Powerful Pause Meditation with Bea Grist: 'Choice'
This is the twelfth of our guided meditations from our Powerful Pause series. In this meditation we get curious about what choice means for you as an actor or performer. We also explore where we make choices from and how just by choosing to listen to ourselves we are much more able to honour what’s really important to us.
This guided meditation was written for one of our Powerful Pause meditation sessions, where we come together to meditate every week. If you're a Performer member you can take advantage of these free sessions (please ensure you're opted in to receive our emails for upcoming dates and booking information).
29 minute listen or a full transcript of the episode can be found below.
Bea Grist, Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager:
Hello and a really warm welcome to this meditation on choice. My name is Bea and I’m the Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager at Spotlight.
This mediation is all about looking at choice, and what choice means for us. And particularly what choice means for you as an actor or a performer. Sometimes choice can feel freeing and liberating. It can give us the freedom to choose what we want or what’s important to us. So this might mean the freedom to choose certain acting roles or the freedom to work with certain people or for certain companies. At other times choice can feel overwhelming or maybe challenging. Sometimes we might feel called to make a difficult choice or perhaps a choice based on what others want. Maybe there is an important choice or decision that you’re sitting with right now.
Today you’re making the choice to listen to yourself. That’s a really powerful thing to do. When we listen to ourselves we’re much more able to honour what we really want.
So let’s drop right in
And whatever you’ve had going on before this moment
From your morning or your day
Just allow that to dissolve.
And we’re going to do our best to just be present
That’s all you need to do.
So if you haven’t already just finding a comfortable position
Somewhere that you can properly settle in for this meditation
You may want to lie down with your arms resting wherever is comfortable
Alternatively you can sit on a chair
Or on the ground with your legs crossed
If you’re sitting just ensure that your back is straight
Imagine a piece of string that’s coming from the crown of your head
And it’s just very gently pulling it up
Just elongating your spine
And when you’re ready and comfortable
Just gently closing the eyes or softening the gaze
Let’s take three lovely deep cleansing breaths now together
So taking a nice deep breath in through the nose
And then releasing it with an ahhhhhh sound
Let’s do that again
So breathing in deeply through the nose
And again just signing it out.
And for this last one
I want you to take the deepest breath you’ve taken in all day so far
So taking a nice deep breath in through the nose
And then sighing it out
Notice how your lungs fill with refreshing clean air
And just becoming aware of the space that gets created
Just by breathing
Feeling your body getting heavier and softer
Feeling that sense of letting go
Of surrendering to the present moment
Know that right now there is nothing you need to do
Nowhere you need to be
Today you are making the choice to turn inwards
And to greet whatever is there
Knowing that by being here in loving awareness
You are choosing yourself.
Notice that by just losing your eyes
And focusing on your breathing you already feel a little bit more relaxed than before.
Continue to breathe
Slowly and deeply
Feel the weight of your body being supported by the earth
And know that you are supported here as well
This is a place that you can always come
To take this time for you
Allowing the face to soften
Relaxing the forehead and the eyebrows
And the little muscles around the eyes
Relaxing into the jaw Just releasing any tension here.
With every breath you take
You’re releasing a little bit more tension from your body
And bringing some calming stillness to your mind
And if your mind wants to think
Just notice it and gently bring it back to the breathe
In this time that you’ve given to yourself
You are safe and free to let go of any worries, insecurities or anxieties
And if you’re finding that your mind is busy today or perhaps you are finding it hard to let go of any lingering thoughts
Take a moment to focus on your shoulders and just let them drop down and melt away from your ears
Maybe circling them forwards or backwards a few times
And then imagine the sense of melting and softness in your shoulders
Can carry away your thoughts away
Almost like clouds drifting by on the breeze
As thoughts arise
You don’t need to try and block them out or dismiss them Just acknowledge the thought
And then watch it float away
Like a soft, harmless cloud
Now turn your attention to the air flow In and out of your body
Each breath sustains you It keeps every part of your body functioning
And this air that we draw in from our external surroundings
Means that we’re continually connected with nature.
With that in mind
Welcome each breath with openness and connection
Fill your lungs right up
As you draw the air in
And then allow it to flow back out
Feel a gentle sense of gratitude for that natural process.
Unwinding and letting go of any expectations that might be here
Just meeting yourself wherever you are at today
Knowing that you are welcome with all that you bring
You do not need to be a certain way or do anything apart from be present
Trust that wherever you are and however you are feeling is ok
Even if it may not feel that way.
There are no wrong or right answers here.
We’re simply noticing and observing what is arising in the moment
That is what mindfulness is
It’s simply awareness of what is happening in the present moment.
Which part of you do you make choices from?
Do you make choices from your mind, your heart or your gut?
Perhaps your choices are influenced by all three.
Keep breathing and simply noticing what comes up
You may feel resistance - that is ok too
Just acknowledge it and welcome it with open arms
All of your feelings are valid and welcome here.
Let’s take a moment to tune into the body a bit more now
The body is always in the present moment It has so much wisdom for us.
So firstly just noticing how the body feels
Sensing into the diﬀerent parts of the body
Noticing any areas that might be feeling tight, sore or perhaps rigid
And just sending some love to those areas
Giving them permission to soften and let go now.
Let’s gently rest the hands on the stomach now if that feels ok
And really give yourself permission to let your stomach hang out
We often spend all day holding our stomach in
So I really want you to let your stomach naturally release
Let it be held lovingly by your hands
And as you breathe in just feel a gentle expansion of the stomach
Notice how the breath fills up your belly
And as you breathe out
Notice how the stomach falls back down softly.
And if you’re struggling to feel the sensations of the breath
You may find it more helpful to place your hands on your ribcage or on sides of the body
So maybe experiment now to see where you feel the sensations of the breath most strongly
Knowing that it may be diﬀerent for each of us
I’m going to give you a minute now to just be with your breath in silence
So just continue to feel the sensations of the breath in the body
Paying attention to the flow of air in and out of the body.
So continuing to breathe deeply
Feeling the gentle rocking sensations of the body
Following the breath as it flows
What is the impact when you choose to be with your breath?
We’re going to do a diaphragmatic breathing technique now which I call ‘The Calm Breath’
It’s a technique that can really help us to feel calmer and more grounded.
All it involves is breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 2 seconds and then breathing out for 4 seconds.
I’ll talk you through it first and then I’ll leave you to do a few rounds on your own.
If at any point you feel uncomfortable please just allow the breath to return to normal and then join us again when you feel ready.
When you’re breathing in please ensure you’re taking nice deep breaths from your belly.
So let’s begin:
Take a slow breath in through the nose for 1, 2, 3, 4
Hold your breath for 1, 2.
Exhale slowly through the mouth 4, 3, 2, 1
Pause for a moment. And then let's repeat.
Breathing slow in through the nose for 1, 2, 3, 4
Hold your breath for 1, 2.
Exhale slowly through the mouth 4, 3, 2, 1
Pausing for 1, 2.
Please feel free to adjust the count if this timing isn’t working for you.
This is your practice so please listen to what you need.
The key thing is to take slow deep mindful breaths.
I’m going to leave you now to do The Calm Breath by yourself for 2 minutes now
Try to stay with your breath
If the mind wanders, just notice it and gently bring it back to the breath.
I’ll come back to you shortly.
So just allowing the breath to return to normal now if it’s not already
And know that the ability to make positive choices in your life is up to you
Feeling in control of your decisions and your choices
Might feel diﬀicult and overwhelming at times
And if you feel this way, that is ok.
Try to just be with whatever is arising in the moment
Allowing yourself to get curious about any thoughts, feelings, emotions or sensations that might be coming up
Please know that they are all so welcome here.
Let’s bring our attention back to our stomach now Just noticing how it feels.
The stomach is the seat of our intuition We often talk about a ‘gut reaction’ or a ‘gut instinct’
That sense of just knowing
This is place where we can make choices - sometimes without even knowing
Have you ever played a part and just known instinctively how it needed to be played?
Notice how choices can be easy and intuitive
See if you can tune into your stomach
Almost like turning the dial on an old radio set
What are you picking up in this area?
What information or knowledge is here for you?
Maybe gives thanks to your intuition
For always trying to look out for you For taking care of you
You may not always sense its presence
But it is always there
Guiding and supporting you
Helping you to make those intuitive decisions.
Let’s bring our awareness up to our chest now
Just noticing any feels or sensations that are arising here
As you breathe listen deeply and with curiosity, gentleness and compassion to what your heart is trying to tell you
Notice how it feels to connect with your heart
The place where you give and receive love
We often feel a calling or a longing from this place
The choice we make from here often honour something bigger than ourselves
Perhaps your heart connects you to the choice you made to be an actor or a performer
Maybe it’s the choice to follow a dream or a passion project
Very often we make heart-centred choices
Even when we don’t know what the outcome will be
We just know it is where we need to be.
What does your heart and soul know about your choices?
How do you want to feel?
Just keep breathing deeply and slowly
Taking your time Giving yourself time
In loving awareness and self-care
Knowing that by being here you are choosing to prioritise yourself
Keep breathing slow deep breaths for a few moments more
Feeling the air flowing in through your nose
And out through your mouth
We are slowly and gently going to bring this meditation to a close.
So just becoming aware of your body in the space
Feeling the sense of the body pressing down
The sense of support from whatever is underneath you
And very slowly begin to move your body
Maybe starting with your fingers and toes
And then letting this movement spread throughout your body
Maybe taking a few shoulder rolls
Perhaps a yawn and a wake-up stretch
And if you’re lying down, rolling on to your side before you sit up
Just taking your time to come back to this moment
Being kind to yourself
When you’re ready, slowly opening your eyes to return to this space.