Mindfulness Thursday October 26, 2006, 0 comments

When one is wound up emotionally, in either a positive or negative manner, mindfulness becomes increasingly difficult. For someone like me, who is rarely focused to begin with, mindfulness goes right out the window.

It is interesting that in addition to a lack of mindfulness, I also tend to find inspiration in times of stress. It is important that one be aware of sources of inspiration. It’s a limited coin, and will not wait for you to finish the task at hand. It is timely and specific.

I am under the most stress of my life right now, I have never been more stressed. And its not just stress from one quarter of my life (work, or family, or whatever) but all of them, simultaneously. I am in a nearly constant state of anxiety and alertness. Its wearying. Like having the lights in one’s mind constantly turned on. It gets to the point where even the inspiration, which is generally a positive experience, becomes a source of stress. It is virtually impossible for me to channel stress into constructive creative endeavors right now (due to the aforementioned lack of mindfulness) but I am trying.

Interestingly, I am not generally in a dark place through all this stress. I remain generally happy, generally optimistic. A lot of that is circumstantial – specifically, for the first time in my memory I see options, I’ve gained an understanding that life doesn’t have to be as it’s been. And that comes from a new understanding of choice.

Choice grants power, but it also demands responsibility. I have always been of the opinion that one is responsible for the choices one makes – I’ve believed this so strongly that I’ve actually recently been accused of having an overdeveloped sense of accountability. I balked at that, when it was first introduced. Of course I am responsible for every decision I’ve ever made in my life, and the consequences of those decisions.

But then it was explained to me that while I am responsible for the decisions I make, I am not necessarily responsible for the environment in which those decisions are made. When I finally understood what that meant, it was an epiphany. I would like to say I was suddenly released from the the weight of responsibility, but I can’t. Old habits die hard.

What I am doing is paying much more attention the environment in which I am now making decisions . It’s lead me to some startling places. I am conscious of repeating past pattterns of behaviour which have left me feeling unfulfilled and worthless in the past. I am, in fact, mindful of the decisions I am now making. Mindful of the ramifications of such decisions. Mindful of the decision-making environment.

The net result of which is that despite all this stress, this anxiety, I am possibly in a happier, more optimistic place than I’ve ever been. And that was like being suddenly released from the weight of other people’s expectations that I’ve been carrying most of my life.


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When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.”
- Francois de La Rochefoucauld

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