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! 🙂
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”.