This is an article in a series describing the process I use to create a practice card. The practice I’m using to illustrate this process is one to “Call Back Power.”
Where we put our attention is where we put our power. You can have the best intentions and the most lofty priorities but ultimately, what we focus on is what gets our energy.
Attack of the “Dread Monster”
For example, the COVID 19 outbreak has made grocery shopping (something I dislike doing under normal circumstances) really stressful. When local grocery stores began limiting the number of customers who could be in the store in order to keep people at a safe distance, I freaked out.
On the day I planned to get groceries, my thoughts were consumed by all kinds of scary possibilities. I imagined a long line of customers winding around the parking lot. I worried that the errant which usually took about an hour would take an entire day. Although I was still in the comfort of my home, I was already filled with stress and dread.
Getting groceries was only one of several things I had planned for that day. Some of tasks on my list were things I was looking forward to doing. But I couldn’t feel any pleasure or anticipation because all I could think about was how awful it was going to be to get groceries.
I jokingly think of this as being attacked by the “Dread Monster.” But it’s not a joke. The Dread Monster has sucked up years of my life. Hours can pass and I’m not really living my life because all my emotional and mental energy is consumed by something that isn’t even real. I’m worrying over a future event that’s unlikely. I’m putting all my energy into something that I don’t have any control over.
It doesn’t have to be dread. I can be thinking about all the things I need to do. Or listening to the news and getting angry and worked up over some injustice in the world. What’s important is that my mental and emotional energy is somewhere other than in the immediate moment.
Mindfulness can be helpful here. There are times however when there’s a strong emotional edge and I struggle to remain mindful. Sometimes I need something that is more what I think of as being “industrial strength.” Sometimes I need to call in what I think of as my “support team.”
My teacher, Larisa Noonan, taught me a series of steps which gently enable me to notice where my attention is, to tap into spiritual helpers, and recenter firmly into the present moment; the place where I have power and agency. These steps became the foundation for the practice, Calling Back Power.