Month: December 2014

Moment’s of Mindfulness Matter Week four

Week Four – Personal experience of practicing mindfulness

Half way through my mindfulness course now and I almost feel like a new person. One thing I know for sure is that I don’t wanna look back, and into old habits. I like how I’m feeling now, I’m enjoying this new awareness in my being, and I feel I have created some space in my life to “get to know me” and to be with what is truly in line with my life right now. I feel I have learned so much about myself over the last few weeks, it really has been an amazing journey of self discovery. All of the reading materials, the video lessons and mindfulness practises have been very educating and it’s really helped me to understand on a much deeper level how stress effects our physical, emotional and mental well-being. I’m not saying that I’ve completely transformed as a person and I walk around all day with birds singing in my head. I’m just saying that even though I experience negative events or stressful situations (and we all do from time to time), I am noticing that I have a little more awareness of these events now, and how I react to them. I am still experiencing the thousands of thoughts that come into my head each day, most of which we’re all unaware of, but that’s just normal, and always will be. What has made a difference to me personally might not work for you, and this is why I’m writing my own personal experience. I’m not doing it for any particular reason, I’m doing it for me because I recognise that I cannot continue living a life that is filled with worry, anxiety and stress and ignoring the effects it is having on my overall well-being.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not always negative, I’m a very happy person and quite a positive person in general. But now that I am more aware of my negative internal dialogue, I have actually started taking some very positive steps to changing some of my core beliefs. When I say core beliefs I am talking about the things that I know, and the things that I believe are true for me, regardless of what anyone else thinks. For example I may have a core belief that I am a “kind and generous” person, and my actions may be that I am kind to others, and I happily give generously of that time to others. So this is my reality and I create my own reality, so if I create my own reality (and we all do), therefore I have control over my own core belief system.
I was able to recognize a negative core belief, this is something that I was unaware of as generally we are not aware of our core beliefs, it is just a way of being, and these positive or negative beliefs may stem from early childhood events. I had been working on a particular project this week, and I was struggling to really put myself out there in front of future possible clients. I was feeling nervous and unsure of myself, even though I knew I was good at that particular project role, somewhere deep inside of me I had this feeling, this questioning of myself and I realized it was my negative internal dialogue speaking for me, it was in fact a negative core belief that said to me “I am not good enough”. I was beginning to tune into my internal core beliefs, and question for the first time…probably EVER, is this really true for me now??? The answer was NO. You have no idea how a realization like this can impact someone’s life. Remember that you create your own reality, so you in fact have control over your core belief systems, and I was about to change mine. 🙂
So what would happen if I decided I was going create a new reality, a new core belief and decide that “I am good enough”, and really believe it. You might say, fake it till you make it. These re-framed thoughts will eventually become a part of us, because what we think about creates our reality. So I’m pretty excited about this realization, in fact I’ve already started practising my new core belief, or faking it till I make it, and I have to say that I’m actually REALLY starting to believe it! The results this week speak for themselves, I’ve been in touch with organizations and people I would have never put myself in front of before, and the feedback I’ve been receiving so far has been very positive. So my penny’s worth in all of this is…..if you feel stuck, if you feel you can’t do something, if you feel your not good enough or your afraid to put yourself out there. STOP and LISTEN to what is really going on, what is the internal dialogue and try to tune into it. Once you have acknowledged it, ask yourself is it actually really true for you right now? The likelihood is that it probably isn’t true fro you right now, so don’t believe its lies, face that fear head on, re-frame your thinking by flipping it around into the positive, and just by taking a small step outside your comfort zone you can achieve anything you want. Easier said than done eh?!! Look if it was easy everyone would be doing it, and I think you probably get the picture! 🙂

Meditation Practices

This week I am practising standing yoga and floor yoga meditations as well as alternating some of them with the breath awareness meditation. I just love all the meditations, I look forward to starting my day with mindfulness each morning, and its become a part of my routine now. I can’t say anything magical has been happening while I have been meditating, it is what it is. It’s just a very relaxing experience, and I enjoy the lovely sense of calmness and feelings of over all positive well-being during and after my practises. One thing that did happen to come to my attention during one of my meditations this week, were my thoughts in relation to this new project I had been working on. As you can imagine I was number one; excited to realise that I could change my negative internal core belief systems into positive core beliefs, and number two; this actually started a chain reaction of you might say, the universe giving me what I wanted. It was a little overwhelming, and my mind had already begun to race out of control. It doesn’t have to always be negative thoughts that spiral out of our control, it can also happen with positive thoughts too, especially one’s that excite us and we can’t wait to get going and think we need to do it all NOW! But I was able to catch myself, yep I was caught red handed, guilty as charged. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to recognise this, and I actually shudder to think of all the time, effort and energy I was about to throw myself into trying to achieve the impossible, I might as well of been kayaking down a rapid river, in the dark without a paddle…..all because my racing mind syndrome was telling me I had to do it all now. So instead I put the kettle on, relaxed back into my chair and decided that, that was no longer a road I will willing to go down.

Simple Awareness Practices

For the informal practice this week, I was to look for opportunities to practice the STOP (one minute breathing space) exercise, during the course of my day. So basically any time of day whether I’m experiencing a stressful event or maybe even when I’m not, I was to stop what I was doing or thinking and just take a minute out to breath. I would then check in with my thoughts, feelings and sensations at that particular time. Then carry on what ever I was doing. So one evening during the week I found myself having a difficult conversation with someone I care about. I could feel emotions beginning to build inside of me as the conversation went on. So in that moment I just remembered the STOP and breathe exercise so I decided to put it into practise. I was quite surprised at the outcome. During the conversation I was so concerned about my own feelings and getting my own point across, I wasn’t really listening to what the other person was trying to tell me. So in between the silences of that one minute, I actually heard what the other person was saying. Even though it was difficult to accept the outcome, I was able to, and I felt ok with it. I even surprised myself!
Another experience I had while practising this exercise, I found myself worrying about something, so I started the exercise by stopping what I was thinking about and just took a minute out to focus on my breath. By the way I was doing this while driving my car, so you really can practice this exercise in most situations, no one even need know your doing it! Anyhow I carried on driving and completely forgot what I was worrying about or that I even was worried in the first place and carried on with my day! This was a real eye opener for me. It’s so easy to get caught up in worry about something, the more you worry the more you have to worry about, and then your worried about being worried. All we have to do it change the station in our mind.

I’ve really, really enjoyed writing this blog and I never would of imagined myself writing about something that is so personal and sharing it with the world. But here I am tap, tap, tapping on my keyboard! I’ve decided for the next remaining four weeks (5-8), I’m going to merge them together into one final blog.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I hope it was of some interest or help to you. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks of the Mindfulness Course and sharing more of my “moments of mindfulness”.

Moment’s Of Mindfulness Matter Week Three

Week Three – Personal experience of practising mindfulness

Just three weeks into this Mindfulness course and I am really feeling the benefits. I have completely committed myself to making the most of this “me time” and to try and get as much as I can out of the eight week course. I have a strong desire to feel better, to feel less stressed and to worry less. I’m starting to realise that all this is very achievable. I know this because I feel happier, I feel less stressed and more in control of my life. I get up earlier and I’m sleeping better at night. I look forward to my new morning ritual. I relish the quiet mornings, and the quiet space to be with just me. I’m no longer in such a hurry to do things, there are no distractions, no TV, no internet, no phone or radio…they are all off, and I love it!
I mean who was that person just a few short weeks ago, how could she not know she was unhappy, how could she not know she was suffering from long term stress and why, my goodness….. why didn’t she take care of herself, why didn’t she listen to what was really going on? She was lost, she had lost touch with her true self and she was on a downward spiral of chaos and destruction. To the outside world she seemed fine, she had herself convinced too that she was fine and she was playing the game of life. But on the inside, deep, deep within herself was her true self that had been suppressed so that she could cope with all the negative events in her life, to cope with all the stress and worry she was drowning in.
As I look back to just a very short while ago I can see how out of control my life was, I can see the many demands I had placed upon myself and I could see that most of the things I was doing didn’t really serve me and they weren’t actually in line with what I truly wanted anymore. During that time I realize I wasn’t fully accepting responsibility for myself, my life and my actions. Blame is a word that springs to mind, projection is another. In the chaos I was so out of touch with myself, I was out of whack, I was actually insane. I was blaming others for the circumstances I found myself in and then projecting my anger and insecurities on to them. At the time I was unaware of what I was doing, how I was acting and what I was becoming. I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that it can happen to anyone, sometimes life can just spiral out of control and if you don’t listen to that little voice inside your head, if you ignore all the warning signals, and believe me there are plenty, then you are headed for a fall. There is a reason why we feel unhappy, stressed, overwhelmed, depressed, worried, sad, out of control, angry, demotivated or disconnected with ourselves. To often we ignore these feelings because we don’t want to deal with them, or we simply don’t know how to, sure this is just life and that’s the way it is….we just have to get on with it, sound familiar? But it doesn’t have to be that way, and that’s what I’ve been learning over the past few weeks. If you are experiencing negative feelings it’s because something is not right, and that’s the time you REALLY need to check in with yourself and ask yourself, what is causing me this discomfort? If you know someone, or someone very close to you is acting out of whack or maybe seems to be a little bit insane these days, and they might even be projecting their drama, anger and blame onto you. Maybe think twice about getting involved with their drama and reacting to it. By not reacting and not accepting personal responsibility for their actions you can actually help those people face their inner demons. Because they have no other option then but to look within themselves for answers.

Meditation Practises

This week I am practicing “Yoga Floor” meditation as well as alternating it between the “Breath Awareness” and “Body Scan” meditations.
I am really enjoying the Yoga Floor meditation this week as it has brought a whole new experience to meditating. During the meditation I am guided through several different body postures and poses while lying on a mat on the floor. Almost like a moving meditation, but so gentle and peaceful. During the exercises I feel very calm and relaxed. I am more away of sensations in my body, especially the different muscle groups that I am using to perform each exercise. Some of the more difficult exercises where you are holding poses for longer periods of time, even though I felt uncomfortable holding them I was able to stay calm and focused and hold it for longer that I thought I could. Again my digestive system felt very energized during this meditation. (Anyone suffering from digestive problems or IBS problems should definitely try meditating). One particular morning in the middle of the week I hadn’t time to complete a full meditation so I decided I would do it later in the afternoon. I was feeling a little tired when I sat down to do it, and was thinking I hope I don’t fall asleep! But it was actually fine, I was very relaxed and felt extremely rejuvenated afterwards. I went to an exercise class later that evening and I had so much more energy for this class than I’ve ever experienced before, and I thought wow this is amazing!
As the week progressed I started to notice thoughts of worry creeping in during a breath awareness meditation. I noticed these thoughts creeping in and I brought them into my awareness. Christmas is coming up and I was experiencing worried thoughts about the extra expense and how I was going to manage it all. But as these thoughts came into my mind I found that I was actually aware that I was worrying. Usually I would allow myself to run away with all these thoughts and allow the worry to consume me, cause me stress and emotionally drain me until it spirals out of control. But I felt differently, and somehow in that calm meditative state as I was able to check in with myself and ask….did I really want to go down this road, is this the land that I want to be living in? Did I really want to start putting so much pressure on myself financially, I mean after all, don’t I have a choice? So I chose not to. 🙂
As this week comes to an end I’m feeling so much happier within myself. I am noticing my thoughts as they come into my awareness. Some of these thoughts are negative, some positive, some of past events and some of future events. But I am now experiencing the freedom of not having to react to any of these thoughts. I am now more aware that I am able to notice myself thinking these thoughts. Usually I would unknowingly run away with all these thoughts as they came into my head and experience all the negative thinking, stress, worry and self judgement that are attached to them. It is so freeing to allow myself to just let them go. I can simply come back to the breath, enjoy being in the moment, experiencing calmness and peacefulness…. just hearing the rain patter on the windows with the wind blowing through the tree’s, while I’m sat here on my chair.

Simple awareness practises

This week I am to practice how I experience and process unpleasant events. Funnily enough it wasn’t long before I realized I was experiencing an unpleasant event. 🙂 I noticed myself getting frustrated and annoyed, and then gave myself a wee pat on the back for realizing that I was getting frustrated in the first place! Even that realization was enough in itself to release some of the anger and frustration. The reason why I was so annoyed (it seems so silly now), but I was genuinely really p***ed off in that moment. I wanted to go for a run, and it was lashing rain outside. I hadn’t been out for a run in a few days and was starting to feel agitated, plus I was really looking forward to going for a run that morning. But when I woke up and looked outside I was instantly in a bad mood, and it was beginning to spiral out of control. I was pacing around the house, cursing the weather outside and my internal dialogue was extremely negative. But I suddenly realized that this was a perfect example of how something so small could effectively cause me a great deal of stress and sabotage my day. So I took out my Informal Log Practice worksheet and began filling it out. As I filled it out I realized that I was actually just feeling disappointed and demotivated.
Lets take a look at the “feelings of disappointment” first; When I go for a run I feel it enhances my energy and I always feel good after a run, which motivates me to have a productive day. So the reason I was experiencing disappointment (I think), is because I had an expectation that I was going to be able to experience those feelings and then when these expectations were not met, it caused me to feel disappointed.
Lets look at the feelings of “feeling demotivated”; Because I had attached feelings of “being motivated” after completing my run, I somehow made a concious decision that I could only “feel motivated” by participating in that activity. The fact that I could not do this activity (the run), that was going to give me feelings of motivation, I decided that I was going to feel demotivated instead, because I was experiencing negative feelings such as the disappointment and the frustration. It sounds kinda confusing I know, and I’m not even fully sure myself if I’ve hit the nail on the head, I’m no psychologist! But the moral of the story is that we do actually have control over our thoughts, and by completing the exercise I realized that just because there are things and events in our life that are out of our control, such as the weather, it doesn’t mean we have to throw our toys out of the pram because our expectations have not been met. There is always a choice available to us, we can chose to accept our reality, accept the here and now and what is happening in this precise moment and surrender to it. So in the end that’s what I decided to do, and it was a really good day too.
This is a lovely little poem, very clever but very powerful, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it

AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN 5 CHAPTERS
I.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
II.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I still don’t see it. I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
It isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
III.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there, I still fall in.
It’s habit. It’s my fault. I know where I am.
I get out immediately.
IV.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
V.
I walk down a different street.
[ Author Unknown

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I hope it was of some interest or help to you. I’m looking forward to taking part on week four of the Mindfulness Course and sharing more of my “moments of mindfulness”.