What prompts you to try something new?
It might be curiosity. Or following a trend. Perhaps you don’t want to miss out. Maybe you’re desperate to make changes in your life.
We are surrounded by the need for change. (Sexism, power inequality, corruption, greed – a need for underlying change in our society.)
You may be feeling this within you too. An urge to make changes.
If you are about to implement mindfulness in your life, firstly realise that it’s not a quick fix. But it can be the start of a new way of life, a complete shake-up, that you are ready for now!
What will also be of help to you is to not know too much about mindfulness to start with. Really! A beginner’s mind is an open mind.
I’ve found again and again, people who already do, for example, some yoga, follow the narrative of their brain. This takes them to:
- Focus on breathing
- Breathing exercises – I know lots of these
- This is what I do in yoga
- Oh this is all it is
Or another tendency is to have read one negative article about mindfulness and base all understanding on this, usually dismissing it before even beginning.
So be open, or at least be curious to see how set in your ways you discover you are! (All of us have this bias and I’ve certainly experienced this myself …)
Be your own motivator – your choice to make changes in your life must come from yourself!
Lots of people are introduced to mindfulness as a means of managing stress. Many are desperate. And that’s OK. With mindfulness you may discover that it is fantastic for managing stress.
Yet in addition to this, you find you have embarked upon a whole new journey of discovery. It can be like an unexpected bonus. Stress management is the tip of the iceberg.
A Way of Life
Because what you discover is not just how to focus on your breathing and your posture.
You discover that you have up until now been living life on auto-pilot. You may have been focusing on such things as negativity, fears, self-loathing. It becomes a way of life – a life lived inside your head instead of really being alive and present.
Mindfulness leads you to discover that you can step back from this mind-plot, it’s not really who you are.
And there are so many aspects of you that have been hidden for a long time. It’s as though mindfulness reveals them and introduces them back into your life. (Gratitude, inner positivity, self-awareness, loving kindness, compassion, joy to name a few.) It can feel like opening your eyes for the first time!
Learning mindfulness also demands a level of commitment, determination and discipline. From the very first introduction to mindfulness, you start to take the leap from old behaviours and become willing and open to try new ones.
This means letting go of the behaviours that have led you here in the first place – the busyness, the expectations, the self-judgments, the ruminations, the fears.
Yet it’s hard.
‘Better the devil you know than the one you don’t’
seems to be an ingrained belief that draws people back to their old behaviours again and again, even when they know these are no longer serving them.
It’s like realising old ways no longer work, seeing there are new ways, but being too scared to let go of the old. And of course, the brain is implicit in this. It loves its ingrained neural pathways – or old habits – they trip off the tongue, you find yourself going through the motions, zombie-like. And here you are again!
Commit to yourself that you want to make a change, however small. It’s like standing at the edge, deciding whether to take that jump!
Are you ready yet?
It’s often desperation – the wake-up call, that gets many people making a change.
Until then, you’re either on auto-pilot, or life isn’t so bad. But then it suddenly is no longer tolerable – either through a health-scare or the jolting realisation that a relationship is no longer what it was, your career is in free-fall or you find life feels pretty meaningless.
This is the situation whispering (or shouting) at you to make a change. It’s certainly how my journey began. And it’s what is happening in the world around us – a reality shift.
And it’s how my most ‘successful’ mindfulness students began. By this, I mean the ones who are continuing with their mindfulness long after they have worked with me.
I either hear from them now and again, or they dip back into classes to supplement and explore where they are at. They’re not afraid to keep questioning and come back to me, or other sources for help and support. And it’s all ages and both genders. Retired professionals who want to explore the meaning of life, busy young mums who need to manage their own stress while also enjoying parenthood more, mature women going through divorce and anyone experiencing serious health issues.
Something’s got to change
So we know mindfulness is for anyone and can work for you if something’s got to change. Now stop and ask yourself these important questions:
What is drawing me to mindfulness?
Am I ready to take a leap of learning or is it a trend I want to be in on?
Is there no turning back in my life with some of the difficult situations I find myself in – am I really ready to find new ways of dealing with them?
Am I brave enough to embark on a new journey with commitment and an open heart?
And is this a new way of being, not just a short course that I then place at the back of a shelf?
Got your answers? So what are you waiting for?! Jump!
Yvette – Mindfulness & Meditation
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