Month 4 - This moment, right now, is the only moment we really have!
Mindfulness is not new to my Happiness Club. I am passionate about it and have been practicing it in my daily life for over 18 months (http://moremindfulme.tumblr.com/ ). Another club member (Diane Shillito http://www.dianeshillito.com/) is a Mindfulness Mediation Facilitator – amongst other wonderful things. Other club members have been practicing Mindfulness over the last year and have already been enjoying the many benefits that it brings. Regardless of this we are all excited about making a further commitment to practicing more to be present, right now, in this moment. After all, this is the only moment we really have!
Appreciation links to Acceptance
Diane raised that we must really accept in order to appreciate and we had a lovely discussion around this and it kept coming into conversation throughout the evening. There are so many things we can’t change, yet we might still feel unhappy or unsettled by them. By accepting things as they are, only then can we truly appreciate them. I like this thought and will be mindful of it during this month.
When were we last mindless?
This was an interesting question amongst a group who make such efforts to be mindful and we all found we had moments each day of mindlessness. It was pretty easy to reel off quite a list (listening to the children sometimes, locking the car door, turning off the hob, locking the back door, driving the car, cleaning our teeth and showering!).
When were we last fully focused?
There’s one example of this which I loved listening to so I can only imagine how wonderful it was to be there. A friend described visiting her allotment last week where she spent two and a half hours alone, with only the sun shining on her, the sounds of birds singing around her and the worms wriggling for her as she dug her weeds and made her space looks nice. It was gorgeous, peaceful and calm.
Another lovely example was that of walking the dog by the river, with the sound of the river filling the air and there was no-one else around.
I keep a thank you book which I fill in every night. Last night I decided not to do a bullet point list but to fully explain why just a few things had made me thankful yesterday. I thought about why they made me thankful, what I had done to allow them to happen and how I could make them happen more in the future (this is based on a lovely journal book my 9 year is completing at the moment). I wrote this lying down on my bed with the sounds of the birds singing outside and I was fully immersed in that moment.
A moment to mediate
We listened to a 3 minute mediation I have on my phone.This was my suggestion and I found myself feeling quite nervous about how the other people may have found it. I meditate daily as part of my commitment to Mindfulness but I am aware that not everyone enjoys it. However, the others really enjoyed it! One friend, who has never mediated before, said she was surprised how easy it was to follow a guided meditation. We talked about the Headspace App which I did last year and another member of the club has recently been doing. This is a free App which includes 10 ten minute mediations and the others in the Club are going to download it as part of the Mindfulness month. It’s a great introduction to Mindfulness and Meditation!
Our thoughts are just thoughts, not fact!
We talked about the various thoughts we have. I often think about Mindfulness and this Happiness Club but I also can get caught up in thoughts about work which seemed to be a common theme.I think it’s easy to have negative thoughts as we are very critical of ourselves and our ‘progress’ in life. Since I’ve been practicing Mindfulness I’ve noticed that I don’t dwell on my thoughts in the same way, I’m learning to simply ‘be’ instead of ‘do’ and as a result I definitely have more positive thoughts. I don’t worry nearly half as much as I used to!
A lovely Mindfulness phrase is ‘Thoughts are just thoughts, not fact’ and I’ve thought of this many times during recent months. I used to have an anxiety about public speaking but last week did quite a big presentation in work (on my Mindfulness journey, as part of Mental Health Awareness week). I was only able to do it as a result of Mindfulness. Mindfulness taught me to think “I have the thought that I can’t do a presentation” instead of “I can’t do a presentation”.Can you see the difference? The thought I was having wasn’t a fact but it seemed like it to me. Adding “I have the thought that...” to the beginning of the sentence detaches you from the thought that you are having. Mindfulness also taught me to accept my nervousness instead of running from it; I was curious about this feeling rather than scared of it!
How can we be more Mindful next month?
We’re all looking forward to committing to being present more next month and here’s just a few ideas we had of how we can do this:
1) Tie some thread to our wrists and then when we notice the thread also notice our breath in our stomach and feel proud that for that moment we were present (thank you Diane).
2) Turn off our phones more (again!) This has an amazing impact on being fully present wherever you are.
3) Take some photos of things that we’ve appreciated during the month and next month I could include them in this Happiness Club blog.
4) Mindfully lock the car door.
5) Write down things we’re thankful for each day.
6) Purposefully listen to the children when they’re talking to us.
7) Remember ‘all time is me time’ so that we don’t rush or feel resentful about the washing up/bedtime stories/cleaning/working etc. This helps me to feel calmer and more committed to the present moment.
8) Eat mindfully.
9) Use the Headspace App.
10) Brush our teeth mindfully.
Find out more about our month of Appreciation next month J