By Cawood Fitzhugh
“My life has been a series of wonderful experiences.
It’s a pity I wasn’t there for most of them.”
I found myself chuckling as I read this prologue in my mindfulness exercise last week. I’m a teacher of MBSR, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, and I teach awareness. However, my life gets filled up with professional duties and personal responsibilities. During these times, I can find myself reacting more when operating in the fast lane, rather than showing up, pausing, and being present.
Days can turn into weeks, weeks into months and before I know it, six months to a year have gone by. I wonder, where did the time go? When I think back over these months, I can’t tell you what I did most of that time. I can tell you what I didn’t do. I didn’t write that thank you note. I didn’t make the effort to get together with friends. I didn’t get that garden planted, visit my brother, or plan to go barn dancing or play music. I also know this can be a sign of “burnout”.
In the past, I would have “pushed through” “worked harder” “planned better” “done more”, “blamed others”, “blamed myself”, “found excuses”, “melted down” “rebounded”. In mindfulness however, there are principles or tools that can be used to work with this. I can acknowledge what is, soften around it, withhold judgement, be with whatever is, and apply kindness.
Acknowledging what is and then pausing to be with it, I decided to move forward by doing a reset. I devoted myself to noticing something new daily. I made it playful for 1-5 minutes of engaging in my own awareness.
One day I chose to do something with nature. I noticed the mornings were lighter now when getting into my car for work. I felt joy as a result. I was grateful for some earlier sunshine during these dreary, gray, and colder months.
Another morning, I noticed the sun peeking up over the horizon. It looked like a red rubber ball that immediately began bouncing up and over the horizon, spilling rosy hues and reds all over the tree tops before bouncing off the sides of the mountains into my car. It was just for a split second, but I caught it! This small moment made my ride into work feel special that day. I was in awe of the morning sun and the beauty it bestowed on the surrounding countryside. I felt grateful to live and work in such a beautiful area every day.
As I practiced my own awareness exercises, I felt a shift towards more joy and better energy. I suspect this resulted from the unexpected gratitude I experienced in doing my daily awareness exercise. It felt good to show up and notice, to be more engaged in my own life in experiencing these “series of wonderful experiences” that I am now “there” for!
Perhaps you will want to try your own Awareness exercise this week? Showing up, being curious and seeing what arises!
Ten thousand flowers in the Spring
A cool breeze in Summer
The moon in Autumn
Snow in Winter
If your mind is not clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life!
~a Chinese proverb
Filed Under: Monthly Musings