I was drawn to the concept of Mindfulness when I visited Beautiful Bali over 15 years ago. I studied under a Buddhist traditional approach, thinking It was a sure fire ,super fast way, to ensure I was Zen-e-fied .Working with a single minded determination through various promotions in the corporate sector, I had read someplace how it was good “to remain balanced through mindful meditation”. I liked the idea of being able to balance my 4 coffees before the 11 am break, that sluggish brain through lack of sleep and whirling thoughts about tasks and check lists to be completed , with some meditation that would miraculously , somehow, undo all the bad living styles I seemed to have settled into .
“It’s Not about relaxation” ?
I was somewhat disturbed to be told on the first hour, as I was getting ready to possibly have a cat nap with the tropical trees and waves as a back drop, that its not about relaxation and truth be told although I intermittently dipped in and out of mindfulness throughout the years afterwards, thinking my 20 minutes a day tick in the box formal practice was the bees knees , it was only I really came to need it around three years ago that something clicked and I got it for its full therapeutic value.
A few years ago undergoing a long awaited kidney transplant the same week my Husband, Barry, passed away suddenly at 41. It was however in the weeks and months shortly afterwards that were the worst. Panic attacks, labored breathing, insomnia, Grief as its deepest element , suicidal thoughts and the list goes on.
I remembered my practice from someplace in my subconscious mind or mindfulness muscle memory of some sort. I started Breathing, simply staying with the breath, very slowly through the panic and pain, long breathing through the spiraling thoughts. I started practicing outside , sitting and meditating outside as much as possible. I remembered my practice and remembered to practice gratitude . I made a choice, to focus on the beauty of the flowers, the waves in the ocean , the smiles on the kids faces . The simplicity of what was around me, becoming aware of the good that was left instead MINDLESSLY focusing in on the grief. I re attended another MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) 8 week course .
Combination of Practices seemed to work.
I combined it with other practices , deeply moving spiritual relaxation techniques, empowerment exercises, visualizations and affirmations through self hypnosis however it was the mindfulness practice that was the constant base , that much needed grounding that keeps me moving .
Somebody asked me recently how do I feel after I practice some formal or informal practices and I answer truthfully .. “I become a nicer person”. I appreciate everything much more, I stop moaning as much, my health is better, I manage pain better. I find myself in a calmer more stress free state of being .. and it feels great.
I am so passionate and embodied in my job, both as a Mindfulness practitioner specializing in Mindfulness in the workplace and Mindfulness for Teens , a Life Coach / Therapist / Regression Therapist.
Simply put, it works, and it works well.
My Husband used to say “why fix something that isn’t broken, keep it simple”.
How can you incorporate mindfulness easily into your life / work ?
Mindfulness Can be a short practice , a shower where you focus on the sensations of the water and the smell of the soap, stop the ruminating or monkey mind for a little while. A Mindful meal shared with the family, a body scan where you can identify where you possibly are holding stress or worry within the body.
A walk where you step out of your mind into the space around you. There is loads of free meditations on line now its incredible .
There is significant data and research into mindfulness which I won’t bore you with at the moment, but in a nutshell Scientists now now that the brain is squidgy … Yes , Squidgy. It can be molded , called neuroplasticity. By repeating positive thoughts and avoiding negative thinking styles the physical brain , the hippo campus, can be changed . Thus less stress, increased happiness occurring more often and naturally . Decreased BP and less stress to the heart.
I would ask you to start your mindfulness practice today. Seek out a reputable practitioner in your location or by skype (South East Therapy), Embrace the idea that you have a choice. You can choose what style of thinking you want your brain to learn. You can train your brain. Start your Kids and Teens on their journey also . Have fun with it . My Motto is “Manage the bad and celebrate the good”.
I found this recent article interesting as a reminder to seek a reputable practitioner within your own area .
September 13th 2017 Irish independent article about Mindfulness in schools.