I’m having one of those weeks when nothing is coming through in my mind to write about for this blog.
Words are usually quite forthcoming but this week – nothing. I thought about writing about my visit to the zoo with my grandson. That was quite a mindful experience but I’m saving that for another day.
This led me to reflect on why this might be the case, I sat with this for a while. I often do this if I cannot find the answer to something I need to know. In our mindfulness training we are encouraged to drop a question in to our resting minds, like tossing a pebble in a pool, and watch the ripples of insight arise without seeking the answer.
What came was the realisation that I am feeling rather overwhelmed at the moment. I have a lot to do, both at work and in my personal life. I am busy at work in this gap between Duncan leaving and his replacement starting. Furthermore, I’m trying to sell my house and buy a new one and am beginning to find it all a bit stressful as it isn’t progressing quite how I would like.
Amongst all this I realised that I am either travelling to stay with friends (running away from being in my house of course), I am clearing my house or looking for things that I have packed away. They might be in a box at a friend’s house, in a bag in the loft or even in my car! Anyone who has had a house on the market will recognise how the house is kept tidier and cleaner than ever before with all personal items hidden away. It’s all quite exhausting when this goes on for a sustained period of time. I thought it would be just for weeks, but it’s turning out to be months… and months!
I also willingly and lovingly dedicate one day a week for my grandson. This all means, that, at the moment I don’t have much time for rest. It also feels as if I have less of a sense of ‘me’ and I don’t feel at all grounded. I notice how my body is responding to this situation. It seems my shoulders feel a bit tight and they seem at least an inch higher when I look in the mirror. When teaching Yoga I learned that shoulders have a mind of their own and need mind training to soften and relax. I can also sense a tightness in my body generally. Like I’m coiled, waiting to pounce… waiting.. for something.
In Heathers blog this week, she talks about acts of self-kindness and the greatest act of self-kindness she has offered herself during a difficult time has been working on creating a home for herself.
Having been inspired by her blog and reflecting on this I realise that I am going through one of those strange times. An extraordinary period of time when I happen to be caught up in the flow of life happening to me, with what seems like very little control of my own.
I am increasingly aware of impermanence and console myself with the knowledge that this too will pass. And after all, there are many good things in my life. Having reflected on this I find I am able to relax and soften around it all and accept that all is well. it’s just how it is right now.
So on to the act of self-kindness. In the current unsettled period in my life and mind at the moment I am making a commitment and an intention to ensure I pause and be still at various times throughout my day. To do this I am going to use the Three Minute Breathing Space and the Self Compassion Break (which can be found in the Mindfulness practices on our app).
In my own research in the MSc Studies in Mindfulness and review of literature, there is evidence which suggests that just 7 minutes of mindfulness practice produces effective benefits towards increasing wellbeing. Whilst there are now myriad research reports which support the benefits of regular formal practice to reap optimum benefits, including short practices into daily life provides a constructive way of maintaining a mindfulness practice.
When I am having a really busy day or feeling overwhelmed, at work or in my personal life, I remember my practice and pause and breath. Coming to rest, even for a short while, with a sense of being rather than doing, is helping me become more grounded and centred. It is helping me manage frustrations and stress by taking time out and being present in the moment, rather than where I have been or where I am going to go. Rather than chewing over what has happened and worrying about what might be. This is my act of self kindness. Nothing to do, nowhere to go, just for a moment.
I invite you to notice times this week where you are feeling overwhelmed with work or challenging situations in your personal life. Pause to recognise how you are feeling and the impact it is having on you. I then invite you to set an intention for ways you can be kind to yourself.
I would love to hear your feedback and comments, so please leave me a message after this post, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you well this coming week
Jacky will be co-teaching Level 1 – Being Present with Alan Hughes at Samye Ling 13 – 15 March 2020 and on the Level 2 – Responding with Compassion with Heather Regan-Addis at Samye Ling Summer 2020.
We’d love to see you there.
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.