I love guiding the free daily sits offered by the Mindfulness Association. I so enjoy chatting to the wonderful community of people who have gathered together on a daily basis during what has been a very challenging time for most of us, more so for some, since March.
I find this community very inspiring. Not only have they been motivated to ‘do something’ (rather than nothing – it is so easy to do nothing) by joining the daily sessions for a half hour mindfulness practice, but they have overcome and embraced the virtual world of Zoom!
Whilst chatting to them on Monday I realised that people actually read the Weekly Challenge blog, written either by myself or Lisa (we take turns). I’m not sure why I thought that there weren’t many people that actually read them. Yet, somewhere in that, I thought they would read Lisa’s. Hmmm, maybe it’s the self-critic at work saying to me ‘why on earth would someone want to read YOUR blog? What have you got to say that is interesting or helpful’?
Someone asked me what inspires me to write a blog. Well sometimes there is something going on in my life, nagging away or challenging me and I write about how I use my mindfulness practice to work with it or overcome it in some way. Other times, like now, I know I need to write something by a certain time, so it can go in the members weekly newsletter, and I just get a blank page starting at me!!!
White space and no inspiration!
That feels pretty weird in my body. I feel slightly anxious. Interesting to notice.
So, I ground myself by really connecting to the earth beneath me through all the touch points in my body that are in contact with the ground. Just like we do in our sitting practice. By bringing my attention to my legs, feet and sitting bones, I suddenly feel more grounded and connected. More in my body. I notice how it is surrounded by space and how that feels.
Then I pay attention to my breathing. Slowing it down and deepening the breath. And I rest in my body. And this helps calm the endless chatter, leaving my mind clearer to write this blog. Just by bringing the well proven process of Settling, Grounding and Resting to my daily life has made me relax a little and create space for creativity and inspiration to emerge.
The precious gift of settling, grounding and resting, which is part of the foundation weekend training, has actually changed my life in so many ways. I recognised its value more than ever as I have, like many people, navigated a difficult year. And this is what forms my motivation to practice mindfulness. Because I know that if I do, I will be able to traverse life’s twists and turns more gently and be kinder to myself in the process.
This year has been challenging. It began with a death. It progressed into frustrating times of separation to people I love throughout lockdown. It took me on a journey of anxiety as the universe constantly teased me with where I should live. My partner in crime at the Mindfulness Association, Duncan, left us. There was another sense of loss of a friend and colleague as I challenged my ageing brain with new skills. This coincided with the arrival of the pandemic – which increased my activities and involvement with the Mindfulness Association. Phew, it has been busy. As well as acceptance and allowing of the more difficult things in life, it is also important to take in the joy as part of our mindfulness practice. I reflect on the joy of being in nature more. I was also able to rest more as ‘nowhere to go’ from the resting part of our practice became more relevant during lockdown! Another joy arrived in the form of Lisa – my new partner in crime writing blogs and communications for the MA. And yes, sharing mindfulness with so many people this year has also been a joy as has being part of the Mindfulness Association community myself.
As I finally find words to write on the blank page of this week’s blog, this reflection has helped me recognise how important my motivation and practice is. And as I reflect on the importance of the daily sit community, I am suddenly reminded of how valuable the sense of community is to me too. Being part of the Mindfulness Association Community of tutors and practitioners is an integral part of my motivation to practice, share and join in. I have survived the journey of 2020 so far all the better for it.
So, back to the daily practice.
If you are reading this and haven’t yet joined our free daily practices, I thoroughly recommend you join this wonderful group of people who have grown friendships and connections during a very difficult time. It’s as much about this the connection as it is being guided through half hour of mindfulness training to help settle the mind and encourage a sense of kindness to ourselves. Guiding these practices is just as beneficial to me, when it’s my turn on the schedule, as it is to those who have joined for this sharing. By joining in these sessions people are connecting with our growing community of mindfulness practitioners and beaming out some calm into this troubled world. And that has to be a very good thing. Here is the link to Join the Daily Sit Practice. Go on… become part of our community. Come Practice With Us.
I dedicate this blog to all those who join our daily practice sessions.
I invite you to sit quiet for a while and reflect on your own motivation for wanting to practice mindfulness or to what keeps you practicing. Notice how it feels, without trying, just allowing feelings to arise. There might be many layers in the motivation. How does the sense of community feel to you?
If you haven’t begun a practice yet, maybe quietly reflect on what might motivate you to start one.
I’d love to hear your comments so please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment after this post.
Take care everyone
With Warmest Wishes
If you haven’t already started a mindfulness practice, join Kristine and Jacky for a weekend of fun, sharing and Nature and Mindfulness as we offer the last chance to begin the Level 1 Mindfulness Training for 2020. Jacky will also be guiding a practice day on 30th December. Watch out for news of our new set of practice days coming up soon.
Jacky has contributed a chapter to the Mindful Heroes Book entitled “Turning Empathic Distress into Compassion – A Hero’s Journey for Family Carers”. You can hear an extract from the chapter where she talks about the results of her MSc Studies in Mindfulness on Compassion & Family Carers. You can download a free sample of Jacky’s chapter here.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels