But what on earth is relaxed attention?
It means to be fully alert and awake to our present experience, and simultaneously totally at ease in our bodies and minds, and unencumbered by whatever happens to be arising.
Believe me, no small feat!
What I’ve witnessed over and over again in myself, clients, and friends is this sort of overwhelming hyper-vigilance that often descends once we’ve committed to a more mindful way of being. It’s as if we imagine that being conscious, more alert humans also translates as being edgier and tenser than the average bear.
Yet, in my psychic preparation for labor and beyond, I am continually reminding myself to find relaxation in the middle of heightened presence, while I sit, do yoga, and frankly do anything. It may seem sort of off the cuff and obvious now, but when the pain of labor begins, wow will this be the most poignant of tools!
Today, I entreat you, even if things are flowing beautifully, practice relaxing yourself from head to toe in the midst of your intense on-the-ball focus, and consciously melt deeper into gentle ease with each breath.
This sort of softening and receptivity will not in any way dampen your smooth-rolling acuity in the grandest of times, nor will it somehow eclipse your efficiency when things get rougher and tougher. In fact, quiet surrender is essential to the awakened state.
Go out there and see for yourself. Your job description is clear and simple: Inhale in steady relaxed attention, exhale in breezy mindfulness. Now do it, heck, live it again and again and again. Wake up and relax. Stay alert and be chill.
Need I say more?
This is my quintessential labor project. I am now less than five weeks from my due date and only a couple weeks from official maternity leave, so let’s all practice this softened awareness together while we have the chance.
I am so here, so ready, so open. Are you?
In sweet and relaxed attention,