For many, November has become the month to release the hairy beast that is the moustache. Queue ‘Movember’.
Following in short succession is ‘Decembeard’ where, you guessed it, the participant men folk can reenact Mr Twit and delightfully extract a cornflake (or should that now be a Kale flake?) from his newly unleashed beard. Great for the charities who often benefit from money raised, but much to the chagrin of many a partner and, of course, Gillette.
The pun on a month’s name then evolved onto ‘Veganuary’ and of course ‘Dry January’. The latter of the two saw a shift from participants signing up for a charitable cause or to raise awareness, to one that consciously invests in oneself for the month. By abstaining from alcohol in January after the indulgence of Christmas, we not only allow our bank balance to replenish, but also our liver to reset and rejuvenate.
Continuing along the theme of dedicating a month to ‘oneself’, we bring to you Mindfulness March.
Once a week, we will publish mindful tips with the aim of unveiling the many benefits that come from mindful practice. In this busy world with escalating levels of stress, anxiety and lack of equilibrium in work/life balance, there needs to be a shift in a broad level consciousness that reconnects us with our innate ability to self soothe and weather all storms.
So what IS mindfulness? It has become a bit of a buzzword of late and is perhaps dangerously teetering on the edge of falling into the same fad box as quinoa (don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against quinoa aside from it’s base line complete lack of flavour) but, as with quinoa, do people really know it’s value? Do people REALLY know the cerebral nutritional value of mindfulness?
It’s Monday morning and your alarm is going off. Without even being physically aware, you reach for the snooze button whilst attempting to focus your eyes on the digitally displayed time. UURGH. You immediately slip back into sleep until seven minutes later when the alarm once again snaps you out of the unfinished dream. Press snooze for second time. Third time round you register that you do in fact have to wake up so you reach for your phone.
You get out of bed, unaware of an already reduced opinion of self, and put the kettle on before heading to the bathroom. Finish in bathroom then go to put kettle on and realise that kettle is already on and “Oooh, don’t remember doing that….”.
After getting dressed, you have five minutes left before leaving for university/work to scoff down some cereal or toast and when you’ve finished it, you realise that you have absolutely no idea what that breakfast tasted like – how cold it was, how warm it was or even if the milk was slightly off.
You make it to the train station and then wonder if you locked the back door, or even the front door for that matter. The train pulls into the platform and out comes your phone again – queue Google search of ‘next UK Marathon’.
Does any of that sounds familiar to you? I would be surprised if it didn’t, because in modern society, our brain has evolved to predominantly work in autopilot mode. We have such increased responsibilities and commitments in comparison to our flint-slinging, significantly more hairy cave dwelling ancestors (prehistoric Movember?), and our long evolving grey matter has learnt how to multitask to cope accordingly.
This is particularly apt for students, law and non-law, and lawyers, whose workload tends to be all-encompassing when it comes to focus and time.
Whilst this can make us have a broader overview of the multiple ‘to do’ lists in our life, does it actually help us to enjoy each of those moments? Do we truly experience our world around us? Is our mind capable of finding calm and clarity in situations and provocations that can at present, incite in us behaviours and words that we later regret?
The answer is yes. Give it some time and lots of practice, and you will find that without question, mindfulness will help you experience your life to its fullest. Accepting life with all of it’s complexity, experiencing it without judgement, and embracing all learnings that come from its hardships – after all, I have never met a strong person who has had an easy past.
Published: 05/03/18 Author: Liz Davies, Founder of Phoenix Reiki
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