The Mindful Way to Simple Living
Life is simple, we make it difficult. We don’t mean to make it difficult, in fact, it is not even our fault. Somewhere along the way we have lost touch with our pure goodness. We have been brainwashed over and over again by external messages - family, friends, marketing, religion, tv - that we ‘should’ be better or different. We are judged and start judging ourselves and often found as ‘not good enough’. Than we start to believe these messages and live our life accordingly. We learn to distrust others and ourselves. We crave the need to know and control. We push away and deny what we don’t like and grasp for more of what we do like. In this we leave ourselves continually unhappy with the present moment.
We want it to be different, better, perfect!
How Mindfulness Can Heal
Mindfulness is the new buzz word. It is trendy and with that comes a lot of false, or at least simplistic explanation of practices.
Cure your woes in 5 short mindful steps. Yikes. Mindfulness is not something to do, it is a way of being.
We are learning to come into the present moment and take a serious look at our thoughts, habits, and reactions and see them for what they are. Some are great and allow us healthy relationships, outlooks, and happiness. Others are not so great, they keep us down and continually make us feel we are lacking. They keep us stuck in unhealthy emotions, or worse, keep us from seeing or appreciating the healthy ones.
Mindfulness is about seeing things as they are, not as how we want them to be. It is waking up from the negativity that keeps us stuck in “shoulds’ and depressed thinking,
"I should have done better."
"They should appreciate me."
"Why can’t I be happy."
"I always fail."
This list goes on.
I like to think of mindfulness as taking a compassionate look at the reality we have created. When we can do this we are able to see what is working and what is not. Mindfulness does not mean just accepting what is, it is about seeing what is reality and choosing to change it, or our relationship to it. Take driving to work everyday in heavy traffic because there is no other route for instance. You come to resent it and your boss for being in that location, other commuters who get in your way, even the need to work at all. With this comes the belief that there is nothing you can do about this and life sucks. You can’t quit, you have bills to pay and you like your job for the most part. But this continual commute sets your whole day off negatively and this filters into the way you view your job and life as a whole.
Then one day a friends says he has a recording of a comedy he thinks you would really like it. You are curious and have a listen. Soon you are hooked on recordings as you drive. You get recommendation, you download episode of lectures, stories, comedy, motivation, healthy living……
Gradually you realize that you have been the one creating the reality of this bad situation, bad job, and bad life; and that the drive to work, while is a reality, is not so bad. With curiosity and awareness you create a new perspective. Soon you are enjoying your commute and have even caught yourself driving around the block a few times just so you can stay in your car and finish your recording.
Now this does not mean that you will never experience a frustrating drive again, you will. However, now you have the recognition that it is okay to be frustrated at times, it is part of being human. You will also know that it is the reality of this moment without going down the rabbit hole of ‘it will always be like this and my life sucks.
This is how negative thinking and moods prevail in our life and it is not our fault. We have been nurtured by outside sources and this becomes what is real. We don’t question it because we don’t know that there is an alternative way, or we do know but the fear it takes to create a different reality on our own is overwhelming and we don’t know how. The unknown is be very scary..
This is why mindfulness is so important. It is about falling awake without judgment or blame and having compassion for ourselves when we see the reality in what has been created. This compassion is absolutely essential for change and growth. (On a side note, if the reality you have created is awesome rejoice in it – you created it.)
So it is up to us when we become aware that something is not working to be open, curious, and compassionate. Seek out new ways of being. Read books, talk to people, attend lectures, seek professional help; the whole while understanding that at any given time there is more right with you than wrong.
If you would like to learn more about living a mindful life and healing from old beliefs, please book a complimentary 15 minute consultation with me, Cindy Owen, your Guelph Psychotherapist specializing in Mindful Based Therapy.
Cindy Owen RP, MBT