A BOOK RECOMMENDATION FOR GROUP WORK
My wellbeing journey was arduous and joyless in the beginning. I took everything and everyone very seriously. Retreats were painful and even though I was making the journey harder than necessary, somewhere deep inside I knew I was on the right path.
When I first picked up the book How to Train a Wild Elephant, it was the ‘& other adventures in mindfulness’ that caught my attention. Could I really embark on an adventure with mindfulness and really let go, to see where this journey could take me?
Over the years, I have been letting go slowly like a mother releasing the grip on her grown-up child. Deep down we all know this grasping and holding on is unhealthy, but we feel like there’s a real danger that if we let go we will be flying without wings. No one wants to come crashing down especially if we think the fall will be fast and hard. What I have learned though, is that when we let go, we are always being held. Almost like unseen angel wings that tenderly hold us during our most vulnerable and challenging times.
As we move into a more mindful way of living we being to see more clearly. As our vision improves there are aspects of our life that are difficult to watch and even harder to sit with. Encouraged by the weekly practices in this book I began to notice my triggers, my impatience and my blind spots. It was quite alarming to realize that they were so plentiful, and at one stage I felt like a delicate machine gun where the enemy line was so close, the slightest movement would cause the trigger to go off. Then I realized I was holding the trigger and instead of the reaction being automatic, I stood back and took responsibility, removing my finger from the trigger and creating space before I reacted.
The word ‘practice’ has been my mantra of late, as I ease into loving myself more and not beating myself up for all the times the trigger has gone off when I could have stopped it. The more I practiced, the more I realized I didn’t need a gun at all. In fact, there were no enemy lines to hide behind. This war was one I was waging with myself. I was both the enemy and the attacker.
To defuse the war, I used simple techniques like deep breaths, becoming present when in traffic and waiting in line, gratitude, looking at people with loving eyes, giving compliments and connecting with nature. Because of this I have started to create a kinder world where mindfulness is allowing miracles to come out and play with me each day.
What I have realized is that we invite into our lives the experiences we have each day. This can be hard to understand in the beginning because it can be hard to take responsibility for the negative things that happen. However, on this journey of connection I have realized I’m not that bad after all. I’m both loving and lovable and my relationship with my son has changed dramatically. I have shed my old skin and each season I will continue to do so because its only by releasing and letting go can we make space for the new.
Through daily mindfulness I have been learning to go with the flow. I’m a pusher by nature and I can be incredibly impatient but stepping back and allowing instead of forcing, has been a game changer in my quality of life.
I have decided to accept all of me, which can be a radical decision in a conformist society. In today’s world we are taught to put our most acceptable side forward and hide the aspects of ourselves that are not so nice. We wear masks and show up behaving the way we think we should to please those around us. The more mindful I became each week, the more I realized that I accept a lot of things in this life that I don’t have too.
As I grew stronger, I grew softer. I began to see myself in everyone, understanding that we are all one. The parts of me that wanted things to stay the same. The parts of me that through fear have convinced myself in the past that I’m not worthy and I don’t deserve the best. The parts of me that fear being poor again and losing my home. I saw this and more in the eyes of those I love because I learnt it from them in the first place.
The magic of this book has allowed me to show up in ways that terrified and exhilarated me all at the same time. I knocked down walls that I realized I had built myself. I began to see not only my potential, but the potential of all human beings. When we decide to wake up and stay awake for longer periods each day we begin to recognize how deeply interconnected we are. I have met people in cafes and banks during my mindful moments and had the best conversations and experiences.
Joy has also been a theme emerging quite strongly for me and I even caught myself laughing at a video about procrastination again as I recognized myself throughout. I’m becoming more playful and breaking rules. Simple rules like heading to the beach for a walk instead of being so heavily scheduled. This may sound simple but it has been a game changer. I have learnt that the world does not fall apart if you take time for yourself.
Overall the discoveries I have uncovered on my seemingly simple mindful adventures have brought deep lessons. These lessons have opened my heart and the love has begun to flush out my system of fear and anger. Removing the many years of embedded fear which has dictated my journey and encouraged many difficult paths, is certainly not easy. But as I bring it all up to be healed, I feel a more authentic connection to myself. The little girl inside me is healing, the conformist is dying and what I’m starting to realize is that following your purpose and your heart is a direct line to a peaceful life. The line might wobble sometimes but sure that’s all part of the fun.
You can find calm in the chaos and wild elephants can be trained after all.
Do you long for better connections?
Would you like to go on a mindfulness adventure with me?
If the answer is YES then join me on an exploration where every 2 weeks we will explore a new mindfulness journey from the book ‘How to Train a Wild Elephant’.
and I look forward to discussing this in the group every two weeks. Any questions please comment in the FB group.