Heading into our penultimate class, I can’t believe how quickly the Mindfulness Based Living Course is coming to an end. I’ve started to notice this week that when I get tired this effects the way I connect to others and how my mind has a habit of continuing to keep going regardless, prioritising cleaning jobs, ironing and anything else that springs to mind. I then realise that maybe this is why I get so tired in the first place because I just normally keep going without noticing how my body is feeling and then the effect this has on me and the people around me.
Finally, I settle down to practice and I’m learning that training my mind to spend more time living in the present moment is like going to the gym, some days I just don’t feel like it, but then I remind myself that my health and happiness pretty much depend on it as nothing is going to change, unless I break out of my old unhelpful thought patterns and habits that resulted in the stress I was feeling before I joined the course.
Learning a new skill I realise is going to take time and I’m seeing that mindfulness is a way of life not a quick fix. It feels a bit uncomfortable going outside of my comfort zone at times and requires a bit of effort like going to the gym with a healthy dose of patience that I will get there if I don’t give up. I guess it’s a bit like when I first started driving lessons or started my first job, it took lots of practice so I’m glad when Julie tells us we are going to be focusing on self-compassion, self-acceptance and our emotional wellbeing systems tonight and learning what causes us to feel stressed or living in over-drive in the first place.
I enjoy coming to the class each week because it helps support my mindfulness practice between classes and I enjoy hearing how everyone else is getting on. There is so much support within the group, we have all bonded and helping one another and sharing our experiences. It’s reassuring to know that all our minds work the same and it’s a natural part of being human. Some people are really successful at practising, others find it harder to be consistent, some practice during the day, others at night, some a bit of both but Julie reassures us that we are all going at our own pace and there is no right and wrong way to do it, just as long as we do it because the benefits won’t be felt without doing the practice, which totally makes sense to me.
After tonight’s class I’ve realised that I spend too much time in my over-drive system and not enough time in my soothing system where we feel safe, protected, contented and at peace with ourselves and our surroundings. Julie advises us on how to develop this part of ourselves throughout the day and when we are under stress or having a difficult time. It all makes sense to me and I am starting to see what’s missing in my everyday life to keep my energy and myself balanced and decide on what I’m going to do starting tomorrow.
We also do a practice that is like a toolbox to help us cope with difficult emotions or experiences which gives us space and freedom to heal and figure things out as opposed to feeling wound up so tightly in the grip of it which can lead to more problems. I decide that I am going to try this practice at home and show myself some compassion this week, something I don’t think I’ve ever given much thought to before as I normally put everyone and everything else first, before me.
Look forward to what next week brings!