This week I want to share something the has helped me reconnect with myself during this time: buttonholing. Sitting quietly and doing something that takes concentration but no mind muscling. I am finding that one of the most important things I can do right now is make quiet space for how I am feeling, no matter how tough that is. Sometimes it is a wave of panic or deep sadness. I do meditate every morning, but it can be VERY difficult to sit with these emotions which seem to well up later in the day after work distractions have faded away. This is where buttonholing comes in – substitute out any focused but mindless creative pursuit: Drawing? Coloring books? Puzzles? Needlepoint? Knitting? Macaroni art? So I sit on the couch. I feel the heavy fear enveloping me. I shut the Netflix down and sit in quiet with my buttonholes. Like breathing through an intense emotional state, the quiet act of steadily stitching the fabric creates a safe place to stay. Whereas I can easily forget to breath deeply, I can see the steady pace of the stitches layering the outside of the fabric. So I stay. The act of creating something simple like this allows me to stay with it. It allows me to feel that intense emotion lapping at my body, but not to be afraid of it or to run away from it. I am here. I am anchored to the material, to the thread, to the couch. The emotions can’t take me anywhere, they can just ebb and flow around me. And then at some point, when I’ve stayed there for long enough, observing the emotion moving in the periphery, I notice that it has quietly left. And that feeling, the feeling that you stayed there to witness a tough emotion and then watched it leave all the while remaining calm and focused is a huge victory. It strengthens you. It gives you the confidence to know that you can do it again. And again.

This time is for going inside and finding our trust. Going into our heart. This is not easy. But I’m going to share any tools I find for doing this in an accessible way.

If you have not already done so, please consider finding your own buttonholing activity. Or if you have been having any podcast or show running mindlessly in the background, consider turning it off and staying with a tough emotion. Report back! Please share your activity, especially if it is something anyone might find in their home. We are going to make magic of this time and come out stronger. We must. The world needs us now and in the future.

Go, fight, win.

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