At the beginning of this month I headed over to the Sunshine Coast for a little training in Mindfulness Coaching, and I have to be honest, I had no idea what to expect. I’m sure as you’re reading this now you’re wondering, mindfulness? How does someone get coached to be mindful??
I pretty much thought the same. But I was intrigued, plus I really wanted to improve my own meditation practice, which had seriously been lacking in recent times. Sometimes I would sit on the mat, and my thoughts would just start attacking me. Firing off in all directions, things I should be doing, going over conversations I’d had that day, my body would be feeling super restless, and that would be it. Two minutes in and I’d give up. So if I could find a way to keep myself focused, well – that would be a miracle!
And if I could stay focused?? Then that would be something I would love to be able to share with you too! I’m a true believer that wellness isn’t just about the physical stuff – it’s also deeply imbedded in the mental, emotional stuff too. You can eat all the salad you want but if there’s a situation that’s eating you up inside, or your stress levels are through the roof, or if you’re not happy – no amount of kale is going to help.
So my interest was piqued and I knew this training would be good for me.
What I did not expect however, was to find peace. But that’s exactly what happened.
It was four days of listening, learning, sharing and meditating. I learned so much about how the mind works – and how my mind works. The things that trigger me. The things that have been holding me back. There were so many aha moments, and I’m going to share one with you a bit further on. But first, I want to get you on the same page as I am, so let me delve a little deeper into the question of what is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is paying attention in the moment, in a way that is non-judgemental. It’s creating kind, curious, caring attention.
It’s creating space in your thoughts to focus on exactly what is happening at any given moment, and choosing not to get taken away with the thoughts that float through your mind in those moments.
Mindfulness is the doorway to the present.
After a particularly deep mindfulness meditation, this is what I wrote in my journal: “I felt quietness in my thoughts for the first time in a long time. I felt fully aware of my breath, but my mind was silent, drifting into subconsciousness.” And it was in these moments of silence that I experienced the most profound changes within myself.
Once we are able to still the mind, we are able to hear the whisper of the soul. Your heart speaks to you. You notice the emotions stirring inside you. You start to learn exactly who you are, what you want, and the life you want to lead. You start to recognise both the positive and the negative aspects of yourself and you become completely okay with them.
The biggest aha moment for me was this. On our last day, we had five hours of silence. Beginning with a sunrise meditation on the beach (so incredibly beautiful by the way), followed by yoga, then a slow walk back to the studio for more meditation. It was the longest I had meditated for, ever, and of course there were times where I struggled and times where I was completely immersed. At the end of the five hours, I had a deep realisation that even as I write this still affects me in a big way.
If you’ve read my About Me page you’ll know that I suffered from a serious lack of self-confidence growing up. Even in my 20s, a lot of my confidence came from alcohol and drugs and it wasn’t authentic in any sense of the word. But after this meditation, this is what came to me.
When a flower blooms, it doesn’t think about the flower next to it, or the flowers down in the next garden bed. It doesn’t worry that it might not be as pretty, or as colourful, or smell as nice. It just blooms. Because it’s a flower. And that’s its whole purpose in life.
Then comes the bee. The bee doesn’t choose the flower based on the way it looks, or how big it is, or the way it smells. It doesn’t judge the flower. It chooses the flower just because it’s a flower, and that’s the bee’s whole purpose in life.
So you and me, we’re like the flower. All we need to do is bloom, and be our genuine selves, in the only way we know how, and never, ever worry about the flowers next to us. The bee (otherwise known as people, friends, money, opportunity, whatever you want it to be) will always be attracted to us for the simple reason that we’re blooming, and not because we’re trying to be anything else. And when we bloom, we find our purpose.
And with that thought, I found peace within myself that I had never felt before. All those years of comparison, of thinking I didn’t know enough, have enough, that I couldn’t be enough. It was all gone, in a flash of thought.
This experience is what has helped me to make one of the biggest, scariest and most exciting decisions I have ever made. But that’s another blog post (so come back next week!).
And in the meantime, are you interested in mindfulness for yourself? Would you like to deepen your own meditation practise but aren’t sure how? Then send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat about how you can find your peace in mindfulness.
With love and presence,