Exploring embodied relational mindfulness in psychotherapy
Sunflower Mind is a powerful metaphor to help clients make sense of embodied relational mindfulness.
The concept of Sunflower Mind is based to my experience with experiential psychotherapy that pays attention to ‘bottom up’ phenomena. In this practice, we observe, moment by moment, our bodily experience as an organic response to our interactions with others. We track bodily sensations. Little by little, a pattern emerges. We notice how we are orienting in response to our environment, just like the sunflower orients to the sun. We experience this orienting as an implicit response that may need to be completed.
This is developed in the following video, which is several years old. This is a 25-minute video, divided into several short clips, with transcripts. Here is the introduction:
So, Sunflower Mind, huh?
What is going on in the mind of the sunflower, as it is moving with the sun?
I'm inviting you to think of this as a metaphor - as something that has a poetic truth as opposed to a literal truth.
And we're going to talk a little bit more about what the metaphor is about, and how to carry it, and how to use it.
But it certainly is not situation where we should be a slave to the metaphor. We can really enjoy playing with mixed metaphors - changing them, not be consistent.
There's something at the heart of it that might, after we talk about it for a while, have some kind of a poetic truth to you. And that poetic truth is going to be elusive. It's going to mean something to somebody, and something else to somebody else. It's going to mean something else to you one moment than the other, and there will be some degree of similarity and some degree of difference, and that's okay.
I'm suggesting that you embrace them, as we continue talking about Sunflower Mind, and what goes on in the mind of the sunflower as it moves with the sun.
Here is a list of the clips that make up the video:
- 1. Bottom up vs top down (3 min)
- 2. The situation a s a whole (2 min)
- 3. Orienting (4 min)
- 4. Noticing the inner experience (5 min)
- 5. The implicit movement (4 min)
- 6. Understanding the movement (2 min)
- 7. Another Sun (3 min)
- 8. Summary (2 min)
See also: Demystifying Mindfulness: Active Pause®
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