Beyond the kind of stillness produced by fear-freezing, most of us have the capacity to be still, at least for a while. Some less so. I’m curious about this ability we have, especially as it relates to focus and presence, given these are my areas of key concern and expertise.
Freelance journalist Hattie Garlick’s article in The Guardian is fascinating. Drawing on interviews with a living statue, life-drawing model, Household Cavalry guard, heart surgeon, gallery attendant and bird spotter, she reveals the different techniques employed to pay this kind of deep attention. Ranging from breath and curiosity, productive day dreaming, to robust mental discipline, each reveals their own particular method and style.
I was particularly struck by the common thread of paying profound attention to the breath and the felt sense of the body. That’s where I mainly focus my attention when with clients. There’s also awareness of how I am in relation to the person sitting/standing opposite, how they are in relation to me – it’s complicated! If you’re familiar with mirror neurons and liminal resonance, you’ll know our states of being influence one another. And not just humans, four leggeds as well. Perhaps you’ve experienced the difference between being with, let’s say, a dog or a cat when you’re anxious, and being with them when you’re relaxed? At the risk of going down quite a rabbit hole here, it’s this “sense” of one another that underpins working therapeutically with horses, usually referred to as equine therapy. (Do take a look at my colleague Angela Dunning’s website for more information).
So, if you’re curious about stillness, presence and focus, and how these skills may be useful to you, do reach out (in the knowledge that my practice is currently almost full and will soon have a waiting list).