simple, just one step: pause during the day and ask yourself,
“What is supporting me right now?”
Do it a few times during the day and see how broadly you can expand your vision for what is offering you support in any moment.
Here are a few examples of what I’ve uncovered…
Standing in my bathroom brushing my teeth, I am supported by:
• My teeth and the inventor of toothpaste
• The designers of the modern bidet
• The city water system
• The makers of soft towels
• Whoever figured out that if you put that soft stuff on the outside of an elastic band, it doesn’t get all tangled and rip your hair out by the roots.
Driving in my car to teach my class, I am supported by:
• The city for creating the road infrastructure and all the people who keep the roads maintained
• My fellow drivers for obeying the rules of the road to keep us all safe
• The library where I returned a book which helps me to continue to learn … for free!
• My eyes and ears and brain that allow me to drive and follow the convoluted signs around construction
• The fitness center that has employed me for 16 years
Getting into bed, I am supported by:
• The person who built my bed (who also happens to be next to me in it!)
• The maker of memory foam
• The writer of the excellent book I’m reading (which I recommend to everybody)
• The maker of the meditation app I use (which I also recommend to everybody)
• My autonomic nervous system which will conveniently keep me alive while I sleep
• And of course, sleep
The practice of identifying what supports me can look a lot like gratitude and I am grateful for that support. But more than that, seeing clearly the support that is around me helps me feel less alone and more connected to the world. It reminds me of the Invisible Net of Love that surrounds us all.