Most of us aim for some basic level of consistency in our day to day lives. With children we are constantly told (as easily guilt tripped parents) that there is perhaps nothing worse than to be inconsistent with your off spring, as this can lead to insecurity and confusion in our children.
The reality of course is that to be 100% consistent is near impossible as fortune fires its slings and arrows our way. Take this week, a poorly child at home, yelping with pain from an ear infection has seen my practice nose dive into nothingness for the second half of the week, my Qi Gong routine feels equally neglected.
The lovely thing about mindfulness is when this invariably happens (and it is when not if – people, especially five year olds, get ill, that’s life) nowadays I find myself not cursing or lamenting the day that might have been and the work I will not get done. I just accept it. Simple as that and yet this has taken me years to be able to do, to say OK, this is here, this is how it is. This poorly pup was with me for the whole day and so I enjoyed it as best I could while secretly relishing a legitimate excuse to fall behind with my emails. We had lunch and watched a DVD and I was reminded of the three year old he once was, coming home to me everyday for lunch before school whisked him away for six hours everyday.
As for my practice, it’s almost the weekend and there’s always tomorrow.
Today’s Total Practice Time: 10 minutes of little mindful pauses + noticing my feet/walking meditation as I dropped my eldest off at school
Practising mindfulness does not make all the bad stuff in your life go away. There is no way to stop the potential stressors in your life. All we can do is learn how to breathe through them when they do appear. There are various things that I really don’t like doing – ringing up my bank is one of them (I struggle to remember the answers to all those security questions I set up several decades ago and yet when asked by a computer they come to mind so easily) or talking to my children’s teachers (why do I still feel like I am on the naughty chair?).
And yet do those things I must on occasions. So mindfulness allows me to notice that it’s difficult for me to do this, I acknowledge this without in anyway berating myself. I notice that I seem to be doing anything rather than the tasks in hand and finally when the Facebook-faffing-denial can go on no longer, I do them.
And when I do finally face that I have to do them and they can be put off no longer a strange thing happens. I prepare for the moment. This is a big thing for a dyslexic, being prepared, it’s never been something I do. At interviews I have always been more prone to winging it than painstakingly researching what it is I am being interviewed for.
But now I research and I prepare and I breathe and I know there are certain things that can help me get through these arduous chores like not being hungry or hungover, so I choose my moments, pause and then do it, without judging myself that it may well have taken three days before the procrastination came to an end.
Today’s Total Practice Time: 1 hour
One of the most wonderful things about teaching mindfulness is that every time I do some CPD not only do I deepen my knowledge about mindfulness and how to deliver it, I also learn a lot about myself. The last training I went on, facilitated by Bangor University, felt something of a mini retreat.
Being taught by very mindful facilitators was a master class in itself on simply how to be. Even though it was a room full of 20 mindfulness teachers there was still a little bit of competition and posturing from one or two participants. At one point one the facilitators made a comment about questioning our need to talk, what are we hoping to achieve each time we open our mouth? Are we showing off, point scoring or making a valid point.
The whole training was on how to speak and how to inquire. And I discovered I don’t particularly like it when people inquire too much about me. Admittedly I was on the sharp end of some rather over zealous questioning in one of the group activities but this realisation threw me a little as I have always thought I like people taking an interest in me, but I guess it really does depend what is being asked and how.
Taking on the role of the person being probed made me more empathetic than ever about the tender process that is inquiry. If it feels wrong don’t push it, let silence rule if that’s what the moment needs.
And ground yourself to the floor, feeling your feet, every moment of the way!
Today’s Total Practice Time: 30 minutes