I have completed several mindfulness courses and wanted to share how this has impacted on my daily self-care practice…
I decided to sign up for my latest course as I really wanted to be able to confidently use meditation skills with clients who are experiencing anxiety and panic. I didn’t know what to expect but the training had lots of good reviews.
Before we got started there were quite a few pre-requisites which asked us to do some reading and to start to think about why we wanted to take this training. I created a vision board for what I was hoping to achieve and how I was hoping this was going to help me. It became really interesting to look at how this was developing for me. I noticed that all of the reasons that I had on my board involved “doing for others”. So what did this mean? Honestly, I thought that I was doing this for others! I thought this was something that my clients would benefit from.
During the first week we were asked to start to incorporate a daily practice of sitting quietly while incorporating an awareness of our breathing. At first I struggled a little bit with this as I have been meditating for years and thought it was a bit “old skool” to go back to the beginning. Maybe even a little bit of a waste of time… How wrong I was!
I noticed that taking things back to basics really meant that I was more in the present moment than I had ever been before. I also noticed that I wasn’t allowing myself the time to “just be” as I felt like I needed to move on with it already. Where was this coming from? This was coming from a need to always “do for others” and I started to question this. So I decided to come at this with a whole new approach!
I decided to start to look at this from a “for me and for no other reason but self-awareness” approach. I threw myself into the breathing exercises and every time that my mind would wander back to feeling like I need to push or rush things, I would simply bring it back and be still and present.
After the first week I had learned so much about myself and my need to push myself too hard. This surprised me as I have had personal counselling before and have trained for four years to work with clients using a mixture of proven and successful therapeutic models. However I had never realised this fully within myself.
The adventure didn’t stop there!
Week two took us through body scan exercises and being present in everyday situations! I loved this and the benefit that it brought to my practice as a person, a mother and a therapist. I would take 5 minutes out in between clients to carry out a body scan and reconnect with my breath to bring me back to the present awareness. This helped to re-energize me, ground me and shake off any traumatic material that I may be carrying! The benefit of working on myself first offered benefits to my clients too. I was able to be more present with each client I sat with.
Weeks three and four invited us to start to create more long-term practice and incorporate this into our families daily routines. This was tricky at first. My son couldn’t last two minutes without wanting it to end. He made a sweeping statement that his “Aspergers meant that he can’t concentrate for long enough”. As mindfulness asks us to be compassionate and patient, I allowed him to make his own choices and let the need to have him involved go. I would however sit in his room daily while he was on his computer and do a quiet meditation while he laughed at how “crazy I looked”. After five days of doing this, he asked me to do it loudly so that he could hear what I was “thinking”. So I started to count down my breaths from ten and then would start that process again. Then I started to add a colour and asked him to pick the colour. He always chose green. I started to notice that he was breathing with me while I counted.
For me this was a win!
Now we are working together on increasing our daily practice and it feels great! I feel more connected, relaxed, energised and free than I did before. I am more alert and organised and feel content. I sleep better and my son also shares that he feels “less stressed” while gaming as he “breathes through frustration”.
This is massive! My son doesn’t leave the house and so he educates at home. He struggles with huge anxiety and panic attacks and he doesn’t like to feel out of control. Imagine if he could transfer the same skills that he uses to balance his emotions while gaming, to out there in the world around him?!
For now, I will work undercover like a “mindfulness ninja”….
So my journey began with wanting to learn how to incorporate mindfulness practice into my own practice as a counsellor. Doing this for others!
However, I learned that doing this for myself first, offered me a much more powerful way of offering mindfulness for others… THROUGH ME! It also offered me a way to connect with my sons often complex emotion regulation system!
What a journey so far!!