ALTERNATIVES, noun, definition:
1: options, choices, other possibilities.
2: existing or functioning outside the established cultural, social, or economic system
Day after day, exponential rain. Multiple weekly appointments, and miles logged. Then the waiting. Driving again. More rain.
Aerobic walks? Postponed. Eventually shelved. Rehab for Dreamer (and chauffeur) is time-intensive.
And something’s missing . . .
During a recent support group meeting for heart procedure survivors the leader mentions PTSD affects caregivers, too.
I’m drawn to a different acronym: NDD, or Nature-deficit Disorder.
According to Richard Louv (The Nature Principle), our culture’s excessive electronic connectivity is supplanting recreational time spent outdoors, causing widespread “atrophied awareness, a diminished ability to find meaning in the life that surrounds us, whatever form it takes.”*
What if spending too much time in the car, or cubicle, or waiting room has the same effect?
Alternatives: a matter of spelling
Three times a week Dreamer works the treadmill at Rehab. I watch that continuous loop, and fatigue cracks open an old fear: I feel stalled again, set aside, my sense of wonder displaced. Going, going . . . and getting nowhere.
Someone said “nowhere”—with the addition of one slender space—becomes “now here.”
One slender pause—a breath, a hum, a stretch—beckons us toward rest. Presence. Re-calibration.
I resolve to shoehorn all 3 into even the busiest day. “Be still and know that I am God” may echo deep within.
Then hyper-adrenalized compassion stops thrusting me forward; instead, trust carries me inward. I remember God is sovereign. And I regroup. Reset.
And a dash of DIY Creation Therapy can’t hurt. Because weather and schedules curtail stalking wonder outdoors, I revisit my photo archives.
Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th century artist/composer/visionary, is said to have survived her thorny times by living as if she were “a feather on the breath of God.”
I like to think she took herself lightly.
Taking oneself lightly: relaxation breathing
Dr. Andrew Weil teaches an easy breathing technique (which benefits multiple systems of the body). It’s great preparation for sleeping. It’s also effective during commutes, waiting in lines, even pumping gas.
Directions below. Alternatively, learn more here
4-7-8 Breathing Exercise
- Exhale as much air as you can with a big whoosh
- Place tongue behind upper teeth, inhale quietly to an easy count of 4
- Hold breath for a count of 7
- Exhale audibly for a count of 8
- Do this exercise 4 times. (As it becomes easier, increase to no more than 8 repetitions, twice a day.)
Alternatives: armchair field trip
When a dear friend emails this video link for his newly recorded soundtrack, I ask his permission to share it with you. The music and images transport me on yet another demanding, gully-washer day.
VIDEO: Click once for wonder
“In the Flow of the Spirit,” from Clean Air, by Robert Weston, arranged by Peter Richards
*I learned about Nature-deficit Disorder in Wonderstruck, by Margaret Feinberg.5