Saybrook University’s Kirwan Rockefeller on inner stillness: Quiet your mind and body every day

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Kirwan Rockefeller, Ph.D., WIA/TAA Academic Advisor at the University of California, Irvine Extension, is the author of “Visualize Confidence: How to Use Guided Imagery to Overcome Self-Doubt,” and is the co-editor of “Psychology, Spirituality and Healthcare,” Volume 2 of the 3-volume series, “Whole Person Healthcare.”  This is the ninth installment in Dr. Rockefeller’s series of blogs on utilizing the imagination for personal transformation through imagery.

In the hustle and bustle of our very full lives, even with the best intentions, it’s easy to forget to take a few moments for ourselves.  Looming deadlines, flat tires, work pressures, family obligations, texting, emails, Federal Express, Instant Messaging, Facebook, LinkedIn and Skype it’s no wonder we feel like we’re running on empty.  Because, we are!

Several years ago I consulted with a group of anesthesiologists who wanted to incorporate mindfulness and imagery into their stressful days.  One person said, “When I’m called to the ER, I don’t have time to go to my special happy place, imagine sitting with a bunny rabbit and sipping a Mai Tai.  I need to move into immediate action.  Someone’s life may literally depend upon it.”  “Well, of course,” I replied, “but even in a nanosecond, calling to mind your special haven or a familiar soothing image sends a neurochemical message cascading throughout your bodymind, calming you down while simultaneously sharpening your alertness so you’re on top of your game.”

Most of us aren’t faced with life and death scenarios on a moment’s notice.  So, it’s all the more important to find five to ten minutes each day to focus on your breathing, setting a centering intention of how you want to act, and prepare and/or recover from the times that are hectic.

When you mentally rehearse quieting your mind and body every day, you build in an automatic response, so the next time that you are stressed and running full tilt, calling forth your Inner Advisor or a restful image can fill your gas tank back up.  You’re on your way: clear, focused, balanced, and ready.

The familiar phrase isn’t: “Keep running as fast as you can and sniff the roses as you go speeding by.”  I’m always reminded that the phrase is “Stop … and smell the roses.”  If only for a moment.  Stop.  Breathe.  Imagine a rose.  You’ll be glad you did and your bodymind will thank you.

Next week:  Putting it all together.