Saturday, 9 August 2014

Day 3: Some realisations

I'm finding it easier to make the time for the two rounds of 8 minute meditations. If nothing else, it's 8 minutes of quiet in a room by myself and I'm feeling good about doing this for myself. I'm only 3 days in but I'm hopeful it will all start to click soon.

I tried to deliberately approach my day in a Mindfulness way today, and had a few realisations along the way:

ONE: I decided to do the "raisin exercise" on my children today, not as in eat them (although they are very delicious) but as in focus on them each intently for at least 10 minutes. I soon realised I already do this thousands of times, on an hourly basis. I know every hair on their head, how the differing shades of blue cascade in each iris and the cheeky chuckle of one versus the infectious giggle of the other. They are both such perfect little people.

TWO: I think it's normal to feel frustrated/anxious/annoyed when certain situations occur. For example, I was getting ready to bundle the kids in the car for our morning outing (after a good 45 minutes of brushing teeth, putting on clean nappies, combing hair, finding shoes, filling drink bottles, grabbing jumpers - it always takes longer than I think), only to realise my car keys are not in my bag and nowhere to be found.
This is not a situation I have encountered before, truly. I have a nappy bag that just about has a colour coded filing system and definitely has a clasp which I use to clip my keys to, to avoid this very scenario. Clearly I am letting my standards slip because the last time I remember seeing them was in my toddler's chubby grasp yesterday after I let him lock the car.
I feel the anxiety rising and gripping me round my ribcage. Mr Key-Stealer pretends he doesn't know what I'm talking about but is happy to help me look for them, then spends the next 15 minutes exclaiming "here they are!" only to produce a teddy bear, or toy phone, or piece of lego and not mummy's car keys. I give up as soon as I remember I have a spare car key upstairs - I can find my proper set later.
As I'm pulling out of the garage I think 'Mindfulness, Mindfulness, Mindfulness' and then 'how on earth am I supposed to practice Mindfulness in a situation like that?!' But as I continue down the road I try and focus on the here and now: the little shops on either side of the road, the mother puffing as she pushes a pram up the hill, the way the clouds are rolling ominously across the sky and threatening rain. I realised it's ok to get frustrated over certain events - you're not hurting anyone by feeling this way and it can be quite understandable at times - but it's important I don't then spiral into a ball of stress over it for hours and hours afterwards. That moment of anxiety over the car keys was then gone pretty quickly, and I just moved on. Whether I found them later or not, I couldn't do anything about it now and it wasn't going to help me by worrying about it. It was refreshing. Sure enough, as soon as we got home, there they were! Propped up in the blue paint pottle of my son's easel (of course that's where they'd be).

THREE: I definitely have triggers that cause those feelings of anxiety to rise. I feel it's important to start acknowledging them and either choosing to ignore them or doing something about it. Triggers identified today include: messy house (must ignore, it's not that bad), one or both children yelling/screaming when we're out in public (must ignore, they're not that bad).

FOUR: My mood is easily influenced by others. That young man that slammed the cafĂ© door so hard it made my baby cry in her highchair, darkened my mood. The older lady that pinched my toddler's chubby cheek and made both kiddies smile, brightened my mood. I'm hoping I encounter more of the latter and less of the former, but ultimately I'm hoping this Mindfulness journey will help me to influence me and not worry as much about the outside forces.

FIVE: While I can totally see the merits of training yourself to be more in the present and appreciate the here and now, it's also helpful if you have something to look forward to. Whenever I had a dip today, I just kept thinking about the dinner reservation I have tomorrow night with my better half.

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