Mindfulness can become an important part of your life if you let it. It can be freeing, and eye-opening, it can allow you to deal with emotions and pain in the moment. It also takes a lot of practice to learn. I have been practicing mindfulness for a few years now, and it has finally really felt like it’s working… well, not working so much as me being able to really practice it intentionally, deeply, and when I need to.
Spike’s meditative practices.
I find that music, particularly classical, but really any music can be an amazing gateway to practice mindfulness. Just listening to every note, every beat, every instrument or voice, and not worrying about anything else can be the path to expressing emotion I didn’t know was there. I was at the symphony the other day, listening to the music of John Williams. I immersed myself into the performance, feeling the urge to cry when the music reminded me of my favourite movie moments, or very sorrowful scenes.
Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) warming up.
Today I did a guided mindful walk. I listened to the sounds around me, paid attention to the impact of my feet on the ground, and the wind blowing across my face. I took in the smells and sights of the city, and paid little attention to anything else for 10 minutes. Though it didn’t stir up emotions, it allowed me to practice paying purposeful attention to my surroundings, something we often take for granted when walking.
Lastly, I have in the past week used mindfulness with some of my chronic pain. I have had a pain in my left thigh for about a month. My naturopath thinks it might be the nerve, though I will also be touching base with my rheumatologist this week. The pain doesn’t really go away, so a few times when it’s been particularly bad, I’ve paid mindful attention to it. The first time I did this was a day where I found myself in a grumpy mood. I knew the mood was probably because of the pain, because grumpy is definitely not my default (I’m more of a happy-go-lucky type of gal). I spent a few minutes paying attention to my leg pain (as I did again later in the week). While the focus can initially make the pain seem worse, it did improve my mood because I was able to let go of the emotions surrounding the pain, and just be.
Image from: https://creakyjoints.org/alternative-medicine/meditation-for-chronic-pain-what-its-like/
If you don’t currently practice mindfulness, I suggest checking it out. It’s not for everyone but many people have found great benefits from it for both physical and mental health symptoms. Happy International Women’s Day to all my fellow ladies out there!