I think if I could only say one thing I learned in April it would be that mindfulness is hard. I struggle with it even now. It is like one more chore I have to do in a day and while I absolutely know it shouldn’t feel that way, it does. But, when I do it, I sleep better, more soundly and deeply which helps me start the next day a bit more refreshed. When I don’t, I know that my sleep is more likely to be disturbed and that I don’t feel as refreshed the next day. I don’t understand all the linkages but I do know this: it is helping me but damn is it hard to get my mind to settle on only the activity at hand or breathing. In fact, trying to focus on only breathing is the worst. It is like my mind just gets bored and rebels.
I think because there is so much potential change in my life that mindfulness is both harder and more required. I remember a passage from Eat, Pray, Love when Elizabeth talks about meditating during the prescribed time in the mornings and how for her it was like something akin to wrestling a caged animal. I now totally understand what she meant by that. She and I were both wrestling with our minds and while her battle may be over, my still continues. My mind doesn’t want to give up control. It wants to be thinking, day dreaming, planning, worrying, obsessing and many other things. It wants to stress and find solutions. It does not want to focus on breathing. It can’t think of anything more boring than just being. The only problem is, the rest of me really needs this just being thing, and frankly so does my mind whether it knows that or not. And even though my mindful month is up, I am going to try to push through and continue the 8 week mindfulness course. By the time I finish, it will be just about time for my meditation month and hopefully mindfulness will lay the foundations.
So, what else did I learn this month:
- I really do need all three of these spiritual months. They may be the crucial ones for me.
- I read self-reflections books fast.
- I am a good self-reflector
- I would like to go back to the city of Lincoln and spend more time there.
- I love sunshine, bookstores, coffee, ice cream, new books, wine and horseback riding.
- I am not keen on people but would love a pet.
- I am passionate about people finding their zen or passion.
- What others see as self-less I see as what needs to be done.
- I like to garden – who knew?
- I struggle to meditate lying down or closing my eyes.
- I now understand the phrase ‘the years are short but the days are long.’
- I meditate best after coffee.
- Craving doing something makes me more mindful when doing it.
- My zens are beautiful, wild countrysides, walking fells or hiking, horseback riding and a good story.
- Walking at lunch helps me mentally put away the morning and prepare for the afternoon.
- The RENT principle: Live each day like you have a terminal illness and it could possibly be your last. You never know, it might be.
- Uncertainty is the killer of mindfulness