I hope you all had a productive and wonderful week! I am now on Day 6 of my Mindfulness Challenge and it has been a STRUGGLE. I had so many things on my plate this week – working a temp job, my part-time writing gig, freelance work, church obilgations, kids’ activities, and recording The Nostalgia Mixtape (it’s my throwback podcast that you should really check out lol).
My kids have been particularly snippy with each other (patience is truly a virtue in my house) and I have been running off less sleep than normal. And did I mention that my youngest daughter just came out of her leg cast and can barely walk? Yeah, my life is really wild right now.
I kept slipping back into my old habits of so-called de-stressing aka scrolling my phone in bed late at night and constantly running through my to-do list so I wouldn’t “forget it.” The social media scrolling only added to my anxiety because there are so many awful things in the news right now and I saw one too many tweets that offended me as a Black woman.
And, obsessing over my to-do list and emails only chips away at moments when I should simply be tuned into my current task. I write down my list, so there’s no logical reason for me to constantly run it in my head.
But, I give myself A LOT of credit for being more aware of my slip-ups and doing my best to get back on track as quickly as possible. A major part of mindfulness is recognizing when you aren’t engaged and making necessary adjustments. So, this means that the challenge is increasing my overall awareness.
So, what do I expect to get out of this experience? As I stated in a previous post, I have a list of things that I want to change and I do see improvement in 3/5 of them so far. It’s a process y’all! And, I think those changes will lead to these results:
- Learn how to be a better/more active listener
This ties direct in with being present, particularly with my nuclear family. When I walk my daughter to the bus stop, I have kept my phone in my back pocket so we can have meaningful conversations. I also take more time to talk with my husband and remind him to put away his phone too so we both feel like we are being acknowledged and respected.
Ultimately, I want to extend this far beyond my family and learn the art of truly listening with my colleagues, friends, and anyone else that I interact with on a daily basis. Because let’s face it, most of us are terrible listeners. We spend more time crafting our response or thinking about what we want to interject into a conversation than actually listening to the other person.
When we do this, we aren’t being mindful of their words nor are we tuned into the present moment. So, my goal is to listen well so I can craft better responses (when needed) and learn more through being observant.
- Stop missing those seemingly mundane moments in my life
A walk down the street. A hot shower before bed. Chopping vegetables. Looking out the window. There are so many small moments that we take for granted and those small moments culminate to large chunks of our lives. Unless you are rich and famous, most of your days are not filled with excitement and travel. It’s a cycle of adulting obligations and extracurricular activities that all seem to mesh together when we are almost constantly on-the-go and perpetually exhausted.
But, if we only live for and find enjoyment in the big moments like vacation and events, then we are spending most of our lives looking for the next big things. If we want a more fulfilled life, then we have to find joy in the daily moments. And, we can’t do that if we are always focused on the future. I don’t want to keep taking the small moments for granted anymore because they are the things that really make a beautiful life.
- Gain a more positive perspective on my life
I’m great at motivating and uplifting everyone except myself. One of my core wounds is my penchant for dismissing my accomplishments and feeling small when I see others light shining. I’m always happy to see friends and acquaintances win, but there is always a part of me wondering why great things and opportunities don’t happen for me.
It quickly turns into a dragging session where I tell myself that I am a massive failure and everyone else around me is more successful because they have certain clips, bylines, titles, salaries, etc.
It’s a dangerous cycle because I have had issues with depression and suicide most of my life. This has to stop. I want this mindfulness journey to teach me how to focus on my life and bask in the things that make it wonderful. I want to take time to celebrate my wins and redirect my thoughts in a more positive direction when things don’t go my way.
I want to spend less time reliving mistakes from the past because it’s over and I can’t do anything except let it go. And, I’m hoping that loving my present more will give me more hope for a healthier future.
- More peace, clarity, and focus on my goals
Peace, clarity, and focus are my personal keys to success. I have to make peace with the fact that my journey will not present like anyone else’s path. I have to find peace and thankfulness in what I have so I can be more aptly prepared for increase in any area of my life.
I can’t do this without clarity about what I want personally and professionally and it won’t happen if I am not zeroed in on my goals. Mindfulness is a practice of finding peace in daily life, providing clarity by removing constant mental clutter of past/future thoughts, and focusing on the present to foster more discipline and control over certain aspects of my life.
It’s a learned skill and I am taking time each day to become better at these practices.
What do YOU think a mindfulness challenge could do for your life? Let me know.
I look forward to updating you in a few days and sharing some of the tools I am using during my journey. And, happy Walking Dead and Doctor Who weekend to my fellow fans 🙂