I am a week into a two week winter sun getaway to Cyprus. Away from the busyness of work I am noticing a lot of inner-critic dialogue along with an underlying feeling of being a failure. I am aware of a constant vigilance for instances where I might be subject to humiliation. Moreover I appear to be putting myself under constant reflection about what other people will be thinking about me. Is this a mindful holiday?
Logically, I know that my life is very successful across most aspects. But as always on holiday being more overweight and less fit than I would like, come to the fore. Also, niggling aspects of my life arise that make me feel a consistent failure, despite myriad attempts at addressing them. It doesn’t help that I am struggling to shift a chesty cough. I strained my knee clambering over archaeological remains and I have a kink in my back from the strange bed. Did I mention the allergic rash on my forehead? Oh and they are having their coldest winter ever and the heater in our house isn’t working!
So there is plenty for my inner critic to work on and it goes on and on and on! In the past when I wasn’t aware of this critical voice my mood would plummet and I would become moody and reactive.
With my years of mindfulness practice I can now notice this, not buy into it, be with the feelings and see what unfolds. I can have a mindful holiday. I can also practice attending to all the good things: the laughter with my husband, the wonderful sights as we drive around the island, the astonishing archaeology and museum exhibits, the rainbows and the mixed up stormy and sunny sun rises and sun sets that paint the sky with Turner like beauty.
Having clearly recognised the themes of my inner critic this week, I can allow and be kind to this part of myself, which hails from my past, but I am not believing it. When I hear it my practice is to hold my hand, reassure this aspect of myself and then to determinedly let it all hang out, connect to my breath and see what unfolds.
I have focussed on mindful yoga practice and mindful chi walking as part of my daily practice to reconnect with the strength of my core.
If you have an inner critical voice that controls you, why not come and practice with us here at the Mindfulness Association – we are all in the same boat – practicing to familiarise ourselves with our mind and finding ever more chinks of freedom which enable us to be happier and thrive in our lives.