The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

"Cradle To The Grave" application

A reader reached out to me with genuine issues, and it occurred to me that this is a perfect opportunity to both help her and illustrate an instance of the "Cradle To Grave" (yeah, probably a terrible name, but it's what I'm working with right now) meditation technique.   I'd recommended five "Sixty Second Breathing Breaks" during the day in a previous note, and she replied:

  • Dear Steven,
    Thank you so much for your advice. I think I should clarify things a bit:
    - I am currently working with a therapy program in XXX, but increasingly anxious to finish my time with them so I can move back home to New York. I miss my home terribly.
    - I am holding down a part-time job, which I've had for a year, but of late I have become very worried about finding new employment when I leave XXX. I've been making a tentative effort to find a new interim job while here, but I find the effort very stressful, and perhaps ill-conceived; I'm working with a career counselor back home in New York (phone sessions) to better plan my next move, and I understand that a lot of this sudden need comes less from necessity and more from a feeling of panic and self-doubt.
    - I am a recovering anorexic and suffering from a bad bout of ulcerative colitis. I'm due for an examination on Thursday, and I'm seeing a dietitian about diet, exercise, and daily caloric needs, but dealing with the health issues is also difficult. I hope they can get sorted out very soon.
    Does all this make sense?
    I'm very sorry if you feel like I'm trying to solicit your services. It just seems like you're a really good person to ask for advice about some things, and at this stage I am very grateful to have a range of perspectives available. Your 'breathing breaks' idea sounds very good - I perform 20-minute meditation sessions daily, but this seems like an excellent way to supplement that.
  • #####

  •  Sweetie, there is nothing wrong with asking for help and perspective. Don't apologize, just be honest and understanding if the askee hasn't the time.

  • 8:54am
    Steven Barnes

    The breathing breaks idea can be life changing. You're in a stress spiral: emotional affecting physical which then affects the emotional...and if you don't break it, you'll go down the drain. My understanding of anorexia is that it is a distorted body image syndrome, and those are often the result of powerful emotional storms and abuse issues. The perfect approach for you would be to take those five breaks a day, minimum of 60 seconds each. One can be your current 20 minute stretch. Visualize three "energy balls" of light: one at the "Belly brain", one at the heart center, one at the head. See how clear and bright you can make the light, but if it is foggy or muddy, that's fine. Begin to visualize your youngest self, as if pregnant with a child, in your belly brain. You can visualize this as the oldest "you" that existed prior to damage: might be eight years old, or two, or an unborn fetus. Or fertilized egg. Doesn't matter. What DOES matter is the establishment of connection.

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