It’s the buzz word right now.
And for good reason…it offers a plethora of proven benefits for our minds and bodies.
And as a Mindfulness educator myself I am all for it.
When it comes to releasing trauma (stored emotion/energy in our bodies and minds), another ingredient is often required.
And we all have some degree of trauma…even the smallest upsets as child get lodged in our body tissue and psyches…and they stay there buried down deep in the dark where they can’t be touched until they have a chance for liberation…and mindfulness often IS that very invitation for liberation!
The very nature of being mindful means our awareness of our current experience increases. The issue is, if there’s stuff we haven’t processed fully, our ‘current’ experience isn’t always the ‘here and now moment’.
Instead, it’s an individual reality composed of ‘past’ stories, patterns and ways of perceiving the world that may not be so helpful for us. Or our ‘current experience’ may also be a blend of ‘future’ worries, anxieties or concerns based on an effort to avoid repeating past experiences. In either case (and usefully it’s a lovely blend of both- yippee!-), Mindfulness can then become not only difficult and uncomfortable- but Just. Not. Doable! for a lot of us, at least some of the time.
I was reminded of this problem (…and it’s inevitable solution!) by a recent article I read by Anna O’kaolin entitled, ‘Mindfulness: When Not to Use It’, read it here
It spoke to me on every level. Not least of all on a practical, everyday commonsense level.
Like when I work with people in Wellbeing Sessions, most often the most effective emotional releases and perspective shifts happen in outdoor sessions- when we are on the move, allowing the body to move when it needs to and how it needs to. I’ve always intuitively known this is the way to go as our bodies aren’t meant to remain stationary, especially when we’re releasing lots of emotion- which wellbeing sessions of any kind can initiate.
It’s why we often move through more ground and come up with more creative solutions when we ‘walk and talk’, rather than sit down and try to solve a problem.
Often, the practice of Mindfulness is presented as, or practiced in, a way that does not allow for the release of emotional energy that naturally arises when we bring our awareness to our thoughts. Sure, if we are a Zen master or Buddhist Monk we may be able to remain still and stationary amidst a torrent of emotional turmoil and old memories bursting up out of our subconscious into our conscious mind, but, if you’re anything like me- a ordinary human who’s constantly discovering deeper layers of my life experience calling for release in the form of habitual emotional responses, strong body sensations or unexplainably strong reactions to people, places or events, then when another page of your story of life comes up for review (and hopefully release!) then you’re natural (and GOOD) reaction is to run!
So, if we acknowledge this reaction to physically move in reaction to emotions bubbling up, especially in our mindfulness practice, then we can begin to work WITH it, rather than AGAINST it.
What if we didn’t sit still?
What if we didn’t run away from the sensation, or feeling, or memory or image….but ran WITH it instead.
Moved with it.
What if we allow ourselves to crawl, collapse, stretch, curl up and really viscerally FEEL the feeling that’s arising, as we listen to, trust, allow for and follow our body as it naturally un-winds old ‘stories’ of experience from deep within it’s tissues and re-tells them in a more coherent, real way, allowing us to now respond to life consciously, rather than continue to react from unconsciousness.
I find that when I infuse Mindfulness with ‘ME’…Ie. my truth in any moment- whether that’s the need to move in weird ways mindfully, eat mindfully, cry mindfully, laugh mindfully, make love mindfully, say no mindfully, say yes mindfully, not know mindfully, run as fast as I can mindfully and then stop suddenly in my tracks not knowing why mindfully- I’m fully EMBODYING mindfulness.
It’s then that my practice becomes PLAY.
And it is actually EASIER, more ENJOYABLE and deeply LIBERATING. It’s like I know what I’m doing is right, even though I don’t really know what I’m doing. How? By how I feel in my body- spacious, peaceful, alive, connected….ME again.
Mindfulness Practice evolves into Mindful Living.
And a mindful life isn’t always one that’s sitting silently serene with legs crossed, eyes closed and a look of calm serenity.
It’s whatever it is, wherever you are, however you’re feeling…just as long as YOU are there with your expierence- YOU the human- the one who listens to your body, trusts it, follows it…without the conditioned patriarchal need to understand or fix things…but instead the red hot and holy feminine desire to fully embody and experience whatever is coming up for you RIGHT NOW- because nothing is too much for your deep and brave listening.
And true listening, a pre-requisite for a fully embodied mindful life- is about being silent in your mind– not your body.
So I invite you to, next time you sit for your mindfulness practice, stand instead.
Swim, ride, speak with it instead. Share mindfulness in your own unique way, silencing your thinking mind but not turning down and definitely not turning off your instrument of expression- your body.
Bring YOU back into the heart of your Mindfulness practice.
Do it YOUR way. Make it beaUtiFULL again, and move firmly onto the fast-track lane to delicious wholeness, in the way that only you know how to.
Practice may not make perfect, but you are, so bring yourself into your practice and watch it bloom in fulfilling and creative ways that allow you to be mindful WHILE releasing the layers underneath that hold the solutions that you seek.
Oh, and don’t forget to breeeeeeeaaaaathh-).