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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”.

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Moment’s of Mindfulness Matter Week 1

I’ve decided to do a course mindfulness . I actually came across this course a year ago, but I didn’t have the time to do it. Being a Life-Coach I have always had an interest in holistic practices, and up until recently a lot of these practices would have been at the fore front of how I chose to live my life. Up until recently, as in the last 18 months or so I would have signed up to this course which is why it’s quite ironic to think “I didn’t have the time”. It’s funny how the days, months and even years can go by in the blink of an eye, especially when you are living your life mindlessly. That’s literally what I had been doing over this period of time,I thought I was in control of my life, especially being a life coach and being great at helping others sort their lives out. The problem was I wasn’t in control, and I was unaware that my life was controlling me. Even now as I type these words, it brings that realization even closer to home.

During this course, I will meditate for 30 minutes a day, I will practice mindfulness by bringing simple awareness into daily activities and I will log all these activities on a daily basis. I also have reading and video material. For most people I would imagine finding 30 mins a day to practice meditation would be difficult, even now I am noticing that the floor needs hovered and mopped, and that I’ve a million other things to be getting on with. I also slept in because I had an unexpected late night, so I’m already half a day behind on everything I need to do today. But there is a little voice inside of me telling me that I need to do this for me, and so on some level of consciousness I know that I need to do this for me right now, to fully commit to this course and embrace it, and that none of the other stuff really matters.

By the end of this course I hope that I will have more clarity in my life and that I will be more in control of my life. I hope that my creative energy will be flowing more freely. I hope that I will have more peace from within and that I will feel more centred and enjoy being in the moment. I hope it will open new doors of opportunity in my life and that I will be a much more positive and relaxed person. I would also like to learn how to slow down, to stop pushing myself so hard and placing so many demands on myself and others. I have a tendency to plan things in my head, I’m constantly in my head…planing, planning, planning. It’s getting to the point where all this mindless thinking is actually causing me stress, and I’m spending more time thinking and planning than actually doing!

Each week I’m going to post a blog about my progress throughout this mindfulness journey. I want to share my experience with others, and maybe my experience will help or be of interest to others who may be experiencing stress, or have a sense that their life is out of control.

Week 1 Personal Experience

The first things I noticed were my thought’s, my limiting beliefs niggling at me…telling me 30min of meditation a day is a long time, why couldn’t it be like 10 or 15 min? Christmas is just around the corner and I’m going to be busy, how am I going to fit all this in? My negative thinking patterns were already trying to sabotage this before I really even begun. It’s almost like I’m resisting, and I realized that it just feels a little uncomfortable now because I’m resisting to change. So I just allowed myself to feel these feelings, and just notice them and not react. Even that act made me recognise that I had a choice.

During the first couple of days I found it hard to let go of my thoughts, during the meditation and mindfulness practice’s as I tried to still my mind, I would find that thought’s kept creeping in and my thought’s were controlling my mind. One minute I would be feeling the sensations in my body through the guided Body Scan meditation and the next thing I would be planning the day ahead, what I was cooking for dinner, that I must not forget to do such and such, and then I would hear the voice of the guided mediation way in the background and suddenly realise my mind was drifting off with my thoughts AGAIN! There were even parts of the guided meditation that I had missed, then the next day I would think to myself, I didn’t hear that part of the meditation yesterday. I couldn’t still my mind for 30 sec never mind 30 minutes and this was a huge realisation of how out of touch I was with myself, and how my thoughts were controlling my life and ultimately shaping my future. I knew then in that moment that I didn’t want to allow this to happen.

Simple Awareness Practices Week 1

I was out running, and decided I might try the “simple awareness” exercise, so I stilled my mind as I ran along the country path. Almost seconds later, my mind had drifted off again to my thought’s, and planning my to do list. Then I would suddenly remember, I was trying to practice mindfulness. So I really focused my mind in that moment, and turned my attention to the outside world. As my mind cleared, as I focused on pushing each and every thought away from my mind I suddenly found myself with a greater awareness. I could hear and sense my feet pounding the road as I ran, I could hear the tree’s rustling in the gentle breeze, I could hear the birds, the streams, the rivers, the flutter of a birds wings as it was startled by my presence, I could sense the nature surrounding me and just for a few moments I felt at peace. It was beautiful, I felt more alive. I have been running this route for several years now and never noticed any of these things, I was always in my head. I felt a little sadness inside, the world has so much beauty and most of the time we don’t take the time to fully appreciate it.

Conscious eating was another “simple aware” exercise that I practiced this week. Now for anyone that knows me, knows that when it comes to my food I can be a bit of a gulpen! I don’t just eat my food really quickly, I more like inhale it. My close friends and family have teased me and told me off many time’s over the dinner table. So for some reason or other I have developed a habit of eating to fast, not really enjoying my food and usually watching TV or some other distracting activity as I shovel food into my gob. So during this particular meal I decided to totally focus on eating it consciously. The first thing I noticed was I was quite hungry and had to restrain myself from devouring it in seconds. So I slowed down the whole process, and focused on savoring every mouthful. I realized that I tended to chew on the right side of my mouth, so I deliberately chewed each mouthful changing from left to right. I could really taste the food, it was really delicious. I felt more satisfied with each mouthful, noticing all the texture’s as I slowly chewed and sensing my taste buds almost explode with excitement. After the exercise I felt completely satisfied, I felt calm and relaxed. I realize now that I don’t enjoy my food, and I eat far too fast. I want to enjoy my food more, it’s one of the greatest pleasure’s in life. It’s definitely food for thought!

So just to give you a brief over view of how the rest of my week progressed these are the findings that I have discovered as follows:

Day 1 Meditation: I felt aware of the different parts of my body, and I felt relaxed. My thoughts dominated the experience, and it was very difficult to still my mind during the whole 30 min. I had a great sleep that evening.

Day 2 Meditation: I could sense an energy throughout my body, and I could actually feel the sensations of the air as I inhaled running down my throat. I still struggled with my thoughts and trying to still my mind.

Day 3 Meditation: I could sense or I had a new awareness of the sluggishness in my digestive system, I had been a tad constipated, but suddenly could feel the energy moving into my digestive system again. I could sense the stress that I was holding there, and also in my left shoulder. I still struggled with my thoughts but the moments of mindfulness were getting a little longer and I felt more relaxed. ( I was less constipated after that meditation).

Day 4 Meditation: My digestive system came alive again, energy was rushing into this area. I was finding it easier to connect to certain parts of my body that I was finding difficult to connect with before. I felt more relaxed than before, but my mind still wandered off and had to bring it back. I felt an energy throughout my body. I am actually really enjoying the experience more, I feel less resistance.

Day 5 Meditation: There was some distractions in the space I had decided to do my meditation today, so I really need to pick a time with zero distraction as it takes away from it. But I’m enjoying it more and feel more relaxed about allowing myself and embracing the 30 min a day set aside to meditate. I’m starting to realize the many health benefits for myself.

Day 6 Meditation: I felt tired today, and it was late afternoon by the time I got around to my meditation practice. My mind was actually drifting off into sleep most of the time! But even as it was drifting off into a sleep, my mind was still active, it was floating now into dreamlike state with thoughts and images. It was very difficult to practice meditation as I was obviously too tired, but I did feel extremely rested after. Mental note to self, morning is the best time for me to practice meditation.

Day 7 Meditation: I had some longer moments of mindfulness during this meditation. Thought’s did come into my mind but I was more aware of them, and I was able to come back to a mindful state more quickly. I notice that every experience is different. I could sense the beating of my heart for a few moments which was interesting. I feel very relaxed now while I practice my meditation, actually so relaxed today that I feel asleep after the meditation.

That conclude’s my first week of mindful practices, thank you for taking the time to read this post. I’m looking forward to experiencing more moments of mindfulness during week 2.