The role of mindfulness in my childhood
Hi. I think this is one of the most difficult blogs I’ve written lately. That is because I am sharing with you another part of my life, the one which involved meditation. It is very difficult for me to put this into words. So if there is anything that doesn’t make sense and creates even more confusion please let me know so I can try to explain in a different way to make it more clear.
Today I was in the forest trying to fluidly move on a narrow path through branches and leaves. I was paying attention on how my body was moving, the items (branches, leaves, mud) around me and I was just experiencing the moment.
At one point I began thinking about Urban Women Fitness, and without even realizing I went straight through the foliage in front of me. When I was asked why I answered I just lost focus. It’s that simple.
And doesn’t this happen to all of us? We seldom let go of the daily thoughts we carry around with us day and night. Doesn’t it feel like pulling a boulder up a hill?
When you come in the present moment you cut the rope and the boulder just falls. Instant relief. There was no use getting it up that hill anyway.
The leaf the at the top of the tree
Mindfulness is a type or style of meditation otherwise called ‘Vipassana’. But didn’t I say in another blog that meditation is not an actual technique? Yes, I did, right here.
Meditation, in any form, is about letting go. Whether you let go by relaxing you body, or your breath or about letting go of thoughts, anger or frustrating, it’s about allowing for a little space in your life, your mind and your heart.
Mindfulness has been something I’ve been doing since I was a little girl without realising. It just made me feel so good. It felt like I was coming out of the grown up world and retreating into my own world.
I remember I used to go my local park and to search for the highest tree I could find. Then I would lie down on a bench, look for the leaf at the very top of the tree and watch how it moved in the wind. The patterns it created, its speed, its colour, its shape. And I would spend a long time watching that. At the end I was ready to go back, with a smile on my face, a happy child.
It was like running away for home
Mindfulness is one of the things I carried with me through my tough moments in life as a depressed child, teenager and young adult.
I used to be a very panicked child. I would feel uncomfortable in crowds and around my friends, so I didn’t have many. I liked to be alone, to retreat in my own universe (a 2x3m room in our apartment).
Listen, or rather read. The #1 reason mindfulness was an escape route for me is thanks to my parents. I am serious, I am grateful for this. They used to fight every single day (I actually logged their fights). So I wanted to run away from home, to escape.
Mindfulness, because now I have a name for it, helped that child calm down and slowly make sense of what was going on. It was like running away for home for a while, escaping the fights my parents had.
But I am grateful for what they gave me. As I am writing this I realize that what I am doing today is thanks to them and the negative charged environment I grew up in. They brought light into my life.
So what is mindfulness all about?
Mindfulness is about being present, about slowing down, observe and not judge. It’s non-intrusive, you don’t interfere.
You allow your thoughts to come up and go past you, without interfering in any way – judging or forcing them out of your mind. Just let them float like bubbles on the surface of an otherwise still lake. When they reach the surface they pop and disappear.
Observe your breathing
It is usually done by focusing on your breath. When focusing on breathing your mind cannot focus on something else unless you split the focus and come out of meditation.
There is no attempt to change the breathing. Just observe it and observe the different feelings throughout your body.
What else can you be mindful about besides breathing:
- objects around your room; say out loud “there is the printer, there is the door, there is the window” etc. See how that affects you.
- people passing by; glimpse for a fraction of a second at a the pattern on a tie, at a woman’s freckles on her checks, without judging, just observe (just don’t stare, that’s awkward)
- mindful walking; how you touch the ground, how fluid you move around, what you feel under your feet or through your shoes
- mindful eating; see, smell, feel the experience. I wrote a full blog on this topic.
- mindful sitting
- mindful standing
You got the point. Mindfulness is paying attention rather than anything else. Mindfulness is everywhere and in everything we do. Or it should be.
For example if you live in a noisy city, you don’t have to block out the outside sirens and screaming children, you let your mind be aware of the sounds. You observe.
You literally just let your mind be fluid and flow from one thought to the next, not really focusing on one particular thing, just let them unfold.
If you’d like to learn more please download my free eBook “15 Healthy Habits For The Body”