At various points I’ve thought that mindfulness is the solution to everything. It’s helped me focus more at work and be more productive, cured my eczema, deepened my relationships, improved my self-awareness and generally helped me enjoy and appreciate life a whole lot more. It took me a little while to realize that it isn’t enough.
I was sitting at my desk in my bedroom, having meditated that morning, feeling calm, feeling present, and yet dissatisfied. Things didn’t seem to be going well. I had no money and no clients. I was aware of the situation, I had accepted the situation and chosen not to be anxious about it, but now what?! I felt that being at peace with life should be enough for it to go well for me and for me to have what I wanted. But it wasn’t!
Two of the key things you learn with mindfulness are awareness and acceptance, which are passive qualities. There’s a limitless amount that you can cultivate them and generally, the more you do the better you feel. But once you’re aware that you’re not in the job, or the relationship, or the social circle that you want to be in, and you’ve accepted things as they are, I’ve realised that an active quality it required. You are invited to choose what you want, but as Allie demonstrates in The Notebook, we can be reluctant to decide!
The awareness and acceptance are key starting points. Often we lock ourselves into situations we don’t like through either not being aware of how they’re making us feel, or through fighting against what’s happening, rather than accepting it.
Carl Rogers said, “It wasn’t until I accepted myself just as I was, that I was free to change.” Part of us seems to be convinced of the opposite: that by consistently beating ourselves up or blaming others for a situation, it will lead to change. Good luck with that one!
Self-awareness is also vital in helping you to know what feels good to you and what gifts you have to offer the world. For me it was clear being paid to teach mindfulness lit me up more than anything else and it was clear that although opportunities to do it would occasionally fall into my lap, it didn’t happen often enough to pay the bills.
So the creation piece for me involved looking for opportunities, every day, to reach out to people and offer my services. I treated it like my meditation and devoted a fixed amount of time to it and tried to let go of attachment to the results of my actions. Over the course of just a few weeks, it started yielding results.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that if you’re not active in creating what you want, you’re most likely to end up with what you don’t want. The job you don’t like, the relationship that’s not exciting, the night out that’s not your idea of fun.
So if you’ve never sat down and sketched out or written a description of you dream job, house, relationship, holiday or lifestyle, and if you’ve not got as far as working out what the first step would be, what are you waiting for? Life is short, and it becomes a lot more exciting when you’re creating the one that you want to live.
If you think people in your workplace could do with being clearer about what they want, get in touch for a mindfulness taster session.
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