Has there been a time this last week when you were particularly UN-mindful? There was for me – and I added to the moment by beating myself up about it – but if we become aware of the process and notice what happens then we can (SLOWLY) learn what not to do!
My parents are arriving tomorrow and in our end of the week Sunday house clean-up I suddenly noticed fingerprints, clutter & grime I normally wouldn’t even see…but suddenly I could see it and the more I cleaned the more I saw and before I knew it my mind was spinning with the need for perfection and thoughts of self-blame (why don’t I have a cleaner house? why don’t I clean more?) and blaming others (why can’t my kids be cleaner & tidier & have more respect for this house, why can’t my husband clean more?) and round and round my thoughts went as I got angrier & angrier and more and more tense (sound familiar??) until I was a bubbling cauldron on the inside….
I wasn’t even particularly aware of how I was adding fuel to the fire in my own mind until I exploded in anger over the smallest thing and my family looked at me like ‘you’re weird, what’s wrong with you?’
Then began the battle in my mind as part of me justified my level of anger and kept arguing and adding fuel to the fire (it can be so hard to stop the ruminating once your mind is on that treadmill!)while the other part of my mind was valiantly trying to calm me down but was also upset and disappointed that ‘there I go again, how long have you been doing this mindulness suff ? and you are completely undone by having visitors and doing some cleaning!!!’
So instead of helping myself to be calm and feel better I was just beating myself up for being so UN -mindful an making myself feel worse!! At this stage I was so caught up in the whirlwind in my head that I was completely unaware of anyone else or my environment!! And I was still cleaning furiously!!
Until finally something clicked and I was able to remember to breathe…and pause…and acknowledge this ruminating and internal debating isn’t getting me anywhere, in fact it’s making me feel worse! And to rapidly think well what else can I do? This is where all of my mindfulness practice comes in handy – the more you practice the more available it is in a crisis and my mind turned to gratitude. In fact I was clinging to it….hoping desperately it would save me!!
‘Thank you for this house, for this item of furniture, for the kids who are actually helping in this clean up- for my partner who is working hard cleaning, for my parents who are visiting, for the fact that I have been following my passion and that is why I haven’t had time for much cleaning’
And somehow this was enough to give me some space, some perspective and to see – ‘it’s OK if our house isn’t perfect’ and ‘it’s OK to have other priorities’, and ‘near enough is good enough!’ and then to be mindful of what just happened there? How I had completely lost my mind to an old pattern…?
It still took me awhile to calm down but through this process I was able to laugh about it and apologise to my family and feel calmer and more mindfu!! And hopefully each time it happens I learn a little bit more about the process and I become more mindful and use strategies earlier! I know in the old days I would have exploded but not even really be aware of the pattern and I would have felt justified and angry for hours…..so it’s nice to focus on the progress and not on how far I still have to go! 🙂
So when were you UNmindful? And are you willing to share?