Team BlogsMindfulness is a raft in turbulant times

Mindfulness is my raft through difficult times. It supports me through turbulent waters and calm, it knows where to go and follows the ebb and flow of the tides. All I need to do is sit and feel how it moves with the flow to learn about letting go, giving into the being and going and toing and froing.

When I can let go to feel into it (my mindfulness practice)– then I begin to enjoy the ride, no matter what comes at me. But this takes some doing, and last week, mindfulness allowed me to at least take my hands off the oars which were useless anyway. In fact, this week, I just threw my oars overboard and gave in to it all. Trying to control, or navigate, or steer in anyway was the perfect state of delusion – and I realized caused me more harm than good – added tension of trying to keep a grip on events that were beyond my control. Mindfulness Level One course helped me to build an awareness to notice and intercept my unhelpful behaviours – intercept my mind when it takes me off into catastrophising…This week I really felt the benefits of mindfulness as my week became more and more full of difficulties – one after the other – it was one of those weeks. I could feel it building up…

As I surrendered… and I mean as soon as I surrendered – whoosh! The flush of gratitude fills me and I am full of the joy of the gift that mindfulness has given me – at that moment I came home to myself and then the energy is released that gives me the strength I need to cope. It feels like a deeper and limitless source of energy. Compassion training adds such a level of support – once we have stabilised our mindfulness we begin to see things about ourselves we may find uncomfortable. The strength of compassion flows and soothes and activates where it’s needed.

It took some time in my practice to notice that these little flashes, these little emotional flushes were in fact gratitude breaking through the tough-nut coating of my ‘coping’ attitude – an attitude which got me through but denied me my feelings. You may not feel any gratitude when times are tough – it feels like such a contradiction in terms. There’s a lot of paradoxical stuff that goes on in the mind! My compassionate messy-me has the capacity to sob and laugh at the same time.

Last week I had to let go – I was heading into the rapids and I knew it. Here it comes. My son, my last manchild-at-home is going to leave;- next week… in a couple of days… now it’s today… this morning, in an hour, in a few minutes, here it is, he is walking to his car, he is coming back for something, he is going, getting in his car, waving, reversing, waving, gone.

A poignant moment….this is the moment, in slow motion that marks a major transition of both of us.

Leading up to the moment, I was aware of wanting to just sob. I could feel this rising tide of emotion, the tsunami rising, the pause before the hit as the tide pulls away and gains momentum.

I think to myself a confusion of thoughts and Mindfully I am aware that it’s OK to be sad. It’s ok to cry, of course I am going to cry. But I can’t do it on front of him. I want him to leave knowing I am so happy for him which I am. Maybe he can see my eyes are filling up a bit, I hope he can’t see it but also hope he can. My feelings are so mixed up. I don’t want him to think I am TOO happy about him going either. Ah the confusions of being a mother. Every moment is new and there’s a feeling I’m supposed to know what to do, how to behave, do the right thing.

I think of all the times I held in tears. In my mind I did this to protect my children from feeling worried about me – I needed them to feel I was OK so they would feel OK. I have considered this aspect of hiding my emotion from my children. I decide that maybe in retrospect allowing them to see my weakness says a lot about my own conditioning and childhood. The fact I wrote the word weakness – says a lot – that’s quite revealing. It isn’t weakness – quite the opposite. Courage is required to step into this messy paradox of feelings – I am so happy for him, after years of difficulty finally he has the strength, the enthusiasm, the courage to make his own way in the world and it was something he chose himself. Such a relief. Any sadness is my own grief, ‘feeling sorry for myself’- these words come to mind. I am just feeling sorry for myself. When I was younger this was seen as something deeply selfish and something that must be overcome – if you were feeling sorry for yourself this is BAD.

I hug my son. He is at the door. Our eyes meet and as I write it I revisit the moment and feel the emotion welling up in me – it’s still fresh and ailve.

It brings that moment and my son closer to me.

He came in and out the front door a few times and I feel his own hesitancy, has he got everything, oh he needs to do his teeth. Funny to watch this delicate dance of in and out the door, dancing on the threshold of his liberty, his independence.

We waved as he left and his car was gone.

I walked up and down in the space, stepping mindfully feeling into each step, each step into myself. I decide that I am going to step into this ‘feeling sorry for myself’. I am consciously stepping into the pain. I head for my cushion. I’m going to feel this.

I was still debating (thinking mind) whether I should cry or not cry in front of my children – this is a thinking activity that is trying to byspass my feelings. I acknowledge it, let it go. As I settled into my seat, the deep sea of grief rose and I was engulfed. I allowed the grief to fill me fully it filled me and filled me and I was so full it just poured out of my eyes. As the drops of tears poured, like a life passing before me I felt the flush of my mothering of my leaving son –  everything I did wrong, everything I could have done better – how I might have failed him – but then a feeling of glimmering – he’s OK – we are OK, my mothering-at-home phase is over my house is empty of his energy, a whole raft of stuff – the messy stuff of mothering flooded through me and through the tears I just said YES to it all. Yes it’s a mess, yes I am sorry for myself and YES such joy that my boy is a man and he is able to leave, that he has the courage and strength to go off, he is alive he is well  – off into the world he goes and this is such a joy.

When I arose from my cushion, it had passed through – I felt elated for him. And for myself. Such joy and gratitude for his being. As Wordsworth said – the child is father of the man. I remember not understanding this in school. Now I understood it. My son is my teacher. For the last 21 years he has been the catalyst in my personal growth, through him, I have come to understand myself better, and through mindfulness –  he has had a mother who has been open (about being imperfect!) and curious about him and his needs – and floored him once by thanking him for being so difficult as it was helping me to look at my inner resistance. (How to disarm a teenager haha) – Mindfulness has helped me– deal with change  – accept my imperfections and the imperfections (perceived in) others…how to live well in the messiness that I am – and flourish.

He is so happy, I can hear it in his voice when he rings me. Elated with his courage with his freedom with his new found life. It allows me to rest in this joyous space. Mindfulness is a raft that we can jump into and trust to take us with the flow to where we need to go.


Weekly Challenge

This week it’s all about saying YES.

This week when you feel a resistance, a feeling that you may not like, a difficulty, can you jump into your mindfulness raft, chuck away the oars and say yes to whatever the life flow brings along? How does that feel to let go and say yes to whatever comes along? Really feel into the sensations in the body. What happens? Watch Fay Adam’s practice on Acceptance HERE

Please do write to me at membership@mindfulnessassociation if you have anything you’d like to share about your experience. I love to receive your messages.

Wishing you a peaceful week this week.

Warm Wishes,