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My Kind of Mindfulness

By Gillian Picton

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Before I started at Tree of Knowledge, I’d never tried mindfulness.  I’d heard about it, sure.  Something hippy dippy that was meant for other people who had time to waste. That’s not me…

…Then something happened.  I started mindfulness for 10 minutes a day at work.  At first, I had one eye open, scanning the office… But to my amazement my colleagues appeared to be engaged in a session of recharging and relaxation. Once the penny dropped that this was a ‘thing’ I found myself “trying” to do mindfulness but aware that my to-do list was popping into my head and that meant that I must be “failing” at mindfulness.

It’s not easy.  Thoughts come and go even when it feels like you’re trying your best not to have any!

That’s when I decided that my kind of mindfulness is to accept that the thoughts will keep coming (whether I like it or not!), but I’m not going to engage with them or get involved with them.  They are there but I’m relaxing and breathing so they can stay there.

My kind of mindfulness in everyday life is trying to engage with what I’m doing fully when I’m doing it.  Sounds simple, but again, trickier than we think.  We are already thinking about what we need to do next, where we need to be, what’s for tea (maybe that last one is just me…)

Mindfulness for me is not about meditation or sitting in a darkened room.  Its about being fully aware of what I’m doing at a certain time – that time is NOW.

My kind of mindfulness is also a conscious effort to let go of the narratives of the past (“This happened because that happened… Therefore, that it will happen again…”)

No, it doesn’t! What happened in the past happened, because it happened.  No need to re-evaluate or have a spin on it. It happened. It’s gone.

I’ve become aware that I tell myself the stories of the past and tell myself that they will shape my future.  But guess what, if you are living in the now, the past is in the past and the future hasn’t happened yet.  By not being paralysed by the fear of the past repeating itself or the anxieties of the future, guess where you are living… IN THE MOMENT.

Not projecting forward or contemplating the past is not easy, but like mindfulness, it’s worth doing because it takes us to the only place left where we can truly engage and be effective which is in this moment.

Be kind to yourself… Forgive yourself and others. Forgive the mistakes of the past, let the future unfold and know you will deal with whatever life throws at you.  As you always have!  Trust you will be fine!

Living in the moment is the ultimate gift you can give to yourself – and like all the best things in life that are worth having, it doesn’t always come easy.  Give it a bash, be consistent and be prepared for it to be challenging at times.  But do it.

The only time is NOW…

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