“What you focus on grows.”  Of all the simple, direct, and life changing concepts Dr. Maria Hunt taught me…this one resonated so deeply, so easily, so effectively for me.  Moving from hindering to helpful, stuck to free, same old, same old to authentically me is a real life changer.

Mary Bartnik, Mindfulness Teacher

A Beginner’s Mind

Years ago, after a long, tiring day of yard work, packing, and final visits with neighbors I sprawled out on the living room floor to catch a few hours of much needed sleep.  After a few minutes I became aware that my autopilot brain was narrating “I’m cold…gosh, it’s cold in here…why is it so cold in here…it wasn’t cold outside today…how can it be cold in here?”

In my state of exhaustion I felt no energy to get up, turn on the furnace, or walk through the cold night air.  Then I suddenly remembered ‘what I focus on grows’…I must be focused on ‘cold’ because I just heard that word numerous times in my thoughts.

I smiled through my exhaustion at the realization that I had all the tools within me to change my focus, thereby changing my outcome.  I wouldn’t have to get up or even move!  This was an exciting moment.

I ran my thoughts through a logical cycle.  What I focus on grows.  I’m focused on cold.  What do I want?  I want to be warm.  I scanned my body to find the seeds of warmth…and located two small bits of warmth, my upper arm and my thigh, both snug on the floor with trapped body heat.

I focused on those spots, attentive to the sensation of that warmth, thinking of word pictures to grow that warmth.  “I love warmth…this warmth feels like sunshine….thank you Lord for this warmth….”

It took all of about 30 seconds for the warmth to spread throughout my entire body and I dropped off to sleep instantly…without having to get up, turn the furnace on, or add another blanket.

A Simple Practice Evolves

Later, after moving further north, a bitter cold winter arrived.  I had many, many, many moments to practice focusing on warmth to cut the chill from my body.  I practiced so much that I achieved warmth in about 5 seconds without otherwise disrupting my current being and doing.  My practice had evolved to key words and a focus on the warmth of my exhaling breath.

Recently I was in a restaurant, sleeveless, with the air conditioning blowing on me.  I had a slight, yet, not uncomfortable chill.  I suddenly experienced two things I had not done in years…drinking a slushy margarita and getting brain freeze.

In that split second when brain freeze hit, my brain suddenly blurted forth ‘warm, warm, warm, warm, warm, warm, warm’ and immediately both the brain freeze and the chill on my arms left me.  Just like that.  I didn’t even have to locate any warmth to focus on it, the word ‘warm’ came rushing forth repetitively from my brain, and poof, warm appeared, brain freeze and chill disappeared!

I laughed out loud in that moment at the realization that my practice had evolved into my autopilot reaction – my automatic way of being and doing!  We are amazing creatures, people!  We already have within us all the tools we need to live our best life…what you focus on grows…what are you growing?

P.S.   If you can’t find warmth, you can use your body to create warmth to focus on….rub your palms together quickly…instant heat…hold it , focus on it and watch it grow!  My cousin tells me this also works for cooling yourself if you are already too warm.sunshine on ladybug
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