So here I am at the end of my mindfulness course and my weekly blog. Our final session is a celebration of all that we have learned and everyone is feeling very grateful and maybe a tiny bit sad that it’s all over. We have all become quite bonded by our experience and it’s good to know that we will have an opportunity to meet up again in the future at our next post course follow up class.
We discuss what each of us has gained from participating in this course and it ranges from some people feeling amazed at how they were at the beginning of the course compared to the end, learning more about how the mind works, moving out of autopilot and being more in the moment to enjoy the time spent with family and the people we love, feeling less worried and anxious, coping better with stressful situations, emotions and people, having more understanding/patience with others and ourselves to more kindness and compassion for ourselves and other people.
As the weeks have passed, people close to me have remarked that I’ve become a bit more sensitive to things. Like when I’m listening to a relative say negative things about someone and ranting on, I can feel myself getting annoyed. I just don’t want to listen to it. When I’m having a silly argument with someone, I get a really heavy feeling in my heart and it makes me feel sad. It’s like someone has suddenly switched me up a gear and my senses are on high alert.
I have a conversation with Julie about this and she reassures me that this is completely normal. Like a lotus flower, I’m opening up to the world. My awareness of physical changes within me has increased which explains the increased ‘gut feelings’ that I’m having. It’s not that I haven’t had these feelings before, I just haven’t noticed. And while I have little tolerance for other’s negativity, it’s because my compassion for others has increased. I now need to take it a step further and have compassion for the people who criticise others. They are also having a hard time and are dealing with it by venting their frustration. Instead of judging them and rolling my eyes, I can use my mindfulness skills to understand whats going on and if needed offer a practical solution or a different view of the world. I need to remember that although I’ve come a long way over the past 8 weeks, the people around me are still the same. I am learning to bring acceptance to that.
There are many positives that I’m taking from this course. It really has been life changing. It has given me the courage to start a new business without worrying what others think. I procrastinate less and just get on with things. I’m able to prioritise my days around my family without feeling resentful. I’m proud that I’ve done something ‘just for me’ that will in fact benefit my friends and family too.
I said at the very beginning of my blog that I am normally quite composed and it’s unlike me to lose it over small nuisances. At the time, I meant that I take things in my stride and my worries were few. So on reflection, I’ll admit that this is not true at all. Of course, things affect me and I worry like everyone else. I’ve realised that I’ve been pushing a lot of feelings into a little black hole which would only have come back to haunt me in the future. It’s like keeping a room clean by stuffing everything into a cupboard – one day that cupboard will burst open and suddenly there’s a big mess to deal with!
My reason for coming on the course was to find a way of managing stress and anxiety that comes up to prevent that happening again in the future. I feel like I have a mindfulness toolbox now that I am starting to use to help me with that, some of the tools I’m getting better at using each day and others will take a bit longer to develop as my awareness continues to grow and deepen. I have covered a lot of ground in two months and I would recommend that learning more about your own mind to understand yourself and others better is a great way to know what’s important to you in life and how to cope and manage better in the busy world around you.
So, I’ve made a promise to myself that from now on I’m going to face things head on. I’m going to live my best life and take time to appreciate all the people and things that I’m grateful for. I’m going to look at life honestly and if I don’t like what I see then I’ll acknowledge these feelings, instead of suppressing them and do what I can to improve what I can and accept the things I can’t. Thank you to all my fellow course members and Julie for their support in creating a safe and warm environment for exploring living life mindfully. I may have finished the course but just like the saying “Today is the first day of the rest of my mindful life!”.