8. How mindfulness is transforming my life

Here I am six weeks into my sabbatical and I am so for ever greatfull that I made the decision to take a long period off work.

Early on I joined a five day mindfulness retreat. This really opened my eyes again on how living in the now and decluttering my thoughts raised my awareness tremendously. Next to the meditation, yoga and mindfulness sessions the afternoons gave me a chance to explore the beautiful nature area. I noticed that during the first day I enjoyed being outside and went for a nice walk. The fresh air was pleasant and stroling through the wetlands gave me a sense of calmth. Though it being in the fall I noticed thee different kinds of flowers. But in the subsequent days my senses started to open up and feel amplified. I noticed how the birds made different sounds and that the light would chance by the time of day and the weather. Really seeing the plants I noticed many different kinds of flowers and was in awe about all the different colors of green. During the meals we were also in silence which helped me focus completely on the food, tasting all the flavours and textures, taking half an hour to finish my plate. How often had I eaten my food and not really tasted it? Over the years I had become the master of fast eating.

You can imagine this was a really great (re)start into my mindfulness journey. Why did I ever unlearn to enjoy life in this way? Let’s talk about that in a future post!

Being back at I started thinking about what had felt so good. Especially the meditation and yoga in the morning felt like giving me such a refreshing start of the day. Now every morning I practice at least a half hour of meditation and a half hour of yoga. When there is more time I extend my meditation sitting or do a second one. My teenagers are fully supportive no matter whether I do it in the living room or in my room. It is important for me to be there for them and with their varying time tables it has taken some getting used to, to find the right rhythem.

I started practicing piano. Having played wood wind in the past I can read the score, at least the upper part of it. But the left hand score I needed to constantly translate. I could not make it work to play a different melody with both hands. One day at the and of a meditation session I just tried to do it in my head. Without the hands. It was so clear to me now how the pieces fitted together. The practise on the piano requires my full focus and I enjoy any minute of it.

During the retreat I read a few sections of The power of Now – by Eckhart Tolle. The words that struck me most and really are starting to get meaning for me are: “the only place where real change is possible and where you can resolve the past, is the now”. And closely related to that “all problems are illusions of the mind. A situation needs to be either dealt with or accepted. Why make it into a problem?” Quotes like this really help me to raise my awareness and examen my behaviour and my thoughts. What assumptions am I making? Why did I behave in a certain way? I started several therapy session which also helped me to have someone hold up the mirror to me. She was quite strict when I started to intermingle situations and thoughts, being clear they are in reality not connected. This was the beginning of untangling and resolving those nagging thoughts. It gave me the resolve and calmth observe each of those worries and really look at how I felt about it, so I could let go. There is still much in this space, but at least it is not intertwined anymore and therefor seems much easier to handle.

What I do notice now, living a lot more mindful, is that I do much less multitasking. And to be honest as I focus on one think I am not able even to do it. It is datisfying to finish one thing before I start the next and it also means that I get better and better to have focus time woth the children again, which is especially rewarding.

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