Do you mind?!
Minding how you are Mindful.
If you are anything like me the very word ‘mindfulness’ might bring you out in a nervous rash and cause your eye to twitch. My fear of not doing something ‘properly’ caused me to shamefully at times dismiss the practice by saying, ‘A daily mindfulness practise? Who on earth has the time?!’
All of which of course is an excuse for my Olympic gold standard talent at procrastination and in complete opposition to my absolute knowing and belief that when something is really important to us, we make the time for it. It’s all about focus and what we choose to prioritise. There is evidence aplenty to support that the most successful people in any walk of life are those who understand this and who prioritise commitment to consistent rituals that see them feeling and operating at their best and practising mindfulness is way up there as one of them.
So why my reluctance? Procrastination is best friends with my butterfly brain and I am notorious for my ability to focus on several things at once. Some see this as a strength as they think I am very energetic and capable. It’s true, I do thrive on being busy and love any opportunity to learn new things and meet new people which coaching and training provides huge opportunity for. However, the flip side is that I can feel drained, resentful of not having enough time and guilty for not appreciating the ‘moment’ enough.
In my last blog I spoke about how in the summer I had consciously chosen to stop and take time out to just focus on spending and appreciating time with Oscar, and not overloading my brain or to do list and it worked. I was able to relax and also take time to train as a Reiki Practitioner which is what made me reassess completely what mindfulness actually means to me.
In the spirit of ‘Physician, heal thyself’, I asked myself the same coaching questions I would a client, starting with:
- What does the word mindfulness actually mean to me?
- In understanding that, how am I already practising or achieving it on a regular basis?
- What could I now identify as missing that I would like to add more of?
- How might I go about that in a way that felt natural to me rather than how I had felt it was supposed to be?
I was very fortunate to learn Reiki through a fabulous teacher, Zoe Smith who teaches Reiki through Reiki Evolution. This form of Reiki adheres as closely as possible to the original teachings of the Japanese founder, Mikao Usai. (For more information on this see links at the end)
Originally, the purpose of learning this method of self-healing and spiritual development lay in living and practising Reiki Precepts and is still core to the teachings I received. Essentially, the following precepts were a path to living mindfully.
Just for today,
Do not anger
Do not worry
Be honest in your communication with yourself and others
Be compassionate towards yourself and others.
Such simple words yet as powerful as the meaning you choose to give them. In a world that appears so disjointed and cruel at times, they can seem impossible to recognise let alone practise.
As ever, ‘meaning’ always relates to the context of your experience and the choice you make as to how to respond. Finally, I now understand that being mindful isn’t some prescribed practise you have to schedule in, it is simply how I choose to view and experience the world around me no matter what is going on.
Like everyone, I worry, get angry, am judgemental about others which cancels out being humble or appreciative and I’m not always honest or compassionate with myself and others.
And yet, making that decision in the summer to let go and allow myself permission to focus on what was truly important to me, as in appreciating the time I have left with Oscar and reflecting on what else I truly want to experience in my life has been my turning point. For you it may be entirely different and that is how it should be.
Through choosing to love and prioritise Oscar, I naturally am less angry or worried because I am not scattering my attention on a multitude of things. This leaves me more energy to be reflective and honest with myself, more compassionate and clear in my relationships both personal and professional and very humble in my realisation that actually, there is a lot of kindness, love and good in us and in the world should we choose to look for and experience it.
These precepts may not resonate with everyone and that is fine too. The concept of mindfulness in terms of being more present and appreciating the now is a guide and is there to be interpreted and practised in whatever way works for you. All I will say is that it really does start with you.