Personal reflection – Part 1
I got off to a bad start last week, I usually get a lift from my neighbour to the session, but she was really suffering with a cold and so was not able to come. I’m not the world’s most confident driver, but the hall is slightly too far to walk to from my house with all of the equipment.
I left the children during bedtime and went outside to find that my neighbours’ cars were parked very close to mine and I was unable to get out. Panic mode!
Thankfully my lovely husband came to my rescue and managed to move the car for me and off I went. This was my first mindfulness test of the evening – I was really pleased that I got to the hall in time, but I was feeling a bit deflated at needing to be rescued from the situation as well as being a bit annoyed that the car was jammed it. Thankfully I was able to observe all of these emotions, rather than react to or get lost in them, and carry on.
The Week 4 Meeting
I was quite worried that I would be meditating alone last Thursday after my most regular attendees had sent their apologies, however I was very pleasantly surprised to see several returning faces to the session.
After setting up, grabbing a hot drink and listening to some meditation music I had downloaded for free from the google store for a few moments (link below), we were ready to begin.
I must say, the music is definitely effective in setting a nice atmosphere for the start of the session, however I haven’t quite decided whether I should keep the music on during the introduction or not.
Next week I will experiment with just turning it lower until the end of the rapid mindfulness meditation.
Rapid Mindfulness: Three Minute Mindfulness Exercise
I read a three minute mindfulness exercise to the group, where they were invited to focus at first on their breathe, then on their bodies and then on their environment.
It is becoming very apparent from our discussions during the group that the short, ‘rapid mindfulness’ exercises are the most easily transferable into everyday situations.
This ‘Three Minute Mindfulness’ exercise seemed very easy to follow and tune into and I will be recommending it to anyone that wants a quick taste of mindfulness within a busy environment.
Short Meditation: Seated Meditation
The group made themselves comfortable either seated on a mat or on a chair. I introduced the six points I had found at:
The group were invited to spend seven minutes in silent meditation, focusing on their breathing, posture and sounds.
After the meditation, I found that I had automatically closed my eyes for the duration of the practice, rather than gently gazing approximately three feet in front of me, as the six points suggests. I also noticed I have a tendency to grab onto my knees during the meditation, rather than just resting them on my knees. I will try this meditation again with my hands facing upwards and see if this helps.
Other members noted they were experiencing slight hip pain after being seated on the floor and are going to try and do the meditation on a chair next time.
Homework Challenges and General Discussion
The group discussed the homework challenges from last week and it was wonderful to hear that everyone had tried to do at least one thing that brings them joy over the previous week. Joyous activities ranged from swimming, dog walking, meditation to meeting an old friend for dinner, running and having an uninterrupted five minutes with a hot chocolate.
Before the session, I had read it is easy to be mindful and in the present moment when consumed with an activity which you enjoy and asked the group if they found this to be true. There was resounding agreement. We concluded that one way of being more mindful might be to make sure we make time to do the things that bring us joy and enable us to be fully present whilst doing them.
There are lots of articles on mindfulness in sport and the member who chose to go swimming as her ‘activity of joy’ was encouraged to look into this further.
Feature Meditation: Guided Meditation – Mindfulness of Sounds and Thoughts.
Following the discussion, we returned to our mats and settled down for the feature meditation – A Guided Meditation – Mindfulness of Sounds and Thoughts.
.Personal Refection – Part 2
The writing of this section of the review was on paused for twenty days which might indicate how personally I was affected by the relatively minor event that followed the meeting.
The session ended and everyone left ready to face another mindful week.
I was feeling fantastic after the session as we had some wonderful feedback from several members and I could see how the sessions were starting to have real impact on member’s lives.
I got to the car park to find that my car was blocked in by one of the line dancers that use the main hall where we meet. Panic mode. Again!
I decided to give it my best shot and started to try and reverse out of the space.
10 frustrating minutes later and one very close encounter with a brand new car’s bumper…and I decided there was no chance of me being able to exit the car park without asking someone to move their car. I wasn’t sure whether to scream or cry. Time to put my big lady pants on and head inside.
I walked back into the hall, mid-line dancing routine, obviously, and ask whose car is blocking me in. And of Course the car was owned by the only male line dancer in the troop.
And of course when we work out that it is his car and he agrees to move it, he says ‘ you weren’t there when I arrived!’ I was. And ‘ You can get out of there.’ No I couldn’t.
Next was the offer to help guide me out of the space. I managed to politely decline this offer and say ‘No,thank you. I’m a nervous driver, could you just move your car, please?’
So he moved his car and I eventually managed to leave the car park and return to my family.
I realise this probably doesn’t sound like a huge deal. I also realise this happen to all drivers at times, although perhaps not twice in the space of two hours! What I hadn’t realised was how easily my emotions could flip from feeling almost joyous to distraught/pathetic within a matter of minutes.
I couldn’t have asked for a clearer example of how far I still have to go to stop reacting to challenging situations in such an emotive fashion.
I was so upset with my ‘failure’ to leave the car park without help, I couldn’t even bring myself to write about the really successful session. In fact, I used this one, relatively minor incident, to put me off almost completely of writing, reading, talking, and even thinking about mindfulness for 20 days. 20 days!
Perhaps this was a test. Perhaps this was a reminder that mindfulness is a skill that takes a lot of dedication and repetition before it comes naturally.
20 days on, I am starting to see this event as a blessing. A reminder that the sessions I am running are valuable. A reminder that I am human and I have my strengths and weaknesses. A reminder that I’m lucky to have a neighbour who is willing to drive me to the sessions on a normal week (and attend the sessions,too!).
And finally, a really important reminder that things happen that will test me and I need to learn how to handle them. Back to the (Mindfulness) drawing board.