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Agility

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Art in Action is a weekly post: a short, 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.

For those of you who have been stationed on Neptune for the past 18 months, today is the U.S. Presidential election. There is no doubt that I will spend much of this highly charged day asking the question that Eckhart Tolle suggests that we ask ourselves regularly: What is my relationship with the present moment?

I am certain that during this day I will feel all kinds of emotions, and this is a question that is appropriate to ask at all kinds of times in a variety of situations, not just super-dramatic ones. This is a powerful question to ask whenever I’m feeling

  1. Afraid
  2. Worried
  3. Excited
  4. Hopeful
  5. Angry
  6. Irritated
  7. Impatient
  8. Bored
  9. Distracted
  10. Upset or rattled in any way

Whatever is going on in my experience – whether my hair is on fire or my panties are in a twist, whether I’m bouncing with anticipation or zoning out in boredom – check out what you’re bringing to your relationship to the present moment. The three most helpful things to check into are

  1. Breath
  2. Body
  3. Thinking

And not necessarily in this order. I usually start wherever the sensation or awareness is strongest and investigate from there.

Breath

What is my breath doing? Is it shallow or ragged? Am I holding it? Am I laughing or making sound? Is it deep and full? What happens if I make a conscious choice to change my breathing?

Body

What physical sensations am I experiencing? There may be big sensations but there are always something you can feel and check into. Am I bracing or tense? Is my jaw clenched or my stomach tight? Does my heart feel fluttery or my throat like I want to squeal? What happens when I make a conscious choice to pay attention to sensation without attaching any story to it?

Thinking

Where are my thoughts going? Am I worrying that something will happen or won’t happen? Am I envisioning the smoking wreckage of my future or a glowing tower of eternal bliss? Do I believe that whatever is happening will be so forever?

This practice of asking the question – What is my relationship with the present moment? – can be used any time to deepen our awareness in the moment and remind us of the choices that are always available. It can be helpful when I feel when I feel upset and angry, disconnected or neutral, when I feel excited and giddy.

Who knew that watching election returns could be a spiritual practice?

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