Relishing a period piece film, bringing back a retro-look or discussing who graced your walls growing up–David or Shaun Cassidy, can be so appealing. What is it about the past that makes us long to return to that other time? Lately, its hard not to notice a growing focus on the 1930’s and 40’s with a good dose of the Civil War mixed in. Maybe we go back because its reassuring to see that no matter how bad it was, collectively we could get through it. A hard economy, fighting wars on multiple fronts and a radio-active Japan are all things that were seen before. Emotionally, maybe this gives us some footing when we think about the future. After all, a depression is worse than a recession and a World War probably brought about greater uncertainty than the wars being fought now.
While reminiscing has its gifts there is another place to spend your time that also buoy’s the spirit and releases stress. Being very aware of what your senses are bringing in this very moment is the experience we often overlook. “ Learning to stay” as the American Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron teaches takes discipline mixed with self-compassion. Allowing the mind’s focus to be filled with attention on the breath or scanning the body for sensation are practices that when done on a regular basis can do a lot to shift a person physically and psychologically away from stress.
While enjoying the past, consider the benefits of also making space for the here and now by visiting with your most basic, internal experience.
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