Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mindfulness

I'm a skeptic.  I don't like self-help crap.  I prefer to figure things out on my own.  I don't like it when people tell me to relax. 

Why I signed up for an all day mindfulness workshop is as much as a mystery to me as to anyone else.  But sign up I did. 

I was so anxious about it that I thought about cancelling several times, even as late as this morning as I was getting ready.  I really didn't want to go and "explore my inner self" with a bunch of people I didn't know.  But I got ready, got little j and I out the door (me without breakfast) dropped little j off at school and then parked, grabbed a bagel and made my way to the bus.  It was already full of gabbing students who chattered noisily all the way even though we were supposed to be listening to the Introduction to Mindfulness CD.  This was not starting out promising, since I was trying very hard to get my mind away from work/family/life and focus on the day while the students around me complained that they "had" to attend the workshop. 

When we arrived we started in right away with the stretching, yoga-ish stuff.  It was fine, but I was anxious and decidedly not "in the moment."  The woman leading the day was charming and kind.  The only thing she insisted on the entire day was that we use "I" statements when talking.  When we moved into the body scan/meditation she encouraged us to sit or lay in whatever way was comfortable, move if we needed to move, and give ourselves permission to open our eyes if we needed to, and generally not follow the stringent Western way of meditation.  This was fine by me.  And guess what?  I liked it!  And even though there were times other thoughts crept in, for the most part I was able to stay "in the moment." 

We had a few other exercises, one involving trust which I am still processing.  But by the end of the day I felt pretty darn good.  I think more than anything it was the fact that I took a day for me, a day in which I didn't answer emails, worry about reading papers, think about little j needing new toothpaste or what I was cooking for dinner.  But even more than that, I didn't read, listen to the radio, watch tv, or really talk to many people, though I was surrounded by participants. 

It was, in retrospect, a very good day and one I wouldn't mind repeating.  And I do feel like I have more tools to work out stress.  That is always a good thing.

1 comment:

Mrs. V said...

I'm glad that trying something new ended up having a positive impact. Even just reading your second to last paragraph made me feel relaxed! I'm glad that you took a day for you.