My Mindfulness course started tonight – that’s where I’ve been. That’s why I’m eating my dinner cold at ten past ten at night instead of tucked up in bed doing my 2 min mindfulness exercise. Kindly, with curiosity and a lack of judgement.
Did it all go well you ask? Why yes, eventually.
I was late. That’s right. Late to my first class with a bunch of strangers. Let’s just say – in mindfulness speak – that my brain was in RED mode all the fucking way there. I had been at the opening of a former students Masters degree work, a beautiful, thoughtful moving image work that really was a credit to her hard work and commitment. Because her piece involved a lot of buy in and documentation of her immediate community – and a lot of them were there – the speeches went for much longer than I anticipated. Where I was worried that I was going to have to kill time between the opening and my course – instead I found myself slinking out of Deane’s show in the middle of quiet time, and then hurtling down K’rd as fast as I could – shoving drag queens and dawdling students out of the way in my panic.
I threw myself in my car, and shot out of the school carpark – nearly knocking over half of the Samoan group who were there for their Fia fia night in my haste. I plugged the address in to my phone, slapped in on the sweaty part of my thigh so it didn’t fall off and threw myself on to the motorway. Only to be stopped immediately by the longest line of red lights going off in to the distance.
I turned the air blue with swearing, panicked and started talking to myself. I rang the woman running the course, explained the issue and apologised profusely. She very calmly and peacefully told me to take care and get there when I could. Every red light brought on more swearing. I swerved in and out of traffic like a mad woman. I told myself to calm down and hurry the fuck up alternately and then I finally got there half an hour late.
I drove down the driveway, my car headlights lighting up the room where I could see everybody sitting in a circle doing the mindfulness thing. I contemplated staying in the car – or backing straight up the driveway – but I grew some and got out of the car and, very embarrased, slid sideways in to the room.
It was good. We mostly talked about the plasticity of the brain and the different ‘brain states’ that we exist in; Red = Bad, Orange = Ok but can be Bad and Green = Good, very Good. We had to talk with our partner (mine, conveniently was my friend Ildi, who had I must say, found me arriving late hilarious) about where we sit most of the time in terms of brain states and think about the impact that was having. We came to the conclusion that our families get to see the most in Orange and Red. Which isn’t very fair. Why we save our ‘Green’ selves for work is relatively simple – we don’t want anyone to see us out of control or looking stressed – but our families of course have to love us anyway so they see everything.
And what to do about that? Mindfulness. Re-training the brain. Finding new pathways. Reacting in different ways in order to foster calm and contented-ness. Working on those interactions with family in order for them to get that contented calm Mummy and partner they deserve. Bring it on!
We did some guided stuff where we focussed on being in the present. Frankly, I find this stuff awkward, and said as much when asked. I don’t do well at the ‘breathing’. I mean, obvs I breathe alright but the minute I’m told to take a deep breath I panic and usually do the opposite. Also sitting in a room of strangers with your eyes closed is quite unsettling. Or that might just be me. Paranoid much? ha.
So my homework is to take two minutes a day to notice my surroundings and my body in it. To do this from a place of Kindness, Curiosity and without Judgement. And to be kind to myself if I fail to do this. My plan is to do it in bed. By myself with no one there to laugh or ask me what the hell I am doing.
I guess we’ll see – this time in six weeks I might be the most zen bitch you know!