I would be the first admit that I was sceptical in the extreme about the benefits of practicing mindfulness. The idea that the act of paying attention to each individual part of the body and focussing on the simple act of breathing could reap mental and physical health benefits seemed a little too good to be true.
Fifteen minutes into an hour long session at FreoMind HQ and I was convinced that this process wasn’t for me; all I could think about was the beef brisket tacos I would be having for dinner afterwards. Yet as I was guided through the meditation that focussed on gratitude, awareness and breath, I gradually became more relaxed and comfortable in my own skin than I had been in years.
Each breath took me on an inward journey that clarified a shed load of my own personal excrement. It helped me come to the realisation that even though my inner cynic believed that mindfulness was a load of hippy dippy nonsense; it took the wheel and went ahead and worked anyway.
When asked to focus upon something or someone I was grateful to have in my life I leaned into it and the most important people in my life came to mind. The silent expression of gratitude proved to be a cathartic way of processing thoughts and emotions that had been lurking in my subconscious, patiently waiting to be paid attention to.
Once those feelings came to the fore it wasn’t long before I was led towards my “happy place”, a place or memory of a moment in time where I felt safe, protected and loved. Linking together the smells, sounds, taste and colours of that moment created an emotional bolt hole that I feel free to revisit whenever the brown stuff gets a little too close to the fan.
After what felt like five minutes – but was actually a full hour – I felt as though I’d been on the cheapest, most effective spa day ever. My mind, body and heart felt connected in a manner that made me realise I should probably stop making fun of people when they tell me that meditation makes them feel “centred”.
I was reminded of something that a mental health professional once told me, “You don’t have to believe in something for it to work”. It was good advice, as my inner sceptic was left scrambling for higher ground as the mindfulness process set about giving my inner workings a makeover; I was left with a profound feeling of knowing what to do next. Making tacos for dinner was obviously at the top of that list, but other more pressing tasks that had previously seemed impossible to pull off started to trend up and cautious optimism gained some traction.
It’s just something to bear in mind.
Information about the weekly Mindfulness sessions held every Tuesday night can be found on the FreoMind Facebook page. The cost is $10 and worth every cent.