MBSR: Day 3 of Mindfulness

It’s day three and I’m already fed up and ready to give up on this experiment.

When I step back from that statement, I can see how silly it is. But the urge is still there. Like when you’re holding a plank and your arms start to shake and your brain says “Collapse! Give up!” but you also know that you have 30 seconds left in you once the shaking starts. That urge to collapse is strong.

Mindfulness is hard for me because of judgment and fixing. When done perfectly, it’s supposed to be judgment-free and just in the moment. But instead, I’m constantly judging myself on whether I’m being mindful or not. Also, I have this idea that mindfulness is the insta-fix to all of my body tension and mental problems. That I won’t rely on my coping mechanisms anymore. That I won’t binge eat. That I won’t disassociate. That I will work harder. If I can just be more mindful I can conquer anything, right?

But that’s not the way this works. I need to realize that the BFF and necessary companion of mindfulness is acceptance. Loving mindfulness. Accepting mindfulness. To witness what is happening and to allow it to happen and to love yourself in spite of, no, because of it.

So I am going to press on. This is a lifelong study, and to rewire my neural pathways is going to take time. I’m interpreting mindfulness currently through the well-worn pathways I’ve trod over a lifetime: achievement, fixing, being goal-driven, and judgment. But that’s not what this is about. I don’t really have pathways for just ‘being’ or for ‘acceptance’ or for ‘self-love’.

So just like in meditation, when I notice my thoughts converging on judgment or fixing, I will gently redirect them to self-love and acceptance instead. Perhaps if I do this enough, I will eventually see real change. But if and when it happens, it’s going to come from within. Not from the executive functioner in my head brow-beating me into doing it. It’s going to come from a place where it finally feels right.

It is far too early to give up on this.

 

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