Mindfulness Blog: Part 3 - East Cheshire Hospice

Mindfulness Blog: Part 3

Mindfulness – A blog by East Cheshire Hospice’s Lindsay Dobson

Sometimes our mind seems to have a will of its own. It’s like a monkey jumping from tree to tree, as it won’t stay focused on one thing, but swings uncontrollably through many emotions.

Now, at this time, for example we may feel many many things, fear, anger, sadness, frustration, how damn unfair it is, gratitude, love, compassion, loss, back to fear… and on and on it swings.

I know sometimes my frustration, stress, anger, fear can all become to feel a bit like an elephant that’s trampling all the little new growths of gratitude under its unstoppable feet!  Or my happiness feel like a butterfly that’s flitting around everywhere, smelling the flowers but so so fragile.

Right now, all that is so human, the world is scary, and there is so much grief and loss, and of course, I certainly know some people who seem to think none of this applies to them….. and when you are dealing with the very real consequences of that, how human to then feel incredibly angry !!!

But science has shown us, those emotions, like anger and fear, compromise our immune systems, and we all want that working at its best right now!!

But how do you stop and unstoppable elephant?

The answer is perhaps you can’t!

But how much energy to you expand trying?  The more we try to stop something, the more energy we give it.  Energy our immune system could be using!!

So, what can we do?

We can practice kindness with ourselves!

Do you ever watch wildlife documentaries?   Have you noticed how, in those, nobody interferes, they let nature unwind as its going to.  They don’t jump out and say run zebra run, that lion’s going to eat you!!!  And try to stop the lion.  They watch, observe, don’t judge and let nature run its course.

That is how we can be with our emotions.  Put another way, if it’s raining outside we don’t go out and shout at the storm to stop! (Well my kids might, but they just get wet! And it keeps on raining anyway!)  sometimes we do go dance in the rain, but sometimes we shelter inside and just wait for it to pass. Our emotions are a bit like that, some we might dance in others we just ride it out.

That way we don’t feed the emotion our energy.  As emotions are just energy in motion. So the more energy we give it by fighting it, the longer it may last!!

So, perhaps we can be like the wildlife presenter, we can watch with kindness and curiosity as our emotions unfold, observe them and don’t judge them.

Close your eyes

Notice your feet on the floor, the feel of them, the weight of them, how the ground is holding them safe

Let that awareness travel up your legs, slowly slowly, until it reaches your seat on the chair, again just pause, notice the weight of you on the seat, let the awareness travel to your belly, notice your belly as it moves with your breath.

After a few moments, just let your awareness be with how you feel right now, any thoughts, any feelings,….. be curious – what is it like, how does it feel in your body, what is your mind caught up in.  Try to be like that wildlife commentator, notice, but don’t judge, let nature take its course.

If it ever becomes too much, go back to feeling your breath, or your feet on the floor.  Take your time.  Take as long or as short as you need.

I like to think of it as if I’m a boat in a storm, I can’t stop the storm, shouting at it and fighting it will just tire me out. So I drop anchor into my feet and body and breath and ride it out.  Remembering it’s natural and normal to feel all these ways, especially right now.

Remember it’s ok to feel however you are feeling and it will pass.  We will ride out this storm and yes we will be changed by it, and we will need the support of each other afterwards to perhaps get our ship all fixed up again.  But for now, we can look after ourselves by being kind and gentle and riding out whatever emotions are rocking our boat.

“The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too”
― Vincent van Gogh, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

There is peace, even in a storm.

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