Day 68: Mindfulness, Don’t Mind If I Do

If you’ve been reading along, then, you already know: I’m a resentful-ass-bitch who goes future trippin’ more than Baba Ram Dass dropped acid in ’68.

It’s insane how far outside the moment I can take myself.

Lost, dazed, and utterly confused. And, it truly is a moment to moment thing. One second, I’m back at my 25th birthday party, taking swigs out of a Jameson Irish whiskey bottle in the back of a yellow cab, the next, I’m taking deep, belly breaths, observing a tree on a nature walk with my treatment group, then, I’m suddenly 15 years in the future, cooking dinner for my nonexistent husband and family in the crock pot, beef bourguignon!

My one-on-one counselors in treatment find my time travel capabilities both humorous and worrisome. My big assignment is to really throw myself into this ‘mindfulness’ business. And, it’s all well and good, when you’re in a good mental space. But, it’s getting into the moment it when you’ve have hard emotions, like I had in last night’s post, that make stepping outside yourself pretty tough.

But, those moments of sheer emotional torture, that’s when having the ability to switch into mindfulness mode is going to save your day, maybe your life, and without a doubt, your sobriety.

Psychology Today defines Mindfulness as follows: Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.

Oh dang! So, I can’t judge myself or live in the past or freak out about the future?!?! What kind of lame party is this anyway? No booze and I have to be present in my modern day life? LAME.

But, in all seriousness, this mindfulness stuff, it’s actually pretty fantastic. I’ve been doing my absolute best, especially when I am down or stressed out, to bring myself into the moment. I observe the stupidest crap. As I’m getting my mind warmed up, I will literally say in my head. ‘There is a leaf. I am walking. That house is blue.’ And, mind you, I feel absolutely ridiculous reciting this crap to myself. But, eventually, I’m able to get out of the periphery of my mind and actually see where I’m at mentally, in that moment. And it become thoughts like, ‘I’m uncomfortable. I’m lonely. I’m angry as fuck.’ And, just touching base with those basic, visceral emotions and feelings somehow diffuses them, taking away their all-consuming power.

I find that, for me, mindfulness isn’t necessarily about being grateful for or even appreciating the moment I’m in, but, just being aware of where my head and heart are, in the present. So many times I’ll lose control of my emotional state and I won’t even know what emotion derailed me. I just get lost.

I’ll admit, It’s hard to get started. If I’m in a bad place, the last thing I want to do is take a step outside of myself and just observe, especially without criticism. But, here’s the jam people, when I am able to do it, it completely changes the moment. It allows me to see that, whatever it is I’m freaking out about, is nowhere near related the moment that I am actually in. It’s days, months, and more often that not, years away. And then, I realize it’s certainly not worth losing my shit over. Not this inconsequential moment dot in the space time continuum.

So, take a moment and join yourself in the moment. Heck, there’s a leaf, you’re walking, and there’s a fuckin’ blue house, it’s fucking fantastic!

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