Hasn’t “mindfulness” become a ubiquitous buzzword? We have been urged from every quarter to focus our awareness on the present moment, to “live in the now”.
I found 2013 quite tough in many ways and struggled with a sadness and anxiousness that would not go away. With the help of some prescribed happy pills and a change of mindset, I overcame the most profound depths of these feelings. When I began this blog at the beginning of 2014, it was with the broad aim of “falling in love with life again“. The Husband, MY Husband, is the bedrock to my layer of loose material. During this year of self-reflection and community contribution, altered professional circumstances and the ever-evolving needs of my children, he has been endlessly supportive, patient, sage and sanguine.
I have blogged about many and varied topics within the forum of Marrickville Maman – fasting and food waste, Morris dancing and community spirit, watermelons and bacon, trackpants and cheese, bowling clubs and poor use of the English language … you can perhaps see why I find it difficult to answer the question, “What’s your blog about?” I have opened my mind, let go of expectations, and allowed inspiration to simply arrive, which I have found to be a mentally relaxing yet intellectually stimulating exercise.
2014 has been, for me, a year of doing “this and that”, but a LOT of it. I have volunteered through Marrickville Council’s Social Support Services, joined Marrickville Public School‘s highly energetic P&C, helped out in the canteen (Wil’s Canteen is the BEST!), helped look after the school veggie garden, managed Captain Chatterbox’s soccer team, done casual administrative and marketing work for two companies, ferried les enfants hither and thither to play dates and activities, survived a total renovation of our kitchen (thank you, William of Minimum Downtime), attempted to be a good mother and supportive wife to a very busy and successful man, not to mention the washing, cooking, cleaning, lunch-making, homework checking … oh, and seeing my beloved friends once in a while.
It has been a super-busy, super-fun, super-varied time.
And yet, of late, I have found my energy and zeal flagging. Contemplating this earlier in the week, I arrived at the astonishing conclusion that I had, perhaps, put a few too many irons in the fire. I realised that rather than the proactive approach I began this year with, I had reverted to my energy-sapping reactive approach of yore.
I no longer felt like the captain of my ship, but instead a lowly crew member, responding to orders.
Now, I am training myself to let go of the notion of being “in control”. To me, “control” implies that I have ultimate power over my life’s course of events. HA! I have decided, instead, to embrace the notion of being “in charge”. I can be in charge of the decisions and choices I make. I can be in charge of how I react, positively and negatively, to everything that life presents me with. I can be in charge of the framework of my life.
As such, I have decided that my life in 2015 will be a pared-down affair. I want to do just a few things, but well. I am taking charge.
And, what do you know, the universe has picked up on these vibes and presented me with a bang-on article* in the October edition of the most excellent UK publication, “Psychologies”, regarding mindfulness vs planning.
Mindfulness, it concurs, can be a wonderfully effective path to attaining a range of positive outcomes, such as a reduction in anxiety, a deeper appreciation of what one has, a renewed connection to the world and to existence. Yet, it contends, by focusing so completely on the present, we may forget to plan for our future. And look, if you’re okay with that, then cool. But I know that I love it when something I have planned comes together. I like the satisfaction of working towards something and the sense of accomplishment when I have achieved it.
I accept that “the future” can never be known, or even guaranteed, but I also know that, for me, unless I make certain decisions about things I want to have and experience in my life, and actually take action to make them happen, then all the mindfulness in the world won’t make a bit of difference. I want to be an active participant in and curator of my life, not just someone “sitting in the moment, watching it all going on around me”.*
“Most of us would agree that consistently showing up for our lives is no easy task, but a rewarding one.” **
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