Sunday, 17 March 2013

Mindfulness is always just a moment away

I have a confession to make.....
Yesterday I wasn't #MindfulinMarch.

It's been a testing weekend all round, hospital appointments, trips to A and E, teenager issues not to mention preparing for two very different interviews on Monday and Tuesday of this week.  I thought about mindfulness, even read about it, but when it came to practising it - I just couldn't do it.  Time, energy, annoyance, anxiety all featured but perhaps so too did my negative self-fulfilling prophecy!  My bad mindful angel (did we call her Maud?) was just sat there smugly - I say sat, she was actually lounging on my shoulder, smirking and saying "I knew you'd never keep it up - you never do".  At that point as I've done so many times with diets, exercise classes I really thought what is the point.  I've "failed" today so that's it.  But then I looked back over the last few weeks and how #MindfulinMarch has really helped me cope and given me some lovely insights into myself.  Did I really want to stop all that?  It's been a huge benefit.  It's refuelled my interest and made me reconnect with a wonderful technique/attitude/way of being, whatever you want to call it and by doing this it's made me re-engage with life.  I'm seeing things I've not seen before, I'm noticing more about myself and seeing those negative behaviours creeping in which limit my life.  How easy it is to slip into old patterns.  Despite having crafted a lovely new pathway in my brain, edged with flowers, showing me new views and interesting landscapes, I am still legging it back to the old worn path, mossy, filled with ragwort, tripping over the bricks and stones left carelessly in the way.  But that's ok.  It's inevitable that we try and stay in our comfort zones, our place of familiarity - but by cultivating mindfulness we can see that it's happening and gently and kindly guide ourselves back over to the new paths to take in fresh experiences and even better views.

When things got tough this weekend, I slept in with my head under the duvet not wanting to face the world.  After a while I thought, is this helping?  It wasn't.  So I put on a mindfulness guided practice, focussed on my breathing and lo and behold after 20 minutes my heart had stopped racing and my cluttered mind had just enough space to allow me to do my interview prep. 

I'm lucky to have such a fantastic gift at my disposal - it's always there, ready to saunter into action when I give it a call.  It will come without ceremony or judgement - there will be no "you didn't call on me yesterday so I'm not helping today".  I realise this now.  So it doesn't matter if I missed a day of being mindful: time to practice is always just another moment away.

Have a mindful week!

ps  During my interview prep I found an organisation called Young Minds who are using mindfulness in schools.  They had a great video of their work showcased here if you are interested

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