Tag Archives: mindfulness

Try A Little Tenderness

This evening’s post will be short and sweet, rather like its author.

This is because I have just arrived home from the first night of a “Loving Kindness” course, which I will be attending every Tuesday for the next five weeks.

Back in May I did a Mindfulness course to try and cure my derealisation (didn’t work, but was still very worthwhile) and the last session was Loving Kindness. The girl who ran the course said that she’s be running a longer version of that in September, and the following morning I rang to put my name down.

Essentially it teaches you to be more kind towards yourself and all others. I am hoping that it will make me feel less infuriated by people whose music thumps through their earphones on the bus, people who don’t indicate when leaving a roundabout, and not being able to think of a good third example to end that sentence with.

Anyway, the first week’s exercise is Loving Kindness toward oneself. This should of course be easy, after all I’m gorgeous, but it’s the bit that I think I need most of all. You don’t get some of the blackness that I occasionally succumb to without a lot of self-loathing, and I’m hoping that I can learn to remember the real me.

He’s a really decent bloke.

Being Kind

It’s been a busy couple of days. I’ve spent a day being silent (easier than I thought, and oddly relaxing), spent that evening watching Ireland play Croatia, and so being pretty silent yet again, spent the following day at work talking about being silent, and about Ireland playing Croatia, then spent yesterday morning at the dentist, talking about Ireland playing Croatia with my mouth wide open (“I haw ee ere hit”).

Along with all of this I have to practice the final mindfulness exercise before tomorrow’s last class. This one is called “Loving Kindness”. I have to select four people and then think positively about them. One must be me (no problem there, I’m gorgeous), one must be a close friend, one must be someone I see regularly but don’t know (I’ve a picked a man who sits quietly reading on my bus, I’m hoping it’s not this that he’s reading) and someone who gets on my nerves. For this I’ve picked another guy off my bus, a man my age who barges past everyone at the stop in the evening to be first on and who once, when sitting behind me, sneezed on the back of my head. I’ve to think about all four of us individually and then together, thinking kind thoughts towards us all.

I’ve just tried it.

I should have picked someone who gets on my nerves less.

Quiet Reflection

About 18 months ago I told the tale of the VonTrappist monks, an Order who kept a vow of silence about all things to do with The Sound Of Music.

God has a way of remembering things like that, and making sure that they come back to bite you in the arse, or at least land upon your head in a plague of frogs.

The all-day part of my Mindfulness course takes place on Sunday, and at last night’s session we learned that it will be conducted in silence.

The teacher will be talking, but the rest of us must stay silent even during lunch, which we all have to eat together. We have all agreed that none of us are bringing anything like crisps, as this might start fits of giggling, which are not allowed either.

I have to say that I am looking forward to it immensely, although if I spill my tea into my lap I will have to mindfully accept it, leaving my crotch to scream internal expletives on my behalf.

I will be like Caine from the Kung Fu series, although without the ability to fight in slow motion.

If I Open My Fingers A Little Bit More

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When I was a child I loved the poems of AA Milne.

The stories were fine, though very few of them seemed to go anywhere, but the poems were just wonderful. Almost half-a-century later I can still quote huge chunks of The King’s Breakfast and almost all of Teddy Bear (“A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise”).

I can recite every single word of Vespers, the story of Christopher Robin saying his prayers.

The reason that I mention this today is not to show off (to mention I can recite the complete libretto of Cosi Fan Tutte would be showing off, and also completely untrue) but because tonight is the second night of my Mindfulness Course and I am starting to feel that Christopher Robin and I are related.

In the poem Christopher Robin is saying his prayers and his mind wanders in all directions (“wasn’t it fun in the bath tonight?”, “I can see nanny’s dressing-gown on the door”, “and I close my eyes and I curl up small and nobody knows that I’m there at all”).

Last week we were given a CD and asked to perform a Body Scan each day, where the voice on the tape asks us to become aware of our bodies, part by part. I am not doing well so far.

A typical (mental) conversion between the voice and me goes like this:

Voice: “Start by bringing awareness to your feet, how they feel, perhaps they are warm or cold…”

Tinman: “They are quite cold, I should probably still be wearing woollen socks. Still, it’s bloody May now, when the hell is it going to start getting warm, Global Warming my arse…”

Voice: “… now bringing awareness to the lower legs..”

Tinman: “Damn, missed the feet bit, still, I’m concentrating now -”

Voice: “…. to the hardness of the shin bones…”

Tinman: “I’ve seven episodes of Bones recorded now, I’ll never get to watch them. I’m stopping getting into crime series’ from now on.”

Voice: “… and to the …”

Tinman: “Well, apart from Castle, because Detective Beckett is gorgeous.”

Voice: “… and bringing awareness to the fingers, now at rest..”

Tinman: “Yes, and they do so much work during the day, typing and stuff, oh God, I haven’t done my blog yet, what the hell am I going to write about. Bugger, I’m getting nowhere with the awareness, I wonder if being aware of that counts, I might ask her at the class tonight, or actually hopefully someone else will, I don’t want to look like a gobshite. Anyway, come on Tinman, big effort, you can do this -”

Voice: “… and that concludes the Body Scan Meditation Exercise.”

Tinman: “What? No, wait, all I’ve been aware of so far is that the ceiling needs painting, that you didn’t ask us to bring awareness to any of our naughty bits and that, while the jumper I’m wearing is a beautiful blue, it hasn’t a hood, whereas my hoodie has.”

am trying, and I’m hoping it will get better, though at the moment I feel related not just to Christopher Robin but also to Pooh.

Who, after all, was a Bear of Very Little Brain.

Mindfulness Course – Week 1

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On Thursday I mindfully ate a raisin.

As I report on my Mindfulness Course over the coming weeks it may appear that I am making fun of it. This is not what I will be doing, I think already that the course is fascinating and I have real hopes that it will make a difference to my life, especially my mental one.

I will, however, be making fun of my attempts to fulfil its demands.

So anyway, on Thursday we were each given a raisin and told that we were going to eat it mindfully. We were to look at it, be mindful of its shape and colour, then smell it, then very slowly eat it, being aware of all of the tastes, sensations, memories that this might provoke.

Unfortunately back at step one I looked at the shape and colour of the raisin and found that it reminded me of a dried snot. This was then what my mind was full of during the rest of the exercise.

I have a long way to go.

Mindful Of My Health

I am going to a Mindfulness Course this evening, as the latest sortie in my battle against derealisation. I’m hoping that it’s going to be the classrooom equivalent of the Inner Peace found by Po in Kung Fu Panda 2 (I’m sorry, I actually sat down last Sunday morning to watch something else, but that came on and next thing I was hooked).

 It’s on for the next six Thursdays and one all-day Sunday, though I’m not sure that my mind is as big as they think it is. This means that I am missing several Euro 2012 football matches and one semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest, so it had better be good.

The blurb claims that the course will aid anyone prone to stress, depression, rumination and low or anxious moods, or who struggles to experience calm and psychological well-being.

They should have just called it the Tinman course.