The way things have gone recently, I don’t feel like I have very much agency at the moment. It is not my ideal situation. So to get through, this time, I am using the ‘one day’ trick. I know that one day I will have freedom and will have a lot of agency over my own life.
What are your tricks for getting through less than ideal situations?
I suffer with perfectionism… big time. I am trying to write a book at present, and I keep stalling. I fear it will never get done, I fear it won’t be good enough. The thing is, if I don’t start, the first will be true, and I’ll never learn how to bring a book from idea to conception.
The fact is, starting is learning. Making mistakes is learning. I have the feeling I will have to keep telling myself that, but I’m sort of excited now I know I’m allowed to make mistakes.
Otherwise known as loving-kindness meditation, meta meditation increases empathy and compassion for the world around you. As a practice it comes from the Buddhist tradition, though you need not be Buddhist, or even religious, to benefit from the meditation.
To do it, all you need is a quiet spot and either good intentions or the wish to have good intentions.
Settle yourself into a comfortable position. Sitting with good posture is advisable, either on the floor or on a chair, though if you have knee troubles or other complications, lying down is absolutely fine.
Once you are settled, you do the meditation in three stages.
You say ‘May I be happy.’ Repeat that phrase 10 times, taking as long as you need.
You think of someone you know and love, saying ‘May [insert name] be happy.’ Repeat this 10 times, again taking as much time as you need.
Say ‘May all living creatures be happy,’ 10 times.
Practice when you need to – it has scope to transform your life; to add joyfulness and deeper understanding.
The view as life slows down is pretty spectacular.
I am seeing different possibilities in the way I act, for example, the more I meditate.
I also feel less of the grip of social media. I rarely post on facebook now, and so it is not on my radar very much. It is very liberating. It feels like my world has somehow expanded; I notice more of the world around me; the little things; the big things. And because I meditate, I see things more equanimously; they are what they are.
Giving up stress, focusing on what is healthy, shaping my life around me; this journey has been a treat… and it is only just beginning.
It’s a tricky question. Surely when we embark on a healing journey, we think we are trying to reach an end goal; we think there is a point at which we will be ‘healed’. But what on earth does that look like?
We will always be a mix of traits. We will never be perfect – and what on earth ‘perfect’ looks like I can’t imagine – our quirks make us who we are after all.
Being on a healing journey is not necessarily a bad thing however; since the time I found Buddhism at 23, I have learnt my truth, learnt to dramatically reduce my MS relapses, lost my anxiety, become social and outgoing, and even now I am learning to fall asleep more peacefully – the stresses of the day being put to one side.
Healing journeys, if we are to embark on them at all, take us in small steps towards the life that we want; a life we are proud of. So, I think they are a good thing, and I am so glad I have been on one for many years.
Just remember, you are perfectly imperfect, and I hope that learning to accept that, will be part of your healing journey too.
Mindfulness has been used to help treat mental and physical disorders in the West for the past 30 years or so. It can help with pain management, low immune efficiency, addiction, depression, anxiety and stress.
In a nutshell, it is a way of experiencing life in the moment, rather than in your head. Of accepting life as it is rather than avoiding it with thoughts and self told stories about the way things are.
If you suffer with any of the above afflictions, look up MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) and MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction) as therapies.
I have been silent for a good month or so, and that is because I have been moving house.
What an experience!
I’m a firm believer that every new time in your life brings new opportunities to grow, and at this hectic time it is more important than ever to focus mindfulness, self-care and kindness towards myself and others.
Today’s task is to listen to my negative inner voice and say to it that it’s not right. Then tell myself the positive truth.