Monday, 9 May 2016

Here I Am

This month, I want to slow down the pace of life and be happy with where I am; here in the present moment. The theme is Don't Rush - and what better way to do that than by stopping and acknowledging my present?
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” 
― Thich Nhat Hanh
So to kick off the month I've come up with a simple journaling tool to increase my mindfulness and help focus on the present. Last month, I rediscovered the power of journaling, and it's something I will be returning to throughout the rest of May. Journaling is a great way of practicing mindfulness, as it can be used to acknowledge your feelings and appreciate every moment.
A huge part of mindfulness is about finding peace where you are. So today I'm acknowledging where I am - right here.

To use this journaling tool, think about the following questions:

  1. Where are you physically? What can you see, hear, smell?
  2. Where are you in your life right now? What’s going right? What’s going wrong?
  3. Where are you mentally? What’s your mood like?
This tool allows you to practice mindfulness by situating yourself in the present moment, and also reflecting on why and how you are where you are. To use this, try to keep in mind the stream of consciousness technique where you write in one continuous flow. Put down in writing whatever comes to mind as you consider the above questions!

Here I Am:

It’s Monday evening – 6:24pm to be precise. I’ve just had dinner and am sitting at my desk. My desk is a bit of a mess, and I wish I had the time to give it a good clean. My curtains are opened to my right hand side; with the windows both open too. The smell from outdoors is permeating into my room and reminds me of how much I love letting the fresh air in during the warmer months.

In front of me is my book shelf – in need of a good dusting around the two rows of unread books. I have a book buying problem (I bought another two this morning...). But I can admit it, and so therefore my logic tells me I am not an addict. And to my left is my bed; made in haste and looking rather untidy.

The house is noisy this evening. There are about 40 kids running around the building getting their belongings ready for homework – supervised study starts in 15 minutes. The joys of living in a boarding school mean there are relatively few moments of quiet. That's why I've been reclaiming my mornings - it's one of the only moments of pure quiet I can find in the day.

I’m not long home from work; in fact I won’t be here for long. I'm about to head out and facilitate a class of teenagers in making a newsletter to send back home to their families. This is my life now – pressed for time, but trying not to rush as per my May resolution, of course. But I know that I am blessed to have two amazing jobs which reward and challenge me equally. I know that I am also extremely lucky to have found my perfect match this year in the form of my boyfriend Oisín. No one quite gets me, quirks, triggers, hobbies and anxious habits et al. like he does. Life looks pretty good from the outside, I’ll admit that. Work, Friends, Home, Family, a Relationship – sure don’t I have it all? But my lack of self-confidence and my fears surrounding my mental illness still attack me.

Today’s been a good mental health day though. It’s important for me to acknowledge these days; even as they continue to grow more frequent. Work went well. My commute went well. For me, these are little victories. I can remember clearly the days when nothing goes well. In fact, I am super proud of my ability to handle the day. It started out shakily enough. I woke up at 4:30 am following a nightmare. I had tears running down my face. I struggled to get back to sleep. And when I awoke to my alarm at 6:30 am, I was still feeling the effects of my troubled sleep. I wrote about the incident in my journal, releasing it from my mind. And I adopted a positive mindset; repeating my mantra that 'Today's going to be a good day'.

And it was. It still will be, as my day is not yet over.

I'd better head off as I am pressed for time now. (But no rushing, I promise!)

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