Mindfulness Monday posts are inspired by the Love Is In Da Blog challenge I’m participating in.
If mindfulness were a class in school, I would have been in preschool prior to this weekend. I went to a retreat at a small rustic house in the mountains. The primary focus was meditation. I’ve told you in the past about my struggle to calm my mind and slow my thoughts when I would try to relax. The typical situation where you want to slow down so your thoughts go a mile a minute. You can’t focus, the guided meditation tries to center your thoughts on a flowing stream and you picture every kind of water you can think of- water flowing in a stream, that rushes into a river flowing from a mountain, the mountain is filled with snow, which makes you think of skiing, cold, gloves, hat, scarf, yarn, crochet, couch, cozy, oh yeah water, in a glass, poured from the pitcher in the kitchen that’s in the fridge, hmmm I’m hungry. What? How did I go from a stream of water to crochet? Yes, that is all in 10 seconds of trying to meditate for me.
At least it was until Friday. I wasn’t anticipating on going to this retreat. I didn’t even know about it until Wednesday and didn’t think much of it. A funny coincidence in a way because I had just read about a similar technique in the morning on a blog I randomly came across. Then I decided it was no coincidence at all. So after talking myself out of it only to be talked back into it by my mom and husband I decided to go. This was a big deal to me because I still have a 1 year old that co-sleeps and nurses so it would be the first time we hadn’t slept snuggled up next to each other in her 14 months of life. I knew this was something I had to do and my husband came up with a game plan for things to do with his girls while I was away and he spent the weekend with a 7 year old getting over a cold and a 1 year old who had never been away from mom for more than half a day.
I’d have to say that after this weekend, I’m in mindfulness middle school. I’m not a child genius, I didn’t go from 3rd grade to college. I was however given the tools and guidance needed to help me reach the state of mindfulness I needed without the whirlwind of random interconnected thoughts.
It’s surprising to me how connected I feel with myself. I’ve always been comfortable in my own skin, satisfied to be alone, sometimes even all but a loner. I must admit that with the technology boom, I’ve found it quite easy to keep myself mindlessly entertained with the virtual world at the disposal of my fingertips at any given moment. I discovered over the weekend how disconnected the phone made me. I spent an intense 4 hour session getting completely relaxed, calming my thoughts and being at peace with the quiet in the room and in my head. After a quick peek at my phone and checking my WordPress notifications among other things, felt like I had to start over from preschool. It didn’t take long to remember where I left off but it did feel like spring fever or a summer break.
This morning on my bus ride to work I noticed it again. How content I was to be alone with myself, my thoughts, my feelings, and just being. I only grabbed my phone to let my husband know I caught the bus (and to send a quick list of things to get for lunch) and then I put it away without a second thought. I sat there, with my eyes closed, enjoying the ride and the silence. Not the silence of the bus, I was aware of the doors opening, the people talking, the keys jiggling. I noticed every noise but they left my thoughts just as quickly as my ears registered the noise. I was vaguely aware of where I was (thank goodness my stop is the last on the line), yet fully present within my lack of conscious thoughts. This is quite a feat considering as of Friday I wasn’t capable of sitting still to meditate for a whole 10 minute guided meditation session on YouTube.
Can you relate? Do you practice mindfulness? How do you feel? Do you feel the need to practice it? Have you not given it much thought but are interested in it now? Where do you practice at? Do you listen to music? Do you listen to a guided meditation? Are you able to find your center in complete silence?
Since the house that I stayed in was tucked in such a beautiful mountain area, I just have to share these pictures!