Mindfulness encourages us to slow down, even to get still. This is essential in noticing our experience and practicing non-judgmental thoughts. When we are rushing around in the hustle-and-bustle world, competing with our coworkers and neighbors, on auto-pilot-life mode, we are too busy focusing on the goals to notice our journey or our thoughts about the journey. Slowing down, taking deep breaths, or at least noticing the pace of our breath and heart rate is a place to start.
For me, Mindfulness has been huge in changing my life, internally and externally. I’ve been an over-functioner from day 1 (ask my parents!) with an anxious, worrying, perfectionistic, critical mind. What this led to, other than never allowing myself to be happy, was me rarely to never being in tune with what I truly, genuinely wanted for myself. I was just “going along with it,” whatever seemed to be the most high-achieving option; academics, career, athletics, relationships, you name it. And of course, I was too busy to realize how terrible I felt some of the time.
Here’s why I am sharing that with you: I wasn’t trusting of anything. I was living from a mindset of lack (I’m not enough, this isn’t enough, I have to do XYZ or I’m going to be less-than or so-and-so won’t approve of me) and convinced that nothing would work out unless I somehow had my claws in it. In retrospect, I see how miserable this made me. At the moment, it seemed like the only way I could survive.
I learned of Mindfulness through academic studies. So I studied it. I read about it, I researched it, I talked about it, I wrote about it. I didn’t actually try Mindfulness until about 5 years later. It wasn’t even my choice as it was an activity in a class. But, I went along with it, and I got still. I paid attention to the contracting and releasing of my muscles as I breathed in and breathed out. I wasn’t judging my experience or others around me. I was observing my breath and my body, perhaps for the first time ever, and without any efforts to change it. This was the beginning of my Mindfulness journey.
What happened from there was a series of events, coincidences, or even synchronicities, that helped me to foster an attitude of Trusting. Instead of having to control everything (that isn’t actually in my control, or even by business anyway) in order to feel some sort of okay-ness, I slowed down and watched things work out. Some may call this manifesting, the Law of Attraction, or woo-woo.What I can say, is that the more I slowed down and was able to look inward to discover what I really wanted and needed, and eventually listening even more inward to a natural knowing of the next steps on the path, the more life has been working out for me. I didn’t become passive in my life (which was one of my fears!). I actually found that I became more active and assertive in what I actually wanted for my life. Furthermore, turns out the way I was living, “just go along with it,” was living passively.
If anything, it feels better. Controlling and worrying is anxiety provoking and it negatively impacts our mood, our brain, and our body. Trusting and allowing feels like a relief, like giant weights off my shoulders. I can actually relax, as if I’ve delegated the job of someone bringing opportunities to me and I trust them to do the perfect job. No need to micromanage. I just know what’s in the best interest for me and the world will come about; I trust my natural knowing with guide me and I move forward accordingly.
This has also helped me have more faith in myself and my capabilities. It’s become quite clear the many ways I’ve played small and lived from a place of fear and lack, a belief that I was never enough and neither was anything I had to offer. I enjoy reading Marianne Williamson’s poem “Our Greatest Fear” (see attached) and then the quote, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” Not only do I trust that life is working out, I also trust myself. That’s gold to me.
What I’ve recently come to notice is how this is a cycle. Getting still helps me trust. Trusting actually helps me to get even more still, listen inward even more, have more compassion for myself and others. It’s full circle and it’s beautiful.
I do hope you take a chance on Mindfulness. Don’t take my word for it that you’ll feel better as you ease into slowing down, find your authentic self, live life purposely and powerfully, and feel happier and more serene. Try it yourself and discover your own journey.