Before you start reading, I want to let you know that towards the end of this blog, I plan to include a very emotive, personal example which perfectly supports the content for this post.
I have not planned this blog or going to edit it a great deal as it is going to come straight from the heart. So forgive me if it’s not up to scratch or if it’s a little bitty in places but I want it to be raw and utterly genuine.
But first, has anyone ever said to you, “Are You Out Of Your Mind”? If so, it was most likely a statement suggesting you weren’t thinking straight or that you were doing something which was totally opposite to what was expected. Being out of you mind is not perceived as a good place to be but fundamentally that is what being mindful is all about.
With the absence of mindfulness, there tends to be a lot of mind-talk or self-talk in the form of ‘thinking’. Of course, we all have to think. Thinking allows us to solve problems and it allows us to plan, amongst other things but when ‘thinking’ becomes continuous and relentless it can become problematic.
After lots of physical exercise we need to give our bodies a rest. The same applies to our minds and our thoughts, otherwise, it becomes overwhelming and tiring. Most of us don’t know how to give our minds a rest because thinking is an unconscious process. Most of the time, we just do it without even realising.
Have you ever become really tired from thinking all the time? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just calm our minds and get away from it for a while? Well, of course we could take up yoga or meditation or we can practice being more mindful or even better incorporate all three.
Being mindful allows us to take a break from the chitter-chatter of our minds. The problem with constant chitter-chatter or self-talk as previously referred, is we never really stop to question or challenge these thoughts.
We believe everything we are tell ourselves. We listen and base our lives around those thoughts and those thoughts and/or beliefs subsequently form our identity and become our reality.
How often have you heard someone say,
“If you tell yourself you can’t do it, then you won’t be able to”?
or on the flip side…
“I told myself I could, therefore I did”.
For many of us, the thoughts which form our identity are often scattered with untruths. If we stopped and questioned whether our thoughts were helpful or even true, then we would open up a whole new perspective on reality.
The key is being able to observe and ‘hear’ what your mind is telling you. Once you can ‘hear’ your self-talk, then you can begin to question which thoughts are useful and helpful and pinpoint those which might be holding you back.
It is only then possible to calm or quieten your mind. In doing so, you allow yourself to bring your focus back to the present moment where life is happening now.
For now is all we really have, which links me nicely to my own personal example…
There are lots of books written about calming your mind and bringing your awareness back to the present moment.
My first introduction was a book recommended to me by a friend. The book is called The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. His insight into living in the present moment is enlightening.
I never really understood it initially or how I could incorporate into my own life until I experienced it’s power first had – without even realising it.
If you ever need context, here is a dam good one.
So I will share something with you that is deeply personal but demonstrates how living in the present moment can transform an experience.
Deep breath…. Ok, those that know me, know I lost my first child at 22 months old. He was born with a rare genetic disorder which gave him a limited and challenging life. I openly talk about his sweet, short life to those that bring his name into conversation and one question or comment often pops up time and time again is…
“I don’t know how you did that, I don’t think I could have done it”
They were referring to those final hours/moments of his life. I believe if I had have been in their shoes, I would have thought the same thing. Anyway, this got me wondering. How could I watch my child pass away and remain calm and in control? Why was I not in hysterics, crying and out of control?
I dug a little deeper for my answer and then I realised something quite special about this situation.
During those final hours, I was living in the present moment. I was not thinking about the past, ie, the life he was leaving behind. I was not thinking about all that he had gone through. I was not even thinking about the future and all that he would miss nor did I think about our future and what it would be like without him.
I was living right in that moment. Moment by moment. Just being there with him, holding his hand and stroking his head. With that came peace and calm. I wasn’t crying, I wasn’t depressed or anxious. I was just present. For those moments were all that mattered.
From the day we were told his life would be limited, I always thought watching him pass away would be unbearable. How would I cope? How would I act in those final moments? These were all thoughts. Yep, thoughts about the future and thoughts which left me feeling anxious and sad and rightly so.
After he passed, I was calm and at peace. It wasn’t until a few days later that I caved in and cried as I remembered him and pondered about our future without him. I had time to think again.
Don’t judge me
The above doesn’t make me heartless or emotionless. It doesn’t mean I didn’t care or wasn’t affected by it all. Those who know me know this isn’t the case. This was a very unique snap shot of an otherwise turbulent couple of years. None of us know how we will handle any given situation until we experience it first hand and I hope you never have to experience the loss of a child, sadly I know at least 2 readers who have.
Life is strange
Life is odd. Life is also very beautiful and it throws us situations that take us completely by surprise. Predicting our behaviour in any given future situation is where uncertainty lies. So don’t waste time worrying about the future for often the reality is very different to how you perceive it to be.
I knew I was going to write that. Free fall writing I think it’s called. As I sit here my eyes are welling up.
The difference is I am looking back and as I’ve said before “thoughts about the past give rise to sadness and depression and thoughts about the future give rise to anxiety.”
Living in the present… well, I experienced that and it gave me PEACE !
I suppose you could say I was
“Out Of My Mind”
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