I've been trying to live mindfully for almost two weeks now.
And Thursday, I almost got hit head-on by a bus.
So, you know, things have not been uneventful, exactly.
It's been an amazing experience and incredibly enlightening.
And kind of exhausting, really.
It turns out that this living mindfully stuff doesn't really come all that naturally to me. I'm having to work at it and sometimes I fall down. Sometimes I fall down in quite a spectacular way.
I've been doing this little daily devotions/meditations/mission/etc. at my new blog Listening for a Change. This is a wonderful exercise because I sit down in the few moments I have in the morning before my family gets up. I have time to search my heart and pinpoint where my anxiety is coming from.
Anxiety is pretty much a constant with me. I honestly did not know this.
The things I am anxious about range from ridiculous things so far outside of my control as to be ludicrous (global warming) and things like worrying that I have forgotten to brush my teeth. (50/50 chance.)
But when I slow down long enough to figure out what I'm feeling, I end up not stuffing those feelings with food. I've probably lost a few pounds (although I have hidden my scale because it is no longer acceptable for me to determine my self-worth by a number on a scale.) (Okay, okay, yes, I did weigh myself before I hid it. I'm EVOLVING--I didn't say I was all the way evolved.)
(As yet another aside--because how else would you know it was me --not ALL feelings take a while for me to recognize. Thursday, for example when the bus stopped millimeters before it slammed into my van head-on, I got to the point rather quickly. "Oh my GOSH, I don't want to die in QUEENS! Not on a bad hair day!")
The hardest thing for me is to stop multitasking all the time, especially when I am having a meal. I'm not very good at this and I have to remind myself to just eat one mouthful at a time, really tasting each one and listening for my body to tell me it's had enough. I'll be very honest and tell you that sometimes I'm finished just because I'm so bored. But if I was just eating and reading and surfing the net, I'd finish whatever is on my plate. Try it. Sit and eat a meal (by yourself--it's a lot easier if you have someone to talk to) without doing ANYTHING else.
Anyway, I've been working on this post for a week now. There's a lot of stuff going on in my life and I am honestly making a concerted effort to be fully present in the moment and to listen to the tiny voice inside of me that I can finally hear again. I hadn't even known it wasn't there. I'd been putting myself so far down the list of people I love and want to take care of that I just forgot to ever check in with myself.
In all honesty, I think this started when my foot would no longer carry me. I think I started to actively punish myself for being defective and I just continued. I drank too much for a while. I ate too much for a while. Anything to blunt the pain of dealing with a body that would no longer do what I asked of it.
I stopped exercising because I was in pain and I just never started again--not because I paid the price for exercising but because I pay the price for NOT. I love exercise --well, I love how it makes me feel anyway. I love to be active and feel strong. (I LOVE those endorphins.) But I think I decided that if I couldn't do the kind of running and walking I loved, I just wasn't going to do anything.
So, that's where I'm at right now --trying to just be a little kinder to myself, to slow down long enough to recognize my own feelings and to set some boundaries so I don't end up stressed and numb and miserable.
Y'all. I could be onto something.