Mind over matter

Recently, my beautiful cousin wrote a blog on mindfulness. (It’s well worth a read and the link is at the bottom of this post. I’ve also included the link to a mindfulness meditation video which helped me heaps.) And I mention it because even more recently I discovered just how practicing mindfulness can help. In the spirit of being honest, when I first read my cousin’s post I underestimated mindfulness. I didn’t think it was for me. I thought meditation was a thing I’d struggle with in many ways. Then, one down day last week left me feeling particularly shaken.

I truly believed that I’d hit the bottom. Considering how well things were going, I can’t quite believe how pessimistic I felt. I was tired of being anxious and I wanted to give up and I felt hopeless and I was convinced that every day of the rest of my life, I’d be miserable. I’ve felt all of this before, but this time the thoughts were scarier, more consuming. Perhaps all of the anxiety I’d been feeling over the last couple of weeks had been smothered in a way, by all the good stuff I was feeling. Then it burst out. I was exasperated by the fact I still felt anxious when the past couple of weeks had been so truly amazing.

In the end I rang The Samaritans and they stayed on the phone until I was out the other side. I didn’t call them because I believed I might kill myself. I called them because I didn’t know how to explain how I was feeling rationally and I didn’t want to panic family and friends BUT I felt like if I didn’t get it out, talk about it, I would be giving the feelings more power over me. The Samaritans were amazing and if you ever need them, you can call them 24 hours a day on 116 123.

24 hours was all it took before I was practicing mindfulness on my bedroom floor for the first time and feeling like I could go on. I hadn’t truly felt like I was in control again since the phone call. I had pretty much decided that I was going to carry on feeling that way and I’d just call The Samaritans every time I felt like that for the rest of my life. Laying flat on my back, on the floor, listening to a mindfulness video, I discovered the power of being in the moment and coming to the realisation that we have power over our minds, not the other way ’round. It honestly took ten minutes of being mindful for me to believe in myself again. Since, I feel stronger than ever. I highly recommend it. I only wish I’d believed enough to try it sooner.

What’s also amazing is that once I’d been mindful I finally felt I could tell people around me how I’d felt. I told Dave, I told my brother, I took control back and I moved onwards and upwards.

Right now, I’m sat on an actual sofa (because we have one actual sofa now) and I’m looking at our beautiful living room (that now has house plants in it, including a wonderful cactus called Patrick) and I’m smiling hugely even though it’s all grey and gloomy outside. These last two weeks have been far from miserable. Believe it or not despite my emotional all over the place-ness, they’ve been great.

I’ve applied for lots of jobs and despite having heard nothing yet, am still feeling determined.

I’ve started writing my first ever song and I’ve been keeping up the piano practice.

I finished Jane Austen’s Persuasion and I thoroughly enjoyed it… It made my heart sing.

I bought a foot stool and can now reach the top of my new wardrobe.

I’m getting to know the new area. I’ve been ’round to the local shops and been into town a few times now and it feels more like home every day.

We’ve had more wonderful friends over to visit. Two brought flowers with them. One brought Christmas crackers along because why not? One brought yorkshire puddings and helped us to make our first flat Roast which came out really well! I feel more blessed every day to have the friends I do.

Dave and I have been out for dinner and been to the cinema, been record shopping together and we’ve started working through the list of films we’ve been meaning to watch for ages and without setting off anyone’s cheese allergies I have to honestly say how lovely it is to be in the same place and actually be able to spend time together and do actual couple things. So yeah, he hasn’t driven me crazy yet, but watch this space I guess.

One film we watched was ‘Hidden Figures’, which I have to give a special mention to before I go. It is simply phenomenal. I cannot believe that I did not already know the stories of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson and I’m so glad I do now. The film is eye-opening, uplifting and inspirational. Watch it whenever you get the chance.

http://speakingtheunspokenword.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/be-mindful-about-your-mind.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p_yaNFSYao

Busy is Best

When I woke up Tuesday morning it was still dark. I felt like I should be jumping on an aeroplane and heading somewhere exciting, jumping behind the steering wheel of my car and driving across the country or just retreating under the duvet until the sun decided to put his hat on. In reality I’d set myself an early alarm so I would have enough time to wash my hair and get organised before my two hour lecture and my work induction. Being me, I still didn’t have enough time and I spent the morning running around like a headless chicken. The induction at work was almost a complete disaster, but I made it through and back out the shop with The Entertainer uniform in hand and rumbles in my tummy. I gave into temptation and dropped into Gregg’s, browsed all the shelves trying to convince myself to be experimental and try something new and then ordered my usual. (“A sausage, bean and cheese melt and a piece of Rocky Road, please?”) I had an amazingly productive afternoon, Chinese went really well, yet another walk home was filled with mine and my flatmates Chinese conversation and then I got an early night.

Wednesday was just as busy and just as amazing. I got up early, although it wasn’t dark this time. Had time for a cup of tea before leaving for lectures. Managed to enjoy lectures. Had an amazing lunch. Spent half the afternoon singing, first at choir and then in a practice room. Flopped in my flat mate’s room for hours while she baked bread (Inspired by the Great British Bake Off). Had a beautiful beef casserole dinner. Puzzled over more articles on the T’i-yung dichotomy in China. Went to a choir social at a pub five minutes walk from my front door and met lovely new people. Bought Chinese take away and curled up with my flatmates in the lounge, sharing jokes until the early hours of the morning.

I never thought I’d say it, but I think early mornings are the way forward. I’ve been up since eight today as well and I’ve been so productive that every part of me is buzzing. Laying in bed for hours every morning just leaves me feeling tired, smelly and lazy. Being busy is best. Goodbye wasted mornings.