Living with uncertainty has been a bit of a theme for me this year. There have been all sorts of changes taking place around and within me, with one of the biggest changes about to happen- a house move. As you can imagine, there have been all sorts of worries and frettings happening about, as one friend calls it, such a ‘seismic shift’, and I was feeling quite isolated in this place. Then I looked up- I unentangled myself from the juicy thoughts that kept me in a perpetual loop of fear and saw that I wasn’t alone. Others all around me were going through their own ‘seismic shifts’, only they were packaged differently and their concerns were unique to their own mind.
Many times throughout the day, I would get lost in this place of uncertainty. It might be a financial worry that pulls me away, or perhaps, a planning for what is to come (often worst-case scenarios)- trying to maintain and pretend that I have some sense of control. I would get myself completely lost in some fear based anticipation of how things might be. However, if I reflect on my past worry track record, I know things won’t be as I imagined and I am usually perfectly fine.
Regardless, my concentration on fantasies becomes so ‘zoomed in’ and narrow focused that I lose sense of everything that is actually happening around me. And recently, I have come to know that this happens to many of my friends when it comes to uncertainty.
This narrow focus also happens in our day to day living without major concerns. I am sure that many of you have had the experience of driving home or taking a bus home and realising that you have arrived without noticing the actual journey. Or, maybe you have been engaged in conversation with a friend but have only heard half of what they were saying because your thoughts have hijacked your ability to be present.
It’s only when we look up or broaden our focus that we start to see the bigger picture and notice what is ACTUALLY happening. This is mindfulness- knowing what is happening while it is happening. And interestingly, usually when we broaden our focus, things become less scary, there is room for more possibilities and maybe even ones where we don’t suffer!
So, this poses the question- how can we be mindful when we are blocking our experience through the narrow focus of fear, uncertainty and imaginings of how things might be, rather than how things are?
We can set the intention to notice that we are ‘away with the fairies’ or lost in the fret of uncertainty, and then challenge ourselves to ‘zoom out’ and take notice of everything that is actually happening in this particular moment. You might even like to notice the gap between how things actually are and how your mind is telling you they are or might be.
How are you feeling? What is happening in your body? What is happening in the room? Who is around you? What is happening in this moment? And can we stay with this moment?
This week’s challenge is to ‘zoom out’, whenever we notice we have ‘zoomed in’.
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