Mindful Moment 6

Practicing S.T.O.P. as a means to trust ourselves

Shauna Piscitello, www.soulutionsforbalance.com

One of the nine attitudinal foundations of practicing mindfulness is TRUST, according to Jon Kabat Zinn’s heavily resourced book, Full Catastrophe Living. It’s foundational because it helps us to trust and validate our own inner experiences. The more we trust our own inner wisdom the less judgmental and critical we are on ourselves. We rely less on outside affirmation and more on our own intuition. This is crucial for self awareness and development. Embodied trust is self confidence and the recognition that we don’t have control over every little thing in our life, but ultimately, we will still be okay.

Practice STOP to develop your TRUST muscles. This can be a formal meditation practice (15-20 minutes) or a short informal practice (2 minutes) when needed.

STOP is an acronym for bringing present moment awareness at any given time to connect to your inner resources.  It stands for:

S – Stop what you are doing.  Pause and check in.

T – Take a breath, bring present moment awareness to your breathing.  Allow a few breaths to settle your attention and your nervous system

O – Observe. Through the lens of the triangle of awareness.  Bring your attention to your body, emotions and thoughts.  Notice what you are sensing, what emotions may be present and what thoughts are arising.

P – Proceed.  Ask yourself, “what is the best way for me to proceed in this moment?” or “what do I need right now?”  From this presence we may proceed with greater clarity and alignment with our truth. 

The more we practice STOP when situations or the environment around us is relatively calm, the better we prepare ourselves for utilizing STOP in those more challenging situations. The formal practice of a 20 minute sitting practice is like riding a bike with the training wheels on.  After some time, we can remove the training wheels and practice STOP when we start to feel we have become overwhelmed or we’re about to ‘flip our lid’.