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Mindfulness and me (and you)

Mindfulness and meditation really matter to me.

I don’t pretend to be a meditation master. I know what I know and what I know works well for me and the people I support. Meditation is, like all the good things in life, a practice that takes time to develop and I’m very much still learning.

I’m writing this during the annual Meditation Month and I’ve got big feelings about it. I want to write you a love letter about meditation. I want to tell you what it means to me and why you might want to bring it into your life too.

Why does meditation matter to me so much that I want to publicly declare my love for it? Well, hand on heart, I can honestly tell you that if I hadn’t welcomed mindfulness meditation into my life, I wouldn’t be writing this to you now. I wouldn’t be a coach and I wouldn’t be feeling as grounded and fulfilled or living as well as I do.

I first tried mindfulness as a last resort. I was anxious and I felt like I was losing my mind. I was desperate really. I had a stressful job and my health was terrible. I wasn’t sleeping and I was angry, bitter, and reactive. Life was horrible and I felt like I was the problem. I was absolutely at my limit and was scared about what might happen to me if I didn’t find a way to deal with how I was feeling.

I tried talking about it, I tried massage, I tried asking for help with my workload, I tried long walks. I tried herbal supplements. I felt like I’d tried everything to slow down the race that was going on in my brain but there was no relief. Life was running away from me and there was nothing I could do to stop things spiralling out of control.

I’d heard about mindfulness meditation but how could someone like me sit for hours focusing on my breath? I couldn’t be with my racing thoughts for even a moment without feeling overwhelmed. No, thank you.

Then I saw a course being offered by a local mental health charity. An 8-week course in mindfulness-based stress reduction. Well, that did sound like me. I urgently needed to reduce stress and maybe if I was in a room with other people who felt like I did, that might be ok. Full of doubt and worry but lacking a better option, I signed up.

Those people and that meeting every week became my lifeline. Over those 8 weeks, I learned about automatic pilot, self-compassion, and checking in on my thoughts and how my body was feeling. I learnt how to savour and be present, how to find gratitude and notice joy. I learnt to let things be, to slow down, to allow and to let go. Those meetings changed my life.

I was asked to write down my hopes for the course and I still have what I wrote. Among the ramblings of a stressed and overwhelmed brain were the sentences:

“I want to feel peace and to stop feeling such awful anxiety.
I want some tools to help me overcome something that has been ruining my life”

Many years later, I still use those tools I learned nearly every day. They’ve become part of how I see the world and how I manage when life is difficult – and they help me to notice when life is sweet.

I use those meditation skills (and others I’ve picked up along the way) when I work with people in crisis or with those who feel stuck and unsure. We use them in a safe and practical way, just as I was shown all those years ago. Even though some of the practices seem simple, their impact is mighty.

If you’re curious about how I incorporate mindfulness into coaching and how it can help you to move forwards, I warmly invite you to book a free 30-minute call. Click here to book an appointment today.

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