A friend of mine is convinced that I’ve got 48 hours in my day when everyone else has 24 hours because I do so much with my time. It’s true that I am an excellent time manager, although I think having four kids who were all born within five years of each other helped me develop that! And then again I’ve a huge variety of interests and am constantly curious; there’s so much to learn and read and pass on and think about in my world – but sometimes this can get me stuck or overloaded, leaving me unable to make clear decisions on what I might want to do.
With so many options, how do I choose. There are so many things I COULD do, but what am I meant to do? I challenged this thinking process over the Christmas/New Year holidays. What if I wasn’t “meant” to do anything but just BE? What if I was to focus on certain areas where I’m really passionate and see where that took me? What areas would I focus on anyway given I’m quite passionate about a number of things!? But using my journal to do a clustering exercise (which is a combination of mind maps and stream of consciousness thinking and an amazing tool!), it was really quite clear where my focus could be. If I dared to let it. I say dare – as here comes the vulnerability again – because I can be quite good at seeing imagined ends at the beginning (AKA worry!) and if you throw perfectionism into the mix, then it’s often better not trying something as then there is no chance of failure. Another clever way of protecting myself (I’m beginning to realise how clever I am at finding ways to hinder myself. Which isn’t always clever).
And now I’m focussed, I’ve found it saves a lot of energy. For this year, at least, I know what to filter out, delete and discard, and alongside that, learning to be mindful and gentle on myself is part of that. I know it’s time to slow down, to stop running, to stop “growing”, or finding ways to protect or prove myself – and just to be. And I know this might be less than totally easy as it’s a major change of my thinking; equally, I know that I’m in charge of my thinking so it’s really up to me.
Yesterday, someone asked how I practised being mindful. I laughed. With big ‘L’ plates would be the answer. This is a totally new concept for me as an adult, and I’ll be learning as I go along, and learning from others. I had told a friend this was a theme for me this year, and in the process of writing, mindful became mindfull. I laughed at that – what you think and believe leaks out all the time; yes, I have a mind full of things…and it’s going to be interesting to learn again how to be “in the moment” and not doing five things at once. Children do this automatically, so I can unlearn it. My friend’s new grandson totally gets what this concept is. When he’s hungry he cries – when he looks at a flower he is totally focussed; that flower is all that is in his world at that point. One minute he could be crying, the next he will be laughing – but whatever he’s doing, he does it with his heart and soul. Wise boy.
I was reading an article on Pamela Stephenson last night and she wrote how she had spent the last 20 years “in her head.” And I knew what she meant, though it’s been a shorter time for me to live like this. I think this goes back to when I worked in a mental health team and spent time talking to the psychologists and psychiatrists in my work. That’s when I began to get really curious about how the mind works, and considered doing psychology (and ended up doing HR, which is another type of psychology, and was then introduced to NLP, which answered a lot of questions for me). So my mind became full, and it’s time to redress the balance and I’m reliably informed that mindfulness helps (it’s seen as a key mental health tool). One type of mindfulness is a Buddhist concept which has three parts to it – but for me, it’s just about being aware of what is going on “right now.” It’s about living consciously and just re-learning to live in me; all of me. So I guess I’ll be reconnecting with parts of me that I’ve ignored for a long time – mind, body, soul, darkness and light.
As to HOW I will do this? I’m setting reminders in my phone and outlook calendar, I’m starting to remember to do this when eating or with someone, and of course I’m journaling. What this will do to my 48 hour days remains to be seen….