How my Mindfulness Journey began & What it can do for you...
Is it just another thing to try and do, another thing to add to an already hectic day?
Another thing to “fail” or not achieve fully?
My own thoughts about Learning Mindfulness were just this.
But… after reaching a time in life were I had “reached all my goals” (Career, 2 beautiful children, emigrated to NZ, brilliant friends, generally a good life), I still felt something was missing; a lack of fulfilment. How could that be the case when I had so much? What else could I “achieve” to feel more fulfilled?
The answer of Mindfulness came slowly. I did a few courses for training purposes and realised the principals and the essence of Mindfulness was something I needed to embrace further.
Changing my thoughts from trying to achieve and what next? To ones of gratitude and appreciation for what I had. Actually being present in those precious moments that I had so readily available was the start of a new life path and I was filled with excitement and motivation.
So I began...
My Intention was just to be open to the experience. I hoped it might offer me calm and acceptance in my life. I had also read that it helped with hypertension, which was something I was keen to try and manage without the use of pharmaceuticals. I committed to daily practice and remained open and excited about the journey into Mindfulness.
I practiced and the more I practiced the more aware and conscious and curious I became. But it wasn’t easy and at times I felt incredibly agitated and frustrated, while at other times, flooded with raw emotion that had been suppressed for so long. My attitude to practice remained open and non-judging and I tried hard not to criticise or overly analysis my experience and bring a loving acceptance to all the experiences that occurred.
Not every practice was challenging as some were incredibly energising and releasing. One occasion whilst meditation with Shamash Alidina, a smile erupted into full belly laughter and remained with me throughout the day; nothing in particular was “funny”, I was just full of happiness and laughter. Mindfulness is full of challenges and unknowns but so incredibly worthwhile.
I now feel calmer with an overwhelming urge to be kinder and less judgemental to others in my interactions. An immense relief and gratitude towards the life I experience in each moment.
My daily life has changed and my focus for each day has shifted. I’m not always caught up in ‘Doing mode’, completing endless lists of things to do in order to cope with my daily stress and anxiety.
Although certain tasks are a requirement of daily life, I can also now move into ‘Being mode’. Bringing my Awareness to the present, noticing my moment by moment experiences and letting go of everything I ‘should’ be doing to fully becoming aware of the now.
Each day, I set aside 10 – 30 minutes of formal practice... a time just for me; quiet and undisturbed were I can listen to a guided meditation. I try to take a Mindful walk each day to notice my surroundings, colours, textures, smells and sounds. The temperature of the air and my body movements as I walk. I find Mindful walking especially helpful if my mind is very busy and I’m feeling restless as the active part of movement allows me to embrace the mindful experience more fully.
Outside of formal practices, I try to carry out daily tasks such as eating, cleaning the house, brushing my teeth and showering with a greater amount of awareness and acceptance. In these ways, my experience in the World has become more mindful.
“There’s something in this Mindfulness stuff”
It became very clear to me and my family.
Mindfulness Teacher & Author
Mindfulness not only reduces stress but also gently builds an inner strength so that future stressors have less impact on our happiness and physical well-being.
I myself have been able to utilise 'letting go' meditations that have helped me accept not knowing my biological Father. I have done this and come through it letting go of feelings of rejection, abandonment and feeling unworthy. I have now made a shift to actual gratitude for my life. Being here and the chance to have experienced this life. I am now grateful for my life in the form it is in.
My 6 year old daughter said to me one morning “Mum your way less grumpy in the mornings now, I like it”.
If those changes aren’t enough reasons, I have also managed to half my prescribed blood pressure tablets for long standing Hypertension. So, both mind and body are benefiting in ways I had never previously been able to experience. Growing research continues to back and strengthen these kind of claims and Mindfulness is used to help combat stress, anxiety, depression and chronic pain.
I am now experiencing life through Mindful Living and growth and my honest hope for others is that they open their hearts to the possibility of a different experience... A life with Mindfulness.
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