So, this past weekend I went to yoga camp with my surrogate sister (my actual sister lives in NY – too busy 3-D printin’ to randomly come to England at the weekend…whatevs).
Anywho, real life is rather hardcore at the moment but for some magical reason, I managed to truly relax. A year ago, I don’t think that would have been the case. I used to think all of the thoughts in my head were SUPER important and each one NEEDED to be listened to, BUT I was ALSO getting regularly depressed…weird.
Ok, so why was I able to relax at yoga camp, as a rather anxious, hyperactive extrovert? Well, for one, nature. I was camping on a beautiful campsite/working farm in Ditchling (i’m very lucky, I know) and although its taken me a while to develop this habit, now, I genuinely breath easier outside, especially, in areas without buildings.
Why else? I was bunking with a super awesome person who valued my experience as much as her own. She also encouraged me to get a massage on the last day, a smart woman indeed. Also, I was doing loads of meditative/mindful yoga, which included loads of contorting and breathing. Finally, I did my best not to overthink or judge myself or the experience.
OK, let’s step out of my pretentious yoga camp experience for a second and talk about mindfulness, a big part of yoga/meditative practice/fucking LIFE, in general. When I started looking into mindfulness (by way of Dialectial Behavioral Therapy), I was very stressed about it. I think A LOT about most things I try to do and “mindfulness”, wasn’t intuitive enough (from my perspective) for me to get right away. How am I meant to be mindFUL? Do I just sit there?
The DBT course I attended differentiated between 3 ways to be “mindful” –
OK. Observe. “Observe the world around you, if a thought swoops in, observe it, don’t judge it. If you start judging it, don’t judge the judgement” – ugh. ok, I found this really fucking hard at first because I’d judge myself for judging and it all just felt very mind-gamey/1984 to me. Now, I get it, but it took me a while. Probably because I was depressed when i took that mindful course…oops!
Now onto Describe. This is my least favorite one for external experiences (but my favorite for internal experiences, e.g., thoughts, judgements). Basically, just describe shit for what it is. Don’t judge it. I don’t find this skill helpful for the outside world because my doctorate focuses on language so the notion of “simply” naming the world around me feels forced and un-naturalistic. A picture is worth way more than a 1,000 words in my opinion, so why bother using them to describe buildings, nature etc.. That’s just me…to each their own!
OK, Participate. Simply, do what you’re doing without thinking about it. I like this one. Still, I didn’t take it on board right away, but it’s hard to do most anything when you’re depressed.
Now for my take on “mindfulness”. I know that the DBT model works for some people but as an anxious, hyperactive person, I prefer more intuitive concepts when attempting to get out of my head. So, what about, “pay attention!!!” That’s what I kept yelling to people while cycling along the seaside bike-path the other week. I know that tourists might not notice the sign for the bike-path and kids do whatever they want, but the number of people walking in the middle of the bike path, not hearing/listening to my bell, boggled my mind (and is actually stressing me out just thinking about it again). Breath. Well done, Molly!
Alrighty, some food for thought. If you’ve made it this far and have any comments on this post or any of my previous posts, I’d love to hear from you! I’m new to this blogging thing so be kind.
Have a great day!