Mindfulness changes your outlook on life.
Adjusting to lockdown
None of us ever imagined that we would be living in lockdown for months.
If we had known it was coming we would have been absolutely beside ourselves with worry.
As it turns out, its funny how much of my day feels absolutely normal, and how easy it was to adjust to new living and working patterns. And its strange how much of this experience feels absolutely ordinary. The same ingredients, just different proportions. Still waking up and going to sleep at home. Still cooking, still watching Netflix, still ordering stuff on Amazon.
The hardest part was the first few weeks, getting used to working from home and pretending to my clients and work colleagues that I could just get on with things and stuff would still get done just as quickly. Pretending. Lots of pretending and getting frustrated.
In fact I was getting frustrated with lots of learning curves, clients contacting me all at the same time, and getting eye strain from too much screen time. Frustrated at all my life plans which were suddenly on indefinite hold.
So much of the time, we are here but desperate to be somewhere else, doing something else, being someone else. So many complex realities we can imagine in exquisite detail. Why do we want our lives to be true to these constructed realities? Why are the constructed realities so real to us?
A symptom of our modern age? Not really. People started writing about this phenomenon around 500 BC. In Ancient Rome, Greece, India and China people worried about all sorts of things. In the Bible it says "Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?"
Uncertainty leads to insecurity. Knowing the path ahead is better than being lost. But our brains trick us into believing that it is better to imagine the immediate future than to let it unfold. It somehow feels safer. But then the real world feels hollow and disappointing compared to the imagined, expected, constructed worlds.
We live in our minds and we feel lost, disconnected from the tingling experiences of our senses. So we tell ourselves that if we can do this and that, if we can achieve this and that, if we can be this and that, we will be deserving of praise, of love, of kindness. And by being praised, loved and cherished we will feel grounded, anchored, connected. And yet our inner critic can blind us to the love and kindness all around us.
Arriving where we are
When we arrive where we are, we are still carrying the burden of our expectations, our constructed realities, and our unmet needs. More mismatch and confusion. We have lost sight of the fact that we are already here, and here is somewhere.
A great mindfulness teacher said: "Wherever you go, there you are"
"Wherever you go, there you are", let that sink in.
We are the sum total of our experiences, but we are more than that too.
When we arrive, we have arrived. The baggage is irrelevant.
And we are always arriving, in the present moment, every day. We just need to notice.
"Wherever you go, there you are"