Some years ago a very good friend asked if I would like to join her on a mindfulness course. I had been practising yoga for two years and had already felt the benefits of finding stillness. I was intrigued and decided that I’d be brave and join her on this adventure.
Having heard a little bit about mindfulness I was unsure what to expect. There was quite a large group of us and I felt nervous about even showing up to the class. Having become a mother several years previous I realised I had become unaccustomed to this kind of group situation. I felt very self-conscious and unwilling to participate in group discussion. My nerves engulfed me and distorted my experience.
I didn’t know then that the course was to have so much impact on my personal life. As the weeks unfolded I began to recognise that extreme changes were taking place. The biggest change was the increasing awareness I felt at the present moment. I recognised that I was nervous and rather than becoming consumed entirely by these emotions, I was able to become a witness, as our teacher had showed us.
By week three of the eight week mindfulness course I’d had an extreme moment where I distinctly remember becoming aware that I did not need to BE my emotion, I did not need to FEEL my emotion and that I could in fact watch it.
This gained extra practice as my friends daughter was a learner driver and often drove us to the class! Getting in the car I would become increasingly tense, remembering the near misses from the previous week, riding the corners with white knuckles and a racing heart! But this too leant itself to the perfect opportunity to find the NOW. Not the what ifs but the actual NOW. I learnt to steady myself with mindful breathing and connecting with the reality of NOW – the ever changing brightly coloured lights of her mini’s dashboard or how my feet felt in my shoes.
I learnt about the benefits to my physical body of controlling these chemicals. Chemicals usually released for fight or flight. Chemicals that helped us face a sabre toothed tiger in times of struggle. Chemicals that are not helpful when sat at a desk or a passenger in a car!
Last week I watched my wedding video from 12 years ago. I watched myself at the alter, about to take my vows with my chest rising and falling rapidly and my pupils like a rabbit in headlights and I remembered… I remembered a time when my emotions completely consumed me and the what ifs completely took over the present moment. I remember the feeling of Adrenalin racing around my body and how it felt as my mind raced to disastrous and fictitious outcomes.
I am not saying that these moments do not happen at all now. I am not in a completely zen state but I have an awareness. One that stops me from allowing that racing thought to believe it is a reality and an awareness that gives me focus that I never thought I could have.
People assume that mindfulness is all about relaxing and if relaxation is your goal then yes mindfulness helps but if a better focus is your goal, it also helps with this and pain management or sleep or parenting. Whatever it is we want to achieve, it’s easier when we have the awareness that mindfulness creates.
I first met Trish Nugent when The Acorn was in its building stage. We immediately connected. I couldn’t believe that I had found someone so experienced and compassionate who could teach the same mindfulness course I had found so helpful. She simply had to be a part of the tapestry. Here we are nearly 3 years on and I am so proud and grateful that Trish offers such an amazing realm of courses and treatments. This September, Trish will be taking another group of beautiful beings on a journey to discover the benefits of mindfulness and I hope you will join her.
The course begins Monday 9th September and is every week during term time from 10-12:30 with home practices to work on. The next chakra course begins Monday 13th January – it’s useful to have some mindful or meditation practice for this course.
Also over this summer, there is the chance to introduce your munchkins to some mindfulness on 9th and 16th August.