This is very personal. I’m not sure why at this stage I feel the need to publish it, but I also want to commit to it and to myself and I feel like I should have some kind of record, or evidence if you will. It’s also a handy way for me to be able to access my notes and thoughts wherever I am for inspiration and encouragement.
Responding instead of reacting
Self-awareness rather than self-improvement
A practice of loving awareness
Introduction to practice involved sitting with my “Abby” mug in front of me and taking time to examine the mug, noting its beauty and utility. Then I closed my eyes and became aware of my sensations; my stomach is bloated and I was very aware of how my hands and arms felt rested on it. I was aware of my clothes around my shoulders, and the way my trousers creased where my knees are bent. Next I opened my awareness to what I could hear; the buzzing of electricity, Tom eating a cookie and using his keyboard as he plays a game.
This sequence of events gave me a break from any preoccupations.
Jon Kabat-Zinn -pioneer of modern mindfulness. “You don’t have to like it, just do it!”
Ripples of thought: Direct experience> simple thoughts> thoughts about thoughts
Mindfulness in Action: Thoughts come with or lead to emotions which can lead to judgement. Acknowledge sensations and aim to refrain from making judgements about them, e.g. There’s a green glass vase on the table. IT LOOKS EXPENSIVE. Register awareness, notice how you experience them and refocus awareness on physical sensations e.g. breathing. Don’t engage with thoughts/feelings.
Autopilot: The mind steals its’ reactions from the past. No need to be hurt by a situation because it’s hurt us before! Address by relating to experiences with acceptance rather than judgement to become more grounded/nimble in our responses. Rather than judging something as “it’s ALWAYS been this way” or “this ALWAYS makes me feel…. Or ALWAYS leads to…” accept the situation/sensation.
5 ways to turn off Autopilot
- Leave mobile phone at home
- Talk to a stranger
- Do something new with your partner
- Break a regular journey
- Do a big chore – autopilot makes us procrastinate and avoid uncomfortable experiences for as long as possible. Don’t let it hang over threateningly, do it willingly and with full attention. (Alex potty training, speech and language development)
MINDFULNESS MEANS PURPOSEFULLY PAYING ATTENTION, IN THE PRESENT MOMENT, WITHOUT MAKING ANY KIND OF JUDGEMENT.
Repetitive Chores: Norm is to use time spent doing boring chores thinking about other things, or planning. Mindful undertaking of chores in the moment, with purposeful attention and without judgement enables a stable place for thoughts to settle. Observe any intrusive thoughts without getting drawn into them and gently bring focus back to task at hand.
Happiness: Gratitude for what you have is conducive to happiness. Acceptance of what can’t be changed is another quality that boosts our sense of wellbeing.
Inspiration and Ideas:
- Mindful computer game playing; I tend to rush through and not pay proper attention to the storyline and what’s actually happening so it would be helpful for me to do this.
- Use my mobile phone less when spending time with the children – have it on “loud” so I can hear if I get a message/call but not play games/use Facebook.
- Undertake mindful housekeeping (e.g. chopping vegetables, putting clothes away, cleaning bathrooms, hoovering)