Follow Your Shoulder

Time Required:  
3 minutes at the start of the day
3 minutes at the end of the day
You’ll need:
an intention
awareness of your body part
Body Position:
Situational Mindfulness - go about your typical day

Steps:

  1. At some time soon after waking up, take a few breaths to get grounded.  You can be sitting, standing or lying down for this step. It can also be helpful to close your eyes.
  2. Do a body scan to see which parts of your body are “speaking” to you.  Do you feel any tension, or tingle, or warmth anywhere? Select one of these parts of your body to follow throughout your day.  Let’s call this body part your “sidekick” for the day.
  3. If you can reach your sidekick, touch it with your hand.  Sense if it feels warm, cool, or neutral. Notice any other sensations that emerge.
  4. Send your breath to your sidekick.  This can sound weird, but do not take it too literally.  Close your eyes, pretend you are a balloon. Breathe in, and imagine the breath wafting to your sidekick.  Take a few breaths.
  5. Set an intention in your mind to connect with your sidekick over the course of your day.  
  6. Now, go about your day as you normally would.  
  7. Throughout the day, check in with your sidekick.  What sensations do you feel? See if you can go beyond emotional words (like anxious, nervous) to use descriptive words (fluttery, tight, warm, cool, tingly, tense, painful, numb).  Do this throughout the day, whenever it occurs to you. There is no minimum number of checkins required. However, for those of you that want a prompt, use a gentle-sounding alarm to check in.  
  8. At the end of the day, see if you noticed any trends about how your sidekick felt throughout the day.  Could you identify any causes for those different sensations? Did joyful situation cause tingly sensations?  Did stressful situations cause warmth? These observations are data points for you to understand how various experiences are being expressed through your sidekick.  

Note: This exercise can be repeated on various days with different parts of the body.  Each day brings with it new observations and you deepen your understanding of how all your sidekicks react to various stimuli.  

Reference / Inspiration

Situational Mindfulness : Awareness that occurs during a typical part of one’s day, without vacating one’s life for meditation.

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