I have had to take a brief hiatus from writing to deal with an unpleasant situation.
I am a big proponent of mindfulness, being fully present in the moment, and working to avoid ruminating about bad things that may or may not happen down the road. Mindfulness sounds so wonderful (and there is a lot of research that tells us it is actually good for you). But as it turns out it is quite a bit easier to practice mindfulness when your moments are lovely. It is easy to stay in the now when the now is awesome. But how can we do this when now isn't quite so awesome?
I haven't really figured that out yet. I spent most of my not so awesome moments in the past two weeks alternating between escapist fantasy (fueled mostly by amazing vacation photos that pop up daily in my Facebook feed) and catastrophic worry about the possibility that the unpleasant situation I was dealing with would go on and on and on.
So I can't tell you from my recent personal experience exactly how to practice mindfulness every minute of the day. But, what I can tell you is what I learned from the recent challenges.
- Small things aren’t as big as they can sometimes feel. When you deal with something difficult, it can put everything in perspective. The truly important things rise to the surface.
- No feeling lasts forever (not the really good ones or even the really bad ones). I re-discovered the fact that if you can ride the wave of your moments – rough stuff will pass, there are respites, pockets where things are ok. Realizing this fact does make it easier to claim the less awesome moments.
- It is the range of experiences that brings a richness to life. The lowlights enable us to really appreciate the highlights.
- Challenging experiences, like laughter, connect us. The shared experience. The enduring together. The gratitude for being on the other side of it....all of these things strengthen the fabric of the connected relationships in our lives.
So, although I am counting the minutes to my next phase of awesome moments in which to showcase my mindfulness talents - I am stronger for the last two weeks and full of gratitude for all that is good in my life...