Downshifting into a State of Calm

gearshift picture

∞ Rest

 

Slow is smooth…smooth is calm.

Stone here.

The phrase actually goes, “Slow is smooth…smooth is fast.” In law enforcement and military, it’s drilled into your psyche during firearms training.

Weapon in hand, arm extended, sights lined up, a sharp, steady, slow focus makes all the difference between clean shots, center mass and far-and-wide WTFs. The original mantra is meant to downshift us, removing the building panic that can overwhelm and trip us up, leading to mistakes–sometimes fatal ones.

Earlier this week, I lost patience with my computer–yes, I know, not exactly life or death–and rapid-clicked the damn slow mouse until the system froze. Frustrated, I took a deep breath, exhaled, then reminded myself, “Slow is smooth…smooth is calm.”

That’s my new mantra.

Focusing on a downshifting mantra helps us slow down and regain control in an instant. Typically, when it’s needed the most. A redirect into mindfulness.

What’s yours?

Just a couple of Zenful Lifers,
~ Kat & Stone

 

© 2017 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion

Hidden Beauty in a Shifted Perspective

 

Blog Post Pic of Old Barn Ready to Fall Over

∞ Love
∞ Home
∞ Rest

 

Stone: How do I look at the world and not want to fix everything?

Staring out the window at one of a handful of problems in our hundred-yard sightline, it was a question asked a few weeks back…one we’ve been working to answer daily since.

In a world of a million problems, some great and life-threatening, others slight and irritating, how many issues are we aware of that we’re helpless to resolve? What can we do to accept that we can’t fix everything? Sometimes, we may even be powerless to fix one thing.

How do we see the beauty in the world through a broken lens?

What if we shifted perspective?

Gaze out from where you are.

What do you see?

A smoker flicking a cigarette into your landscaping as they walk by? A pile of steaming dog shit on the sidewalk? Your neighbor’s rusty derelict car decorating their front lawn?

What do you hear?

The oblivious diner sitting two tables away almost shouting into their cell phone.

Kat: *mutters* They can hear you. We all can hear you.

Or a distant bass boom, growing louder, and louder, until sixty seconds later, your heart reverberates in your chest to the deafening decibels of some inconsiderate driver’s beat…only to have it fade by the time you’re wide awake…at 2:30 a.m.

What about today’s news?

How many millions of refugees are country-less? How many people die daily from famine? What about human trafficking? Community homelessness? Senseless violence? Or the daily barrage of news-cycle sensationalism about who Tweeted what. Really?

Stone: How does all that go with Zenful Life?

Right. Back to the shifted perspective…

Look again.

Listen again.

What do we see if we focus on the rest of the picture?

The decaying barn might be falling, but it’s happening in the middle of a flowering meadow, flanked by towering pine trees, under a blue wispy-clouded sky.

We’re learning step by step, day by day, that with each startling bad thing we’re exposed to, it takes dedicated mindfulness to focus on the positive, on the beauty.

A few things we’ve learned to help us see beauty in a harsh and unforgiving world:

  1. Recognize what broken issue needs immediate action, then provide it: a phone call to an aiding authority, a lending hand, or helpful advice.
  2. Once action has been taken, move on. Be mindful, right in the present moment, seeking to enjoy it.
  3. If we find ourselves dwelling on past events, we gently correct the misstep. A helpful phrase we came up with to help guide us back into the present moment is, “If it’s out of our hands, it should be out of our minds.”
  4. Extend love, acceptance, and kindness to ourselves and others. The world is imperfect. We are imperfect. If we do the best we can with each moment of each day, little by little our world becomes a better place.

Our experiences begin to flow like the well-known Serenity Prayer…

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

Beauty often lies in that wisdom.

 

Any other thoughts, ideas, suggestions? We’d love to hear them.

 

Just a couple of Zenful Lifers,
~ Kat & Stone

 

© 2017 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion