If you’re anything like me, all this talk (in this blog and abroad) about being mindful, meditating and being present probably sounds like a fairytale solution to your real world problems. Maybe you’ve tried meditating before and could never quite get the hang of it. Maybe you’ve dealt with difficult emotions like depression or anxiety and haven’t been able to find a way to cope. Or maybe you’re someone who hasn’t necessarily felt a need to do anything different than what you’re currently doing in life and things have typically worked out for you. In total transparency, I have been each of of these people at one point in my life. As a matter of fact on numerous occasions I have informed health practitioners that meditation just isn’t for me (contrary to their professional prognosis.) So how did I get from my former stance of being a complete skeptic to someone who wholeheartedly prescribes to the practice of being mindful and all of its benefits?
The answer is actually quite simple. For the majority of my life I lived without an effective tool to help me manage the inevitable ebbs and flows of life. After experiencing some surprise emotional stumbling blocks which I came to understand as anxiety, I realized that my current way of dealing with things (bootstrapping or white knuckling as some would call it) were not sustainable ways to live a balanced life. After some vulnerable conversations and honest inner dialogues I began to look for ways cultivate more sanity. Some of these methods included reading, writing, meditating, walks in nature and the most useful method in my opinion, therapy (more on this later).
Although each of these outlets has played a part in my journey, and I could write a college essay on my experiences with therapy, I will say that the overall lesson learned was not only that I needed to learn more about myself so that I could better utilize “self-care” but also, I needed to educate myself on how our most useful tool (the mind) works.
My friend, I would like to encourage you to go on this journey for yourself. I have found, as many others have, that in order to get the most out of life it is important to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Additionally, you don’t have to be completely sold on whether or not this will work or even fully understand all there is to know about mindfulness. It it completely acceptable to proceed feeling however you feel. (As such, here is a video of me “hiking” which is something I would have never considered doing . However, after sending many texts complaining about how terrible the experience would be I can honestly say this was one of the best experiences of my life.) I believe the phrase goes “don’t knock it until you’ve try it.” And even then, for those things that can ultimately change your life, try harder. Remembering to be mindful has been one of if not the most game changing experience I have ever had in my quest to a more balanced life. And I hope you will give it a try. Plus, if all else fails, you can always check off meditation from your bucket list (I’m not the only one who had that on there right?)