As you know, I’m a great fan of sharing projects, goals and accountability. Everything — from my 545 mile bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to my journey as an amateur boxer towards the Golden Gloves — have brought a great sense of community, inspiration and empowerment. Today I’m committing to you something different. Something I’ve been trying to commit to myself for several years now, but no matter how hard I try, have had difficulties carving out time to do so on my own. It may be one of my most difficult projects/experiments/journeys yet; it has eluded me and takes an incredible amount of discipline. I thought that maybe sharing this with you might benefit the both of us. Today I’ll be committing to a new journey — perhaps you can call it a committed experiment — in the practice of mindfulness. I hope you’ll take this ride along with me, whether you are already practicing mindfulness or are curious to what it entails.
I have already been exposed to mindfulness in my treatment in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Once a week we do a 3-5 minute exercise. We focus our mind on a task or on our breath, and watch and notice what comes up. It’s one of the cornerstones to DBT as we observe and describe what arises without judgement. In the midst of a group of people, mindfulness doesn’t seem so difficult. When I try it on my own, well… it gets complicated. I’m starting to understand, however, that this is all a part of the process. And that’s what I’ll be sharing with you — my process: my fears, frustrations, and my understanding — they will come, go and develop as I sit down everyday in the practice of mindfulness.
So why, after all these years, have I decided that now is the time to commit to this? It’s not like my life is in disarray. Sure, I have my ups and downs, but for the most part — on the surface — life is going smoothly. Despite this, there is a deep longing inside of me. A longing for me to not only feel alive, but to not be afraid of being present. Right now I’m living my life at arm’s length, fearing that if I engage with life for all it’s worth, I’ll relapse with so much more to lose. That’s the fear and yet, I know that life is engaging with me no matter how distant I keep. In fact, life chooses to engage with me now more than ever, as I am expecting to have a child in a couple of months. This is what scares me the most — that I won’t be present to my family, to motherhood, to all the challenges and beauty family life entails. I am hoping that the practice of mindfulness will prepare me to be more present. Sometimes it’s as simple and complicated as that.
So I hope you’ll join me. I’m committing to every week or so to write about my progress, understanding and set backs. It’s a great experiment for me, something I’m keeping an open mind and heart with. Feel free to send good vibes, encouragement and thoughts on this journey. I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you!