Wednesday, June 10, 2015

On Mindfulness

One of the big things that we discussed while I was in therapy was mindfulness--being present in the moment, not thinking about what happened or what will happen or what might happen--simply, what is happening right now.

I lived with a lot of pain for a very long time, pain that was buried so deep I hardly knew it was there. Every meeting with Mary peeled back more and more layers, until we'd at last reached the root of the cause of my particular anxieties. I'd lived for so long with such abominably low self-esteem, such fear and self-doubt, and hatred for myself that I didn't know any other way. I didn't know that I was feeling (or not feeling, as it turned out) all of these things, let alone that there was any other way to be.

Mary kept a little basket of all different kinds of stones on a table in her office. One day, she handed it to me and told me to pick a stone; I chose a rather imperfect one, one with too many lumps and bumps to count. She told me this would be my "grounding stone"; whenever I started feeling anxious or bingey, use the stone to bring me back into the present. Breathe deep and focus on what I'm feeling, why I'm feeling, where I'm feeling it (I carry my anxiety in the area between my chest and throat, and in my jaw, in case you're wondering).

So one day, I'm driving in my car and I'm stopped at a red light. I glanced over and saw my grounding stone laying in the passenger seat; I picked it up and just started feeling it... turning it over in my hands, admiring its strength and solidity while running my fingers along its bumps and bruises, thinking about how much that stone reminded me of myself. I had the radio on, turned down fairly low, (white noise, you know), when I caught the end of a chorus I'd heard a dozen times before...

All this time I was finding myself / And I didn't know I was lost

You've got that right, Avicii.

I tried carrying the weight of the world / But I only have two hands

I continued listening, and I mean, really listening. I turned the radio up until I could feel the music pulsing throughout my body, closed my eyes, and just let it envelop me in its rhythm (periodically opening an eye to check on the status of the light). I let go of all my thoughts of what needed to be done that day and just allowed myself to enjoy, truly enjoy, that music, those few, precious moments alone in the car with not a care in the world. I remembered days past, when I'd roll down the windows and turn the music up as loud as I could stand and sing along, not caring who might hear me or what they'd think. What ever happened to that girl, I thought. Suddenly, a realization so profound, so pure hit me so hard that tears sprang into my eyes (as they did again while typing this memory)...

She's right here, she never left. She was here all along, waiting for you to find her again.

And with that, the light turned green. I carried on about my day, a slightly different, better, version of myself then I was when I woke up that morning.

It was that day that I finally learned what it meant to be mindful. I thought I knew, but really I just said I did and then didn't think about it again. I suppose my stoplight epiphany (as I've come to refer to it) was God's way of saying, "HEY! Pay attention! Your life is fleeting and you're just letting it pass you by, not actually seeing or enjoying any of the graces I've put in your path. Slow down and stop worrying about what was or is to come, because I've got this!"

"Wake Me Up" by Avicii

Feeling my way through the darkness / Guided by a beating heart
I can't tell where the journey will end / But I know where it starts

They tell me I'm too young to understand / They say I'm caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don't open up my eyes / Well that's fine by me

So wake me up when it's all over / When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself / And I didn't know I was lost

So wake me up when it's all over / When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself / And I didn't know I was lost

I tried carrying the weight of the world / But I only have two hands
I hope I get the chance to travel the world / And I don't have any plans

I wish that I could stay forever this young / Not afraid to close my eyes
Life's a game made for everyone / And love is a prize

So wake me up when it's all over / When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself / And I didn't know I was lost

So wake me up when it's all over / When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself / And I didn't know I was lost

I didn't know I was lost (Repeat 3x)



5 comments:

  1. You are such a beautiful person, Christina. I'm glad you found clarity and peace. :)

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  2. I love that song and relate to it myself also. Isn't it amazing when we have those moments where everything becomes clearer?

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  3. What a beautiful post. I love that song for all the same reasons.

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  4. I confess I've read and re-read this post and it has helped me to take that pause. It can be so hard to do but it is so essential. Thanks for sharing!

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