I’ve taken it upon myself to learn, practice, and teach mindfulness to young people and adults. In so doing, I’ve kind of ruined my own life! While melodramatic, there’s a bit of truth to the statement.
The act of concentrating and connecting to every single moment can be daunting and downright exhausting! Why can’t I just do the dishes and disconnect? Instead, I have to focus on the water rushing around my hands, the soap suds dripping slowly from the pan, and the sounds of the drain slurping. Enough already! I just want to do this and move on; why must I focus so intently on each second of my life? I tell people to do this, yet the practice of it as I work on being a mindfulness expert is depleting my own energy.
The irony is that I preach mindfulness, and as I practice it, I’m changing because of it. Still, if only I can just be without concentrating so seriously on the art of being. So much of my energy is spent asking myself if I’m in the moment, instead of just being in the moment. I’m pulling myself out of my own life by reminding myself to constantly concentrate on it. It’s perplexing.
I feel this ever-growing pressure to be the most mindful person who ever walked the earth. I’m a leader, guiding meditation, and so I’ve got to have this mindfulness thing sorted, right? I’m constantly putting so much pressure on myself while conversing with people – are you really listening? Ironically, because I’m questioning myself about being in the moment, I’m not even in the moment with this person. I find myself, in my pressure to be present, losing my ability to truly listen to someone else. When eating, I prod myself, can you really, really taste the food? Are you really here? SO MUCH PRESSURE! Why can’t I just zone out for once? What’s so great about connecting with the leaf falling from the tree as I’m out for a walk?
Must I notice everything to be mindful? Can I let my thoughts happen and not completely immerse myself in the minutia of every single, mother loving moment? Consistently being so damn awake in my life is sapping my energy. Yet, it’s what I ask of others. I tell them that connecting to the moment, to our lives, is all that we have. Yet, focusing on each second can be exhausting.
So, the lesson here is – let’s give ourselves some slack. Let’s allow ourselves some mindlessness so that we can lighten our spirits. Easing up a bit isn’t the worst thing we can do for ourselves. Cause, let’s face it, every single second is not worth our unwavering focus. Sure, mindfulness and checking in with ourselves is vital to our lives and our work; but maybe it’s time to take it a bit easier. As I write this I find myself letting go and am giving myself permission to do so. I’ll have to remember this as I move through my days, allowing that leaf to fall from the tree without completely becoming the leaf.