One Therapist's Journey
It seems that mindfulness is the new buzzword in the world of therapy. This practice and skill is not a new concept, but it appears we are giving it greater recognition. We are learning more and more about how mindfulness creates changes in our brain, actions and our presence. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
I recently spent three days gaining more respect for, information about and skills to develop the mindfulness practices. I have experienced how mindfulness allows one to reconnect and commit to oneself, others and life in general. I see it, believe it, know it to be true and feel it in relationship with others. I want it and am willing to make some conscious efforts to be more accountable for demonstrating the change that I wish to be in my life.
I talk about mindfulness to clients in my practice on a regular basis. I encourage for example, the use of breath work, meditation, nonjudgmental observation and self-awareness every day in my practice. However, somewhere along the way, I have stopped practicing for myself that which I encourage in others in a way that allows rejuvenation, balance and connection for myself. Today, I recommit to the practice of mindfulness and self-awareness, and if you will, a more holistic connection for myself. In turn, it is a recommitment to connecting mindfully and purposely with my family and most importantly, my spouse. Yes, outside of the office!
Bringing this commitment to change to the forefront at this point in time is important to me, not only to the direction I wish to take my life, relationships, and my practice. Do not get me wrong, I have been here before! Being in the moment is something I can do. At times I am awesome at this! Most often I see this in my practice with others who are seeking assistance and at times when I am completely unhooked from the trappings of day to day responsibilities. Sustaining it in my personal life is the more difficult task for me.
The challenge is maintaining the process and practice in times when I am directed, focused or otherwise targeting my life for change. I have been a driven person in most areas of my life ever since I can remember. I will not go into all the details as to how this developed; what is more important is I know myself to generally be self-centered rather than self-aware in the process of being driven. I develop tunnel vision rather than allowing the world to open before my eyes. The challenge then for me is to be driven and balanced enough to be mindful in the process.
I am up for the task and look forward to the journey. I welcome the company and insight of others along the way. I have been inspired by sharing the past three days with awesome colleagues and experiencing a connection with others I was apparently ready to know. Again, it is only through the experience of connecting with others that I can commit to myself and others in my world. I so appreciate the ability to learn, observe, reflect and evolve in a world around me that also appreciates and respects those abilities in and of itself as well as others. What a gift I have in the life I have been granted. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to learn more about myself, my relationship to others, and a willingness to continue my evolution without evaluation in the journey. More is yet to be revealed I am sure; and for that I am open.
How often do we take things for granted or overlook the little things in life that give us joy or a reason to pause and be thankful? When I began reflecting on this question, I am aware that there are many people, places and things I have missed celebrating over time. Thankfully, there are many more events, relationships and experiences I have been able to observe, participate in and or be present for that give me a sense of fulfillment, joy and satisfaction. My hope is that I will continue to honor those moments, the people who come into my life and those places where I may spend time and that I may choose to do so more often today than what I was able to yesterday.
In my practice in working with others I wish to share this belief: that is important to take in, contribute to and honor everything about the experience of living. It is a gift to be fully present for the moments that are both heart wrenching and those that are gratifying. It is a gift to be able to claim ownership of our involvement in the process while giving the experience to others with whom we share the moment. Even more powerful, the ability to share the experience with others who may be absent, but present in our heart, our mind and our soul as we take in the totality of the spirit of living.
I take comfort in the belief that my experience today somehow is connected with the experiences I have had before and those yet to come. And in the belief that the entirety of humankind is interconnected and purposeful. My relationships today, no matter how powerful or mundane, will create moments in time, a history and a future, for those with whom I share them and those yet to come. I am grateful to all those before me that had an impact in allowing me to celebrate the whole of living; the good, bad, ugly, and the beautiful.
And, I am mindful of my responsibility to continue to celebrate life by participating, creating meaning, and maintaining an awareness of the spirit. Honoring the sacred nature of life is truly celebrating.
Humor is a gift I share in my relationships today. Laughter is the way it travels. A thought and a smile is where it all starts. Today I am truly blessed to be able to share this gift with others in my life. I am particularly thankful to share it with my husband, children, family, and friends.
At different points in my life, humor has not come quite as easily as it does today. A shadowing darkness of fear jaded my ability to laugh freely and share my smiles. In my journey through life and learning, I have had any number of teachers show me how the idea of humor begins and spreads in colors blending my life together in a patchwork of designs.
I understand humor today as a great tool for building flexibility, reassurance, and acceptance. Instead of building great serious and rigid walls of beliefs by which to define my life, I hope to continue to hang wide open doors for living shaded in sheer curtains of humor, passion, and delight. What a freedom to move forward with construction with a detached sense of vulnerability and naivety.
Private practice is giving me an opportunity to take humor in myself in a way that I haven't experienced before. I have to let go of the weight, the fear and the barriers to move with fluidity, flexibility and humor across, under, and around challenges new and old. I will let light in through the practice of humor and this is the framework by which I will put forth my first attempts at blogging !