What is Mindfulness? ‘ …..it has everything to do with waking up and living in harmony with oneself and the world. ‘ Jon Kabot Zinn (New York, 1994).
This resonates deeply within me and yet still leaves me wanting.
Living in harmony with the world is a broad, romantic notion that any half-conscious person attempts to achieve, even on the most basic of scales; basking in glorious sunshine, watching rain drip down a window pane, putting leftovers in the compost bin. The list is almost endless. All of these micro-moments lead to a more connected existence and the calming rewards are evident. With small, continuous efforts to consider one’s impact on our environment, there is scope to vastly alter some of the detrimental actions we carry out and have become numb to. This feels like attainable mindfulness. I’m in – with full ecover-buyibg gusto!
Living in harmony with oneself? Not so easily achieved. Perhaps it is a predominantly female trait to be self-conscious, self-loathing, or to have low self-esteem. Or perhaps it is just mine. Either way, if you find it uncomfortable facing the mirror to your external self, how can you possible be comfortable, let alone be in harmony, with your innerself?
Some people confuse being brave with having confidence or being loud with being tough. I am neither confident nor tough but I have spent a lifetime being forced into situations where I have had to be brave and find my voice for my own sanity or for straight-up survival. This drive to survive requires constant effort and completely is exhausting and unsustainable.
Once I had removed myself from a challenging starting environment, I gradually lost some of the bravado I had relied so heavily on and with it my inner voice became fainter and fainter until it had almost disappeared. Without something to run from, I began to meander until eventually I was completely lost.
I had absolutely no idea how far I had meandered from my path until one day I looked around and realised I have arrived at a destination I was not fully aware I was travelling to.
The return of the Warrior
‘Mindfulness provides a simple but powerful route for getting ourselves unstuck, back into touch with our own wisdom and vitality. It is a way to take charge of the direction and quality of our own lives, including our own relationships within the family, our relationship to work and to the larger world and planet, and most fundamentally, our relationship with our self as a person.’ Jon Kabot Zinn (New York, 1994).
Something inside of me snapped at the end of last year. I had almost completely forgotten who I was, what I liked, how to dress, how to feel! My life felt like one long attempt at keeping other people happy- and I wasn’t especially great at that, either!
I am now on the slow and steady path to realising who I am, again, and this is helping me to really evaluate my role within my family, and within society as a whole. Mindfulness is enabling me to recognise my strengths and weaknesses in a non-judgmental way and I am using this knowledge to help me to plot a new route along a considered and exciting path. It’s time for me to sit in the driver’s seat and steer.
Have you experienced any similar experiences? Have you looked around and had no idea how you ended up where you are? I’d love to hear from you and about the challenges you have overcome with the aid of a regular mindfulness practice.