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February 27, 2014 / ldejong4

Dear Paige,

I’ve neglected you and I’m sorry for that. I feel terrible and although I know you will always be there for me, please understand this has not been time wasted. It has been time of reading, learning, exploring and reflection. As many excuses go with friends – I’ve been busy. I haven’t forgotten you, dear Paige. I remember what I said, and how I committed to you. I promised to tell you my secrets and you have been waiting, so here I am ready to reveal.

I know you’ve been stressed and I said I would help with what I briefly mentioned about mindfulness meditation but in that time since I first wrote about it, I realised something important. You see Paige, our society has a wonderful way of turning anything into a trend and as great as it is to get a valuable message to many people in need of advice or information, it risks becoming a mortal fad and that I find a shame.

The same way in which I cannot force myself to write a meaningful message to you or any good friend, Paige, mindfulness meditation cannot be forced upon anyone. If it is, the results will be limited and ultimately deeming the experience a failure. So before I begin, please learn from me first and foremost that it is a practise, which should enter your life. It came into my life many times before I introduced myself. I was shy at first but I opened up and now it has smoothed the way in what was once a potholed road.

So before you begin, let me set your expectations straight. In fact, have no expectations, Paige. Have you ever been to a dance class just for fun or dragged by a friend? You go for the experience, rather than the end result. And any kind of meditation is the same. Let the experience hold your hand and disregard the future. After all, it was you who taught me the future is life’s greatest illusion that never arrives so let your mind settle with that.

So now, I think you’re ready to learn about it. It really is very wonderful and don’t be turned off by its religious connotations because it can be very far removed from religious practices. I consider it a practical life skill like yoga or even stretching out a tired hamstring every now and again. The main lesson to learn from mindfulness meditation is to become an observer of your thoughts. If you are like most people with a busy mind, you can understand that sometimes your own thoughts can make too much noise for your liking. Some people stress, some become afraid of them and sadly some lose control as a result. Through this practise you learn how to believe that your thoughts are not you and that they pass like clouds in the sky. One day they are thick, grey and ready to burst; the next day they radiate the sun, beaming even more light into your life.

You know me, I like to keep things practical so here’s an example for you. Imagine you’re on your way to work – sitting on the bus, cycling or stuck in traffic. You’re exhausted, you yawn and realise just how tired you are. Your mind then sits on this realisation. It says, urgh, why am I so tired? I’d an early night. How am I going to get through the day? I’m too tired for that meeting this morning. The why am I so tired thought alone will not make you feel any better. In fact, it makes you feel even more tired. Our minds like to play tricks on us in these chain reactions. Through mindfulness you learn how to catch those thoughts before they even occur, giving you literally more peace of mind. Happy days!

That is essentially it, my dear. You don’t need to commit to any set amount of time to it. Even through learning about how it works has helped me enough because now I know I will always have that tool in my kit in the same way my straightener comes out on a bad hair day.

At this point I would wish you good luck but it’s not necessary because you cannot do meditation wrong. You either do it or you don’t. Like dressing yourself, regardless of what other bloggers say, I promise you cannot do it wrong – you just do it for you. You may reach a point where you feel frustrated because you can’t get your mind to shut up so you can focus on your breath but this is all totally normal and part of the experience. If you have to escort your mind back a million times in ten minutes, please don’t worry. Learning to be patient with your own mind is an invaluable process.

So if you feel you’re ready to learn more or even try it then I recommend a book for you. Not because I have read many and this is my choice of a load but because it’s the only one I read, which I found to be clear, easy to follow and an enjoyable read overall. It’s called Mindfulness a Practical guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. But if you just want a taster for now, there are plenty of videos and interviews with these authors on Youtube.

Have fun teaching the skeletons in your closet how to dance!

Yours always,

Lisa

 

 

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One Comment

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  1. Laura Hackett / Feb 27 2014 5:48 pm

    What an eye opening book.
    Learn it, Live it, Love it!
    🙂
    XxX

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