It’s Thursday and time to check in on my Playful Self-Discipline Project! This month I’m writing about Mindfulness, and the past two weeks I focused on my experiences beginning a mindfulness meditation practice, and curbing my habit of multitasking. This week I’m looking at how an awareness of mindfulness translates into my everyday life.
These past few weeks of focusing on mindfulness have been really interesting. I am in the midst of absorbing as much information and experience of mindfulness as I can these days, and I’m discovering new blogs and books and writers and delving into my own experience. It’s all still very new and raw and undigested though, and I’m finding it a real challenge to write in a meaningful way about what I’m learning without feeling like I’m regurgitating the books and blogs that I’ve read. I’m giving it my best shot anyway.
Mindfulness feels like a tool I can really use to get in touch with my life. I feel like I could spend the whole rest of my year of Playful Self-Discipline focused on mindfulness and make good progress towards my goals. In fact, I could probably spend the next 10 or 20 years learning about mindfulness and putting it into practice without coming to the end of things I could learn about. I think this is a good thing.
Sticking to a daily mindfulness meditation practice has been a challenge, and I probably manage to sit for 15 minutes every other morning. There’s definitely room for improvement there, but I’m not beating myself up over it. What has been more interesting is how the effects of those short meditation sessions are carrying over into my awareness of everyday life.
I’ve noticed that the times I want to get on the computer and surf while taking care of my children, cooking dinner, or instead of doing more productive work are most often times that I’m feeling restless, impatient, upset, tired, sad, or frustrated. Multitasking or internet addiction itself isn’t the problem, distracting myself from my discomfort is.
Our need for some noisy, physical jumping-up-and-down play in every single day has become more apparent. I can’t say for sure whether it’s the mindfulness that’s helped me become more aware of that, but I’m taking this realization as an excuse to jump on the playful exercise bandwagon again. I’m planning more outings for the swimming pool, taking the kids on long walks and getting out to the playground, even if it’s raining. It’s been good, although we have certainly been rained on a lot.
Reading about mindfulness feels like discovering something I’ve always known but had forgotten. Little bits and pieces of things I’ve learned in the past are fitting together like puzzle pieces. Equanimity and non-judging acceptance sound exactly like Byron Katie’s Work, which I came across while taking a University course five years ago. We did The Work once or twice as part of a class assignment, and it was revolutionary to discover that many of my judgments of others were projections of my own self-criticism. Byron Katie’s tagline, “Loving What Is,” sounds like something a mindful Buddhist would agree with.
Here are some of the resources I’ve been reading over the past few weeks:
Wherever You Go There You Are – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children – Sarah Napthali
Mama-Om’s Practicing Peace Series
The Essential Parenting Home Course (Generously given to me to review by Chris White. You can download Week 1 of the course for free at Essential Parenting.)
I’m very much open to suggestions of more resources. I’m also very interested in hearing about how others came to practice mindfulness, either as a formal meditation practice or an everyday habit. Have you studied mindfulness? How did you learn how to be mindful?
Also, next Thursday is the link-up! Come link up a post you’ve written on playfulness, mindfulness, meditation, multitasking, or anything else you’re taking a playfully self-disciplined approach with.