Saturday, 3 December 2011

Mindfulness In Action

Remember when you were a kid, and you got a new toy for Christmas or a birthday, and the whole world of time stopped while you played and became totally engrossed in the process of discovering how it worked and what you could do with it? Well, after my not-so-successful attempt to PARTICIPATE in a mindful eating exercise earlier today, I remembered how I used to get so involved in arts and crafts that time would slip away before I knew it. 

Until recently my ability to concentrate on a hobby or on anything much was zero-to-none. And while I was acutely unwell I simply just did not see the point in trying. But I slowly built up my tolerance and frustration since those lonely fives months in hospital and began to partake in activities which tested my concentration. Most notably reading and writing, but art is also one of them. 

I dislike doing things I am not very good at, and oftentimes I will not do something at all if it will only turn out mediocre. My judgments of myself get in the way. Therefore I was surprised to find out this evening, that I really enjoyed drawing this picture, so-much-so that I found myself lost in time for a little while. I was PARTICIPATING. I was so fully engaged in 'the flow' of drawing, that 20mins were happily spent mindfully attending to each stoke of the pencil on the smooth paper. I had to make a choice as to which color to use and where to put a mark on the page. 

For 20 mins I wasn't annoyed by unpleasant thoughts. Of worries about the future, or flashbacks from less happy times. I wasn't afraid of the food slowly digesting in my stomach or planning ways to rid my body of the calories. I was simply present in the moment, participating and acutely aware of how I was doing it.

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