Unwrap your Presence

This Christmas…

The greatest gift we can give ourselves and those around us is to be present and to connect.

In contrast, this time of the year drives us to get busy, do more and go faster, often making it more difficult to connect with those around us. Ironically, the original impetus and meaning for Christmas is all about our connections and our humanity.

This Christmas (now!) I am prioritising first being present for myself and my family and those around me. It does feel like a gift to give myself this time. Goethe’s words on my fridge magnet remind me that “nothing is more important than this day”.

I love unwrapping presents, I know few people who don’t. Unfortunately most of us, me included, get caught up in all the hard work in preparation, for three hours of manic unwrapping on Christmas morning and then it is all finished. What would it be like if we could unwrap our presence throughout the festive season in all we do?

If we go back to the origins of this gift-giving tradition, it wouldn’t be the same story if the three wise men had sent gold, frankincense and myrrh by courier! What was special was that they made a long journey to be present.

Unwrapping presence is a process, an unfolding. Sometimes it’s a real surprise what is inside, even to yourself. Sometimes it takes time to unwrap, it may even appear like nothing is happening. But giving time to being present has the potential to make everything in our lives better. In and beyond the festive season, whatever we’re doing, whether it’s a HANDLE activity like Hug and Tug or preparing a meal, the impact of our offering is magnified many times when we unwrap our presence.

We look forward to connecting with you again in 2019. Happy unwrapping!

Sean

Thanks to Fredrik Lloyd for the inspirational print above that inspired this post.

Slowing Down

We had a great webinar this week with people who have done our HANDLE® Level 1 and 2 Course on the subject of ‘Slower is Faster’. From the feedback we’ve had people found the ideas very helpful and we even got to do some practice of feeling the impact of doing something slowly.

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We discussed how doing HANDLE Activities slowly can help calm our brains and the branch of the autonomic nervous system that is triggered when we are stressed. It can create a moment of mindfulness to balance the busyness of everyday life.

The other benefit of SLOW is that it enables us (and the other person if we are doing an Activity together) to pay more attention to what is happening, both in ourselves and around us. Research is showing how when we do things with attention the learning is dramatically accelerated and we are less likely to remain stuck in our habits.

Here is an activity for you to feel the value of slow in your life. It only takes 5-10 minutes, doing something you would already be doing anyway. Choose something you enjoy doing like drinking tea, bathing, going for a walk or cooking, and do it very slowly. Give yourself the time to really be present with what you are doing and enjoy the experience. Notice how it feels in yourself, for example the warm feeling of the mug in your hands, the sensation of your feet contacting the ground as you walk, the smell of something you are cooking. Allow yourself to luxuriate in the sensations that are always there if only we’d notice them. This time is 100% yours. Switch off mobiles or other distracting devices and rest back in being present with what you are doing for just these moments. You don’t need to do everything slowly, just 5-10 minutes. When you go back to moving at everyday speed, notice what feels different.

When I did this on a daily basis it dramatically changed the whole of my day. I approached what I was doing with more energy and alertness. I’d love to hear if it makes a difference for you.

Sean

Snailspace art trail in Brighton this autumn reminding us to cherish ‘life in the slow lane’  #BeMoreSnail

Snailspace art trail in Brighton this autumn reminding us to cherish ‘life in the slow lane’ #BeMoreSnail

Broken eggs and dolphins

Here is an extract from Elias's blog by his mother Janet, about their living and learning together. They have been doing a HANDLE® programme for six months and Son-Rise for two years. We wanted to share it because it's an inspiring story of love, dedication, openness and learning.

We hope you like it.

 

"I do not always feel comfortable writing and disclosing issues about our family life and my parenting in public. The last time I wrote in E's blog was about two years ago when we had just begun working with the Son-rise approach when I felt a "great sense of faith" that this approach would support E to choose to come out of his autistic world. Below, I want to share a few lessons that I/we have made over the past years by working with the Son-rise programme and a method called HANDLE, as well as with my own development as a parent/human.

My willingness to share came today when I sat with E on the couch and he suddenly suggested that he would read aloud to me from a book about dolphins. E read the whole book, I listened. After having finished the reading, he suggested that he would "draw letters", which we did. I gave him a pen and paper, wrote down some examples and just stayed watching. After finishing the alphabet he happily said he wanted to continue "typing numbers". I felt happy and proud; we had now reached a point in our relationship and in both of our developments when we really had achieved something important. What was it that felt so huge?"

You can read the rest of Janet's post here

A child's world

These are Alex's pictures. He drew the one on the left when he was 6, just after he started his HANDLE® Programme with Sean and the one on the right a year later. His mother is so proud of him she wanted to share them. I think the pictures show us not only how much easier it is now for Alex to hold and use a pencil but also something about his relationship to his body and his world.

We are excited by the many ways that HANDLE can help people. We hope that this year you'll be able to come and join us at one of our courses. We look forward to seeing you again or for the first time.

Una