Urgh. This week’s challenge is what put me off mindfulness in the first place. The week of mind-sorting – the challenge to calm and clear your mind, focusing on your thoughts and breathing without trying to change them.
I had to compartmentalise my thoughts into three categories. The idea is that you do this prior to falling asleep, and that, to me, means whilst in bed. As I said in my last post, that’s not an option for me because I’m asleep pretty much as soon as my head hits the pillow. I vowed to try and do this challenge at other points during the day, such as when I’m on the bus to and from work, or during Savasana in yoga class, or even just sitting for 10 minutes before going to bed. I just found it virtually impossible to actually carry out. It’s very much like a meditation exercise, and I’m not very good at that. In all honesty, I just don’t think I was really cut out for this week’s challenge.
It’s all well and good letting your mind run ragged, before observing your thought and attempting to compartmentalise it into either the ‘thoughts’, ’emotions’ or ‘sensations’ category. But when you really think about it, what’s the difference between an emotion and a sensation, and a thought and an emotion? I spent more time trying to differentiate the three categories and figuring out which of them my thought would go into, than placing my actual thought into any of these mental boxes and moving on to the next. I really struggle to stop my mind from drifting off and let thoughts just pass me by. I’m aware that this is obviously the area of my self-care regime that could do with some help, but I really struggle to devote time in my day to categorising my thoughts. If I’m going to have a spare 10 minutes to watch thoughts, I’d rather use that 10 minutes to watch something on Netflix, or to read or go to yoga or to basically do anything but observe my thoughts.
So this week’s challenge – not so great. However, this is the true essence of mindfulness so I’m sure there’ll be plenty more of this type of challenge to come. For that reason, I’m not too worried about my epic fail on this one. There’ll be more chances to try again when I’m feeling like my heart is a little more in it.
Here’s to hoping next week’s challenge is a little more interesting!