I took the weekend off from continuing our conversation (i.e., reflecting, writing and re-intending) to make way for the much more eloquent and pertinent piece on MLK by Mary Margaret. We stopped and paused to remember the injustices of the past and present and our responsibility in treating our sisters and brothers with more love today and tomorrow and for generations to come. A little mindful living
My time away from writing has been no vacation at all. I have to admit I’ve felt a little lost, forgotten some of my intentions, and found it harder to keep my focus. I need you all! I need accountability so that I can form better habits one day at a time, which further confirms our initial hypothesis and reason for the blog/conversation – Mindfulness requires community. It takes a village to raise up mindfulness in each one of us.
So this week in review. It’s not that I’ve been so bad about any particular thing. It’s that maybe I haven’t felt as inspired. My determination is waning. I’ve had extra time on my hands, and this is not always a good thing. Especially to someone who is not accustomed to having a day off with a To Do list numbering only 4 items instead of 40. This extra time and freedom is like an old friend that I haven’t seen in 3 years. And it’s nice to see them but I don’t know what to talk to them about at first. Do I ask them about every day and happening over the last 1,095 days or do I just ask them about their day today? Looking at free time in the face, I wonder if I should do everything I’ve ever wanted to do in one day or just do nothing?
I usually start my day with coffee and my laptop. After an hour or so, I finish my mouse-work (i.e. chores on the computer). Then I prepare to leave my laptop on the table and go do something. But I check it again – every email, every facebook account, every instagram…. Just in case I missed something in the last 45 seconds. I get ready to shut it down again but wonder if I’m going to miss something in the next 45 seconds. I remind myself that I have a smart phone for such reasons as this. Having spent a minimum of 8 hours a day on a laptop for the last 11 years up until August, I struggle with leaving things unchecked. Emails have to be answered within seconds of receiving them and ideas that come to mind have to be set in motion immediately – orders placed, schedules updated, group emails sent. I just love to get things done!
So here I was with several hours of free time, and I haven’t known what to do with it. I felt guilty about potentially not being productive, or rather, not knowing how to be my very most productive at that very moment (usually this is not a difficult question for me). I have a gift for instinctively knowing what I should do at all times. A brief aside, it’s not like I never relax or have fun. If I am visiting with friends or out socializing, then I am perfectly OK with time spent recreationally. However, that is probably because it fits into a different category of productive – because it is maintaining good relationships, maybe time networking, or time I deserve to relax because I am in the company of others. But this week, I had WEEKDAYS off. I had a solid 8 hours one day with nothing to do and nobody to do it with. And I’m telling you, it bothered me. There was no project to work on, no problem to fix, no business to start, and no person/relationship present to give my attention to. All week, I was just wanting something, looking everywhere I could, finding nothing to satisfy. And just today, I realized where I’m at and what is causing this constant nagging, uncomfortable feeling. I have a restless heart.
I’m sure you’ve all been there. One of the worst human conditions – discontentment. Maybe it is just this week and will be gone the next. Or maybe it has been there longer than I realized and was masked by my lifestyle of constant motion.
So how am I going to fix this one? Well, that’s kind of the root of the problem – trying to find something, someone, some relief, some distraction from the present. If I was content, then I wouldn’t be restless. If I try to fix it, I’ll be chasing after the wind even more. It seems to me that it is a problem that doesn’t need “fixing.” It needs to be acknowledged and accepted as part of the journey. I am now mindful of the fact that it exists. Using that knowledge, I can avoid useless distractions and concentrate my focus and energy on whatever my task is at hand – whether it be writing emails or taking a walk – I can give it all I’ve got and find fulfillment in doing my best and being present. I can rest in the fact that I know it is a season that will pass, and I can be ready for the lessons I will learn as I walk through it. Hmmm, these last few sentences are definitely reminiscent of a 90-minute Hot 26 class. The best way to master my postures is to focus on the present moment, and the best way to work through the discomfort is to stop. The worrying, the wiping away of sweat, the looking for relief and comfort outside of yourself. To just breathe and be still. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll dive into some ways to practice Mindfulness in our day-to-day activities. I’m looking forward to it! And hey, speak up! Let us know how your mindfulness journey is going!