I’ve always been curious about mindfulness meditation, when I was younger the books I read instructed sitting in silence, not thinking. Not easy when you have an over-active imagination. I aspired to be a bit of a hippy, free spirited with an enlightened, well travelled glow. But for a teenager living in a small village, lacking in confidence to be who she wanted, this never happened.
Fast forward 20 odd years and I was back in university. I was studying to be a counsellor, I had more confidence and a better understanding of my teenage self. Mindfulness was being taught as a tool for our counselling kits. Gone were the images of crusty, incense smelling, tree hugging, peace loving hippies (I still want to be one). Now mindful meditation was accepted, we were professionals and there was scientific proof it was good for you.
To find out what it was about my father, my friend and I went on a one-day introduction run by Ariana Faris. She taught us that about being in the present moment, being aware of our thoughts, our bodies. Being present in the world around instead of going through the day on autopilot. I was hooked, my father and friend both went on further courses and they still practice daily. I began to practice and I incorporated into my client work as an aid to reduce anxiety and stress.
Then I became ill and my life stopped and so did my practice. My chronic pain cut through any notions of focusing on my breath. Scanning my body was mentally painful as I struggled to find a part of me that didn’t hurt.
For about 8 months, I tried different medications and wallowed in self-pity, I occasionally and half-heartedly attempted to practice.
My light bulb moment came when reading a thread on a forum about mindfulness for chronic pain sufferers. People were under the impression that mindfulness didn’t work because their pain and suffering didn’t stop. Exasperated I said to my lap top “it’s not a cure, you have to practice, it’s an aid”.
Then I realised that I was being a hypocrite . I wasn’t committing myself to the practice so nothing was changing. I wasn’t accepting my body as it is, instead I was focusing on what it was. I was expecting it to cure my pain not accept it. I should have been practicing awareness of my thoughts, emotions and body, accepting them, allowing them, rather than trying to squish them down or rally against them.
And so my journey began.
In my next mindfulness article I will be reviewing how I got my practice back on track, my progress and how I’ve benefited.
Until then if you wish to learn more about mindfulness meditation here are a few resources.
Love Dottie x
These are affiliate links to Amazon and I will receive a payment if you click on the picture and buy the book. Hey, a girl’s got to make a living!
Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world – Mark Williams and Danny Penman. This is the book I used when I first started using Mindfulness Meditations – it comes with an audio CD.
Guided Mindfulness Meditation – Home of Jon Kabat Zin, where you can buy guided mediations on CD or MP3 and learn a bit more about the man himself
Change Talk – Home of Ariana and Jeff Faris. They offer 8 week mindfulness courses in Cardiff as well as counselling and psychotherapy and resources
Living Mindfully – An NHS service provider, although based in the north of England, they offer training and some good web resources.