A year in…how goes it?

Ladybank woods

I’ve been running mindfulness groups, classes and one to ones now for over a year as my main income stream, so felt it was a worthy topic to reflect upon. How has it gone?

People who know me well, know that the practice of mindfulness has transformed my life. In the five or so years since starting this journey, I have changed my personality (who knew that was possible!), become more peaceful and continue to learn, learn, learn. When I think of who I was five years ago, I blink bleary-eyed at that past, wondering in abject awe how things have changed in me and for me. If I’d been able to look into the future back then, I might have practised mindfulness even more diligently! Still, mindfulness is all about letting go, non-judging and coming back to the moment, so in that way, everything has flowed perfectly. I am enough, each and every day.

I’m not an ‘expert’ in mindfulness; what does that even mean? I’m not striving for becoming any more important, or impressive, or anything as it goes – my main aim, and has always been, is to know myself better so I can ease my suffering, and to know others better so I can help ease theirs. Being able to ease my own pain in life has led me to deeper connections with so many people. I’ve learned in this year not to try and force change in people, and accept people as they are. Any forcing on my part was just more learning – I’m also trying to stop ‘preaching’ about mindfulness as this amazing cure for everything in an effort to change other peoples’ views on it. If I preach too much, then I’m judging those who don’t do this practice, and that in itself stops my own mindfulness. Acceptance; letting be, these are the ways. So I continue to work on myself.

Each day is a gift, a new learning, a new approach, a curiosity that needs adventuring. Any sign of ego, the voice in my head that thinks too much, the emotions that come from that kind of thinking, ALL of it goes into the melting pot of conscious learning. What comes out is something I could never have conceived of. This something feels inherently more peaceful. Of course, sometimes I miss the gift, sometimes I still hurt, or have strong feelings about something – but in it goes, into that melting pot. Sometimes it takes a while to come out of the other side in its alchemy. I sometimes want it to be a bit quicker, to ‘get somewhere’, but again, that’s just not the point!

So, how’s the year gone? Incredibly rich, diverse, learning. Insight after insight! More kindness, joy and happiness; more able to stand on my own two feet and just be without too much emotional disturbance. A constant, changing, flowing journey – with no goal other than to survive, to be, to actually enjoy this precious life. In these challenging times of climate change and systems beginning to fall apart, mindfulness is my torch, carrying me onward, to give me permission to have joy when so many people are without it. Joy generates more joy, peace generates more peace. In this way, by changing my own personality, I become a practising ‘peaceful warrior’ to gain wisdom to ‘do the right thing’ for everyone in my world (including myself).

What’s next? Well, a book on mindfulness and some mindfulness practice cards will become props when they’re ready; more groups, courses and one to ones with people, and working with organisations to bring more mindfulness to Fife (and beyond) should it be asked for. I’m even contemplating doing a series of online videos – I might need some help with the technical aspects of this – but it’s all in that melting pot…

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