What acts of kindness have you seen, heard, read, or done recently?
Really this is a sunday sunshine and sparkles post, but I want it posted before Halloween…
This is more than sunshine and sparkles. Yet it fits into this more than my F:AK (Friday – acts of kindness) posts… these teens inspire me and show me how much is possible.
I don’t know how much sense this is going to make since there’s so much flying around my head and I’m writing this just to get it down and give me some space. Funny, usually I’d give myself time to absorb things.
I didn’t write out the rest of week 4 – I had 3 or 4 posts on it. Or anything for week 5. And now we just finished week 6. I didn’t actually think I’d go on to the call today.
A couple days ago when I was trying to do a practice I found it very untethering so I stopped. I did a short practice the next morning but nothing more that day. Knowing how much of a mess my head has been the past week I knew that if I found it destabilising I just wouldn’t do it.
Mindfulness. So I’m really careful to call it mindfulness practice not meditation for mindfulness and meditation are 2 different things.
I’d still like to share last weeks overview. Either I will or I won’t. Today was week 6. Only 2 more weeks.
I told my friends to sign up. I’ve 2 good friends here. Both signed up. Depends on timings if they can do it. If they can I’d love to do it again with them.
I spoke today! Week 6 and the second time I spoke. This time right away I prefaced what I said with – please don’t ask anything on what I say. I did freak out afterwards, but nowhere near to the same extent as in week 4. Week 4 I spoke, and was freaking the rest of the time. Today I was able to calm myself down much faster. My heart rate was seriously amped up (courtesy of my smart watch I bought for running when I can’t run…. my heart rate is way higher than it used to be. I’m eating now. It’ll be interesting to see if it goes down. Also less dizzy so wondering if I’ll be able to take up running again).
Today the focus was on self compassion. I’m such a mixture. As I said in my last post (not an MBSR one) I’ve stopped saying I hate myself.
Something I’ve been doing a lot and have found really helpful is holding my hand to my neck. There’s definitely a term for it. If I ever google it (just after writing this?) I’ll write more.
The first discussion was on what you’d say to a friend having it rough, and what you’d say to yourself. I thought about my friend whose life is chaotic. All my friends lives are at the moment. It’s a bit draining. So yesterday I told M I’m here for her and love her. This is when I shared my thoughts. That I’d say that to someone else. That with myself there is the gap between where I am – self hatred and guilt, and where I want to be. That I write to myself (all the Letters to myself – a few are up here. Some day I’ll copy out some more) and I tell myself the same thing. That I’m here for myself no matter what. No matter what I do I’ll always love myself. And that I’m finding that sometimes in life or journaling I’m saying it to myself. Am more gentle with myself. I think I said less words than that. And I freaked. The next people sharing referenced what I said but I have no clue what I said because as soon as they said E, it was too much and I couldn’t focus. Just don’t talk about me!
We did a loving kindness practice next which really also was a bit much. The practice is 3 parts which is cool. First bring to mind someone you love and who you feel only good things towards. Could be a person or animal. Imagine yourself wishing them well. May you be at peace for example. A few wishes. Then put yourself with the person. May we be at peace. Then at bye to the person and may I be at peace.
I imagined NN. He is heaven and charming. That part was easy (I feel myself slowing down now which I’m grateful for). I imagined my wishes for his peace, joy and happiness to be blankets I was wrapping around him. I’m not visual but it worked. R, the person talking, suggested we imagine our wishes as pebbles in water rippling but wrapping blankets gives more protection. During every pause I added my own wishes.
Then we were told to add ourselves into it. That was much harder. I put NN on my lap and wrapped both of us in blankets of safety, love, compassion.
Then take away NN. Found that last part really hard. I first did it imagining me wrapping it around someone else who’s me but then wrapped it around myself sitting as I was there. By that time I put both my hands on my neck in almost a circle. When the practice finished I was shaking away. So when we had a break I did a 3 space grounding and did the hoop for a few minutes. To ground myself. That’s also why I’m writing this now. Though I’m not thinking about anything I’m saying. I’m slowing down.
WordPress is being glitchy and deleting my words a lot. I hope it’s not added back any it has deleted or deleted too much as then this really won’t make sense.
After the break he wanted us to write down what we would wish ourselves. I’d been doing that throughout the spaces in the practice as else I’d he everywhere but there. I know what I’d wish myself. Safety. Self love. Self compassion. Self acceptance. Connection. Peace. Serenity. Okayness. Notice I’m not saying a lack of self destruction for that will automatically change.
I didn’t engage much for I knew it was too much. Nor with the practice after because it was the third part of the self compassion and I was already shaky. Not going to do anything to make it worse (makes me laugh as I write this. How I live with such self destruction AND such self acceptance and compassion. I definitely accept my freaking about speaking. A few times I had what to say and didn’t. And this acceptance is natural because I didn’t expect myself to be unable to speak…
The last thing was asking us how we practice self care. I realised that I more practice self soothing then self care. I’ve plenty of distractions that wire me down – like writing this, but much less that are looking after myself how do I look after myself? Maybe through my gratitude journal – I’m up nearly 1500 (different gratitudes). Writing to myself – I use it more to access the part of me that loves myself more than to calm down. When I’m freaking out I tune out as soon as I engage with it so writing doesn’t work. Distraction does. I feel like my entire world at the moment is a distraction rather than prevention. Through journaling and practicing mindfulness every morning which is what I’m aiming to do.
Anyways. That was week 6. The practice this week is to do the 3 stage breathing space 3 times a day. If I’m keeping Judaism I can’t but on Monday to Wednesday I can. And the loving kindness practice once. Again I can on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
I’d love to do the course again.
With Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish new year – tomorrow night, I’m not sure what the next few days will be. I haven’t been sleeping much. The days have been a mixture between up and down constantly. I’m glad to have the weekend now and no school for a few days.
I’ve written in the first or second post the biggest thing this course is giving to me. That is that I’m tuning in much more to where I am and grounding myself a lot more. It could be less self destruction has to do with that, I wouldn’t know. It’s also interesting to see that I still hate the body scan practice. I tried it nearly every day for 5 weeks. I like mindfulness of breath practices – find them grounding. Body and breath, or thought, I have found to be awesome or untethering depending on where my headspace was. I’ve been getting up earlier to do it for a few minutes. I want to get up earlier still to have time to journal and do half hour mindfulness practice if I want to after that. (Definitely better after journaling).
Signing off for real this time.
I’d love to hear how you’re all doing… if you don’t mind to drop a note and tell me…
Kesiva vechatima tovah – may your year be rolled with blessings and goodness.
What acts of kindness have you seen or done recently? What can you do for someone today?
I’m going to try and do this as an overview, as really I have so much to say about every point.
There were only 6 participants this week (plus 2 training practitioners, and the mindfulness teacher who mostly stays silent).
Started with a 3 stage breathing space. We were meant to do that 3 times a day every day. I did it once during the week… We first looked at how we are wired to live with a negativity bias
We then watched a neuroplasticity video
We split up into breakout rooms then to discuss home practice for 10 minutes. I was with 2 new guys, one whom I feel more comfortable with than the other. We spoke about what we did over the week, and anxiety, and how being aware either lessens it or makes it too much.
Back in the main room we shared what we discussed in the breakout rooms and when asked I said hi. We looked at unpleasant experiences and being that I was anyways freaking out after saying hi I stayed with it (I’ll write more about it). I decided to try use driving as a mindfulness activity. When I drive I get so frustrated behind other drivers or red lights – feeling trapped. Mindfulness (not listening to a practice!) may help. It will be interesting to see.
Next was looking at pleasant experiences. We can focus on pleasant experiences, and what they will do. Then did mindfulness walking – I did it for a couple minutes, then just curled up and listened as the others walked. No space in my toom and I couldn’t do it… so I didn’t.
We had a break. After that we did a mindfulness practice observing thoughts. I shared what I thought after and wasn’t understood but left it (that will be another post. I was so brave speaking!!). And ended off with a FOFBOC practice – grounding yourself by placing your Feet On the Floor, Body On the Chair and being aware of it, before reading this image/poem – autobiography in 5 short chapters. (I had a lot of thoughts on this).
This weeks homework is 3 stage breathing space 3 times a day, filling in pleasant experiences diary, mindful walking, mindful activity, and mindfulness practice every day. This morning I listened to some practices for an hour. When I go downstairs now I’ll try be mindful of my walking. I can’t do 10 minutes mindful walking since 10 minutes walking usually leaves me dizzy.