Monday, April 25, 2011

What's interesting about mindfulness?

Writing about mindfulness is interesting.
Reading blogs about mindfulness is interesting.
Researching the effects of mindfulness is interesting. 
Finding out how other people are using mindfulness for healing is interesting.
Seeing how educators are bringing mindfulness into classrooms is interesting.

But what about actually being mindful? 

During mindfulness practice itself there are endless expanses of boredom. Sure, there's lots of great stuff too.  There are plenty of perks to doing your mindfulness practice.  But it is very rarely as interesting as other activities. 
For example, this very second. 
Take a moment to notice.  As far as -interesting- goes, is it more interesting to be on your computer right now reading blogs and surfing the net...  or would it be more interesting to go sit in a dark corner alone and notice the rhythm of your breath?      ???

The truth is that mindfulness practice is pretty boring compared to any of your other options.  This is just something to notice. 

Being aware of what is true, boredom is present during much of mindfulness practice time.  And even so...  you shut down your computer and you go do it. 
Because doing only interesting things is not the point. 
Avoiding boring things is not the point. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Acknowledge the courage it takes to wake up

There is a lot of hope in this season of early spring.  I hear people mentioning the pretty flowers and the returning sunlight. There is also the Christian and pagan concept of returning from the dead at this time, around the Easter holiday.  There is a celebration at the springtime affirmation of life. And, there is also an aspect to this blossoming that is not usually talked about in polite circles.  With mindfulness of the full spectrum of experience, I am also aware of the pain of springtime. 

The winter is associated with forms of hibernation, and even forms of death. So there can be negativity about the winter.  And yet, there are aspects of hibernation that are comforting.  Primarily, I am thinking of the withdrawal from the stressful aspects of life. Deadening one's feelings can be a way of handling stress.  The liquor industry, for example, is based on the human tendency to "check-out" and deaden sensations. 

The spring means re-engaging with life in all its manifestations.  It means opening.  Opening to the cold spring rains as well as to the sunshine.  My point is to acknowledge the courage it takes to wake up, the courage it takes to open to life. 

Engaging fully with life is not always like rolling out of bed into a sun-filled field of flowers.  At times it can be more like standing firm in gale force winds.  It is important to have awareness of both the pleasant and unpleasant, both the pleasure of living and the need for courage during the rough spots.  A focus on only the painful aspects leads to feelings of depression.  A focus on only the pleasant aspects lead to denial and repression of truth. 

A balanced awareness of the ups and downs as they occur creates a resilient human life lived within the cycle of the seasons. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Medicinal Cupcake

 I logged onto FaceBook, and found this conversation on one of my friend's pages:

JP  Thursday at 8:15pm
Survived the stresses of public speaking without needing alcohol, but I will cop to a medicinal cupcake. Nom nom.

Thursday at 9:27pm
Medicinal cupcake?

JP  Thursday at 9:34pm
 Self-medicating. :-P

ML  Thursday at 10:00pm
Ask your baker about Confection (TM). Side effects may include frosting on the nose. If this occurs for more than 4 hours, please consult a napkin.

JP Thursday at 10:29pm
 Confection (TM) used in moderation can be part of a healthy diet. If you find that you're overly reliant on Confection (TM), please consult a physician and look into alternative stress relief techniques such as Mindful Boston (TM).

ML  Thursday at 10:50pm
 Adult dosage: one or two Confections (TM) may be taken with milk or coffee. Do not exceed a maximum of four in a twenty-four hour period. Overdose may result in bulging midsection.Ha

Ha! I loved this. 
These are friends who have never taken the MBSR program.  But they totally get it.  Medicinal Cupcakes are an important part of a balance mindfulness practice.