Mindfulness & Me

After a quick Google, I found this definition: Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.

I know that strictly speaking, the practice of mindfulness focuses on the present, but it is my belief that it is also healthy to recognise our regrets over our past as well as our fears about our future. For me, it is only by doing this, that I can be at peace in the present.

A major aspect of my life that I’ve been trying to change these past few months is exactly that. My relationship with my emotions was at an unhealthy stage. Slowly, but surely, I’m starting to improve it. It is important to not hide from our emotions, but to embrace them, understand them and learn from them. All too often I used to lock my thoughts away, trying to hide them from view, but sometimes you have to meet the devil in order to learn his name.

And on that point I’ve decided to introduce a little something new to this blog. I have been inspired by some fantastic bloggers who give their readers an opportunity to share their own stories.

A few months ago Jade got in touch and asked if I’d like to share my story on her blog. Jade was organising a project, Letters to the Mind, where bloggers could write a letter or a poem directly to their illness. You can find my contribution here. It has helped me greatly over the proceeding months. Jade has given me a means of viewing my illness as separate to myself. It can be all too easy to lose a distinction between our true self and the way illness makes us feel, but Jade has helped me so much with that, and I shall always be grateful to her.

Gabriela, likewise got in touch with me a few months ago, but it took me much longer to reply. Gabriela is currently running a Silently Pained Series another opportunity for us to share our stories and help others who suffer with similar struggles. She has provided me with much support over recent weeks.

Whilst I am yet to contribute to Cassie’s Illness Army, I have been inspired by her courage and commitment to share others stories about their battles with invisible illnesses. She has given a voice to so many people who are weighed down by their own illnesses.

I have named only three, but I could have mentioned many more. If you have some time this week, it’d be great if you’d look over their projects – I’ve included some links – perhaps you might even be inspired to contribute. Or who knows, maybe even start your own!

It took me a while to develop something that I thought could be constructive both in your recovery as well as for the other readers, but here we go…

The project is called Mindfulness & Me and there are just five questions.

  1. What is your biggest regret?
  2. What decision are you most pleased you made?
  3. If you were to give someone in your position one piece of advice, what would it be? What is your most valuable life lesson?
  4. What has been your biggest mistake, and what lessons has it taught you?
  5. What quality do you most admire in yourself?

 

If you’d like to include a little more about your story and your blog then that would be great, however if you’d like to remain anonymous then that’s alright too! Please email all responses to mindfulnessandme@gmail.com . It’d be lovely to hear from you!

This community acts as a reminder that there is always someone out there who can relate to what we are suffering from. Talking to you and reading your stories provides some comfort, making what I am dealing with a little bit easier. I wouldn’t be where I am today, if it was not for the support of you. And so I’d like to extend these efforts to my own blog.

There are 7billion people in this world, and we all have an amazing and unique story to share. The dreams that we pursue are different, as are the challenges that we overcome along the way. My aim is for this to be a means for us to reflect on life’s challenges, the events that have shaped us along the way, and to find solace and support in other blogger’s stories. I hope that this can also help us share valuable life lessons, wisdom and experience.

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31 Comments Add yours

  1. This is a great idea, Matt!

  2. This is a wonderful project! I’d love to participate ☺️.

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thank you Jen, that means so much to me! I’d love to hear from you, drop me an email if you get the chance! 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on Getting Through Anxiety and commented:
    Hey guys! Matt created this wonderful project for us to share our experiences! Please consider sharing your story! 🙂

  4. I would add that an key point of mindfulness practice is to also be non judgmental. Don’t judge a certain feeling, past experience, thought, as either good or bad. Simply notice, accept, and let go. It’s important to be non-judgmental in mindfulness practice so you don’t become upset or frustrated when you’re encountering something you don’t want to experience or because you’re not experience something you’d rather be. Mindfulness has helped me tremendously with my anxieties, great post!

    1. M_McKeen says:

      I couldn’t agree with your statement more! Being non-judgemental as you can towards both yourself and others is so incredibly important. Thank you! 🙂

  5. Gabriela says:

    I love this new series you are doing, Matt! For some reason my notification of the tag didn’t show up, but I was happy to read this! Thank you for including me on your post and so happy you are sharing others’ experiences as well. I look forward to hearing about them! I may have to contribute myself. I love being able to talk with others and relate on here. 🙂

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thank you Gabriela, it’s always lovely to hear from you! You’re welcome, I really enjoyed contributing to your Silently Pained Series and it has inspired me to create this. I hope that these questions can help others to understand what’s important to them in their life as well as being an opportunity to see how far they’ve already come. (I love your newest post btw!!) Yes, it’d be great to hear your thoughts, I’m sure you’ve got your own pearls of wisdom to share! 🙂 I hope you’re doing well?

      1. Gabriela says:

        Thanks Matt! I am glad you felt inspired 🙂 Amazing how others can do that pretty instantly by being vulnerable. I am happy you liked my last post! I know it sorta didn’t sit right with some folks. Sometimes the tougher stuff doesn’t, but it was worth writing about in my opinion. I realize as a therapist I won’t always be liked with my work, but I do enjoy helping others. I am doing ok, thanks! Just been trying to hold down the fort with some health stuff. Aren’t we all… lol 🙂

      2. M_McKeen says:

        I found it really interesting. As you say, no one was born a failure, it’s something that we’ve learned since then, which means that there are other ways to think which we can also learn. All too easily we beat ourselves up over something that doesn’t go to plan, everything that goes wrong we feel is our fault. But failure can be a good thing, it can act as an agent of change, so as to prevent this mistake from ever happening again. I think it’s actually our attitude towards failure that is unhealthy, not failure itself. Do you know what I mean? Yeah I can see why some people might not agree, but it’s always good to have an alternative opinion, if only to develop our own thoughts further. Haha make sure you’re taking care of yourself! Sometimes it must be difficult to distinguish between your own issues and those in your therapy?

      3. Gabriela says:

        I do knoe what you mean about it not being failure itself as the issue. That naturally is a part of life. I think it’s healthy to be aware of that as it makes us less unrealistic but still motivated and determined. Haha yea sometimes it’s funny to experience in therapy work what maybe I have myself. I grew up as an anxious kid, not really understanding that when I was young. How have you been??

      4. M_McKeen says:

        I couldn’t agree more. I’m really trying to work on my relationship with failure at the moment, but it’s still something I try to avoid. It’s easy to not be aware of anxiety as a kid, I don’t think I was, but it is my underlying issue from which others have come about. As a kid you don’t recognise the complexities in the world around you, which must play a part. I guess in your case, it allows you to better empathise with your patient, you know what not to say. If you’re half as supportive and caring as you are on here then I’m sure you’re an amazing therapist! I’m doing ok generally thanks, I’ve found talking about my struggles a real help these last few weeks. 🙂

      5. Gabriela says:

        Aw thank you! I do what I can, though I am working on being more empathetic in my personal relationships as well. You’re absolutely right about those understandings being a bit too complex for children. Certainly was for me. I am glad you are finding some peace by being able.to talk about your struggles 🙂

      6. M_McKeen says:

        I think it’s something that we could all work on. It’s difficult to be empathetic all the time, it’s easy to get lost in our own emotions rather than listen to those of others. It helps knowing that there are lovely people like you reading my posts! 🙂 Thanks Gabriela, look after yourself!

  6. Awesome project, Matt!! I love encouraging this supportive community of people willing to share their strength and ideas about cultivating mental health. I’d love to participate, as well, if you ever have need of a participant 🙂

    1. And maybe you’ve already done this in another post that I didn’t see, but did you answer these three questions for us, your readers? ☺️

      1. M_McKeen says:

        I haven’t actually, I’ve got an idea of what I’d write, but I haven’t posted anything yet. I will though, just thought I’d give you all a chance to have a go before me! I’m tempted to add in a 4th question as well, though I feel that I’d be slightly unfair on those that have already participated. :/

      2. Well you could invite your past participants to answer the fourth questions, then compile the answers into one blog post?! haha that’s one idea. And sure, whatever timing works for you to answer the questions is good for us!

      3. M_McKeen says:

        That’s a good idea, i might just do that! 🙂 just so you know if you do decide to answer the questions, q4. What has been your biggest mistake, and what has it taught you? Q5. What quality do you most admire in yourself? 🙂 Do the questions sound ok?

      4. Those are excellent questions!! I think our mistakes, especially those big ones, teach us so much, and we can’t ignore those lessons. They tell us so much about ourselves. And ultimately they teach us to have compassion for ourselves. We have to learn to stop beating ourselves up about it, but keep the lessons 😊

      5. M_McKeen says:

        I think you’re right. Ultimately it’s about our response to mistakes and failures, because they are inevitable in such a complex world. Definitely couldn’t agree more! We’re all too harsh on ourselves, sometimes I try to imagine that a friend has come to me with the problems that are facing me, and I try to think of the positive, constructive advice that I’d give them, and tell myself that instead! 🙂

    2. M_McKeen says:

      Thanks Jenna, it’d be great to hear from you! Feel free to drop me an email anytime, I’m sure you’ve got some wise words to share! 🙂

      1. awesome, will do!

      2. M_McKeen says:

        I look forward to it! 🙂

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