I am sitting on the couch in my new (old) house, after having spent the last few days moving. Life has been a whirlwind. I was in Canada for a 4- week holiday with my kids, flew home to Ireland, spent two days re-acclimatising before I flew to Scotland, where I spent 5 days teaching on the MBLC Teaching Skills Retreat, and then back home to Ireland to clear my inbox and to pack and move.
There have been feelings of sadness, excitement and joy, anxiety, calm and ease- and much teetering on the brink of overwhelm.
What has got me through? My mindfulness practice. The very basic application of staying present with what is happening, as it is happening with an attitude of (and this is where it really gets tricky) openness, curiosity and non-judgment.
I had to be mindful. What I mean by this is that if I allowed my mind to move forward into the next big moment, the overwhelm would start to rise in my body. So in a way, the overwhelm was my mindfulness support. It was my reminder to come back to what I was doing, where I was in any given moment and to just be there.
And believe me, there were many times for my support to kick in and for me to practice building that mindfulness muscle through the getting lost and coming back.
Just looking at the MBLC Teaching Skills Retreat’s timetable was enough to produce a hot sweat. As facilitators, our days were filled from 8am-8pm, with sometimes only 20 minutes break for lunch. If I looked too far ahead on the day’s list of sessions to hold, the demand would start to impact my thought processes. However, by bringing myself back to just being with the moment’s activity, I was fine. In fact, more than fine. I was thoroughly enjoying myself and fully immersed in the connection that I was making with my tutor group- 11 courageous and committed practitioners training to take their practice out into the world. How inspiring! It was truly amazing. (For more information on our Teacher Training pathway, please click here)
Then on a plane back to Ireland which took me immediately into the world of the post -holiday pull of my inbox and shopping for beds, bedding, dishes and other necessities (on my own) in IKEA. At one point, I looked down at the pile of flat packed boxes, with the knowledge of what they meant in terms of Alan keys and screwdrivers, and nearly lost it.
BUT- my practice kicked in. The overwhelm reminded me to breathe. I took a breath. I looked around. And what did I see? A smiling IKEA worker looking at me. The moment did not need to be compounded with the fantasy of a frustrated Jane trying to build a bed. Instead, there was an offer of help. And interestingly, when it came time to build those beds, I had a very stoic 16 year old take the reigns and do the job for me.
So here I sit. A week of intensive tutoring behind me, the brunt of the move complete and a whole season in front of me to slowly land in my new (old) house. The overwhelm is slowly subsiding and a new sense of excitement and wonder is filling the space: two new supports for my practice. And two new supports to take me forward as I prepare to teach on the Mindfulness Level 1: Weekend 3 in Poland in a few weeks and the upcoming new Mindfulness Level 1 training starting in Samye Ling this Autumn. Interested in taking the journey? Make sure to check it out here.
This week’s challenge is to find your own support- your own triggers- that might act to remind you to come back to the present moment. Maybe it is a body sensation: a rising in the heart, a heat in the face. Maybe it is a thought process that is all too familiar. Or maybe it is an emotion that seems to be replaying itself over and over. Can we recognize these triggers and use them to come back to the present moment?
Let us know how you get on!
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