Mindfulness helps us to notice – to observe – what we are reacting to. It is a journey of learning how to switch off automatic pilot and be aware of what is happening.
A couple of weeks ago I had an experience of the Spring rain. It was late one afternoon and I went outside. The rain was fine. It was incredibly soft as it feel on my face. There was the coolness of the evening yet still with the warmth of the day. I welcomed it. And I still recall how much I enjoyed the moment.
Today it is raining. The ageing roof on my house is being re-done and it is only partially tiled. The rain seems relentless. It seems cold and wintry. I can hear the wind rattling the scaffold. I keep willing it to stop.
Then and now, it is rain. The first memory is of a pleasant moment. My experience now is less comfortable, with anxiety within it!
Just typing this blog is part of my journey to acceptance, becoming aware of my anxiety about the rain. Now what?
I remember this is a question in the introduction of a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn on my bookshelf. And this is what this father of western mindfulness writes,
. . . we have got to pause in our experience long enough to let the present moment sink in; long enough to actually feel the present moment, to see it in its fullness, to hold it in awareness and thereby come to know and understand it better. Only then can we accept the truth of that moment of our life, learn from it, and move on.
So I feel the anxiety – but what can I learn from it?
- I learn that I am rattled when I doubt how water proof my home is and accept this as normal.
- I learn that when the roofers return to site tomorrow I will explain to them my anxiety and explore how we can reduce the time that the tiles are removed when rain is forecast.
And the day awaits me with many good things in it, regardless of the rain. I will recognise the anxiety in the moment but I will also seek to be aware of all that is good in the day. It would be a shame to miss other things that are in this moment too.
This is Mindful Monday @ essencecheltenham.org on 2 April 2018.
If you are in or near the Cheltenham area, join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness on Monday 16 April, 7.30-9 pm.