Mindfulness Challenge – Week 3


Or ‘In Which I Failed To Make a Change but Ended Up Accidentally Finding Successes’.

Well, my Lovelies,

It is Monday evening and I have not written my weekly Mindful Monday post.  I think that in itself is pretty indicative that this is a week that has not gone well for me.

Up this week was the third principle from Elisha Goldstein’s article ‘7 Things Mindful People do Differently and How to Get Started’.

Show Gratitude for Good Moments – and Grace for Bad Ones.

More than being grateful for the good ones and giving yourself a break for the bad ones, this principle teaches us to hold our emotions lightly.  In other words – don’t get so wrapped up with and carried away by emotions, hold them lightly.  They are not permanent and they will pass.

My Experience

I was planning to stop right there with today’s lesson as it was only about 9:15am on Monday morning where I hit a brick wall on this one.  At this time I let myself experience an emotion I like to call ‘what-in-God’s-name-are-you-thinking-you-idiot’, it is an emotion closely related to ‘seriously?-they-let-you-out-without-a-carer?’.  Both of these are the sister emotions to ‘how-in-the-name-of-all-that-is-good-have-you-gotten-this-far-in-life-without-a-piano-falling-on-you?’  However, as I was typing I realised that when I encounter that level of what I perceive to be stupid decision making I can often drown in the hurt and anger at being thwarted or screwed over in the work place.  My therapist had once pointed out to me that rejection of my ideas isn’t rejection of me.  Our ideas are not unique to us nor are we defined by them.  She went on to tell a story about someone who had invented something on one side of the world only to find someone on the other had done the same thing and beaten him to registering the patent on in.  The point was brought home to me when I went to register the name for this website only to find that someone had bought that domain name and started using it three weeks beforehand (curse me for not registering it four months earlier when I thought of it and checked its availability).

It was a challenging concept to me as I had always seen myself and my ideas intrinsically linked.  I feel personal rejection when my ideas are passed over professionally (mainly because they are freakin’ awesome like me).  Anyway, I digress.  But I digress with a purpose.

My point is that 18 months ago if someone had told me that they were going to send someone 15 years my junior from interstate to look at the very basic thing I said needed doing just to check it really needed doing and insinuated that I wasn’t up to the challenge of assessing if the thing really needed doing, I would have been floored for up to 2 days.  I would have been in shock and personally hurt that someone had discounted my professional opinion.  I would have felt that conversation go round and round in my head ad nauseam, slowly eroding my self-esteem and getting in the way me focussing on anything else.  This time however, I felt the heat rise to my face but within 5 minutes I was composed enough to let him know why that wasn’t necessary, point out I’m not an idiot and within a couple of hours I had an email telling me to go ahead and do the thing.

Stupid decision #2 hit me about half an hour after the first one and this one I still can’t wrap my head around even though it is a week later.  I asked for training for something that I have been asked to do and never had any training in.  I was told that they might consider training me in 12 months for the job they were expecting me to do now.  I mean, what kind of dumb ass reasoning is that?

“Hey Jo, can you write articles about the medical thing we do for the internets?”
“Sure.  I’d love to.  I have no training in this area, can you please send me to the training with the sales people?”
“No.  Maybe in year.  Ask me next year.”
“Ummm… I have only had 3 days training in administration for this company, nothing in medicine, can I have any training or knowledge at all please?”
“No.  Just write about our specialised medicine without making mistakes and write quotes for our doctors to approve.”
“So I just have to google everything so I can figure out what a doctor might say?”

What kind of dumbassery is that business?

This time round I felt my face get the familiar heat rush and I felt irritated with the decision but I didn’t take it personally.  Within five minutes I had composed myself again.  I still think it is stupid, but I’m at the whatever-but-don’t-expect-me-to-ask-you-for-extra-work-again-and-you-will-have-to-give-me-the-tools-for-the-job-before-I-say-yes-to-anything-new-again stage.  Essentially, ‘fuck ‘em, I’ll give it my best shot but I ain’t gonna feel bad for not knowing the thing they won’t tell me’.

Pretty uncharacteristic attitude for me.  Throughout the week I certainly didn’t feel mindful in any situation.  At all.  But nothing got to the point where I wanted to hide under my desk in a crippling, GAD induced tear-fest.  Things upset me.  Things irritated me.  But the feelings didn’t take hold of me and cause me personal grief for long.  They came, they made themselves known and then I let them go.

What I Learned

So, that’s the long way to say that in completely failing in making any changes to my life this week, I was able to see the changes that have made themselves.

  • I’m more able to let things go – I think that Week One helped a lot with this to be honest. Remember how I have been working on letting go of the unhealthy thought patterns that I identified that week? I have been practicing chasing the obsessive thoughts from my mind for weeks.  So when a difficult situation arrived I was able to give it the attention it needed, not the attention my anxiety demanded I give it.
  • I’m stronger than I ever was – I didn’t back down in the face of adversity. Being able to see clearly, not through the rush of fear and emotion that comes from holding on to things, gave me the ability to stand up for myself and what I know to be just.   And just move on at the end of it whether I had achieved what I needed or not.
  • I’m more independently resilient than I have ever been – I have been needing something from my support people this week and just because of the nature of everyone’s hectic lives I have not been able to get it even though I asked. Instead of spiralling until I received external input, I have been able to keep myself on a stable path with only my internal resources. That hasn’t come from the challenge; it has taken a year and a half’s worth of hard work to get there.

I don’t feel I have applied this new principle to my life enough to move on to the next one yet.  So I have decided not to move on for a week.  I’m going to go back in to battle with this new piece of armour at the forefront again this week and hope it withstands the slings and arrows of the workplace better than it did when I took it out the first time.

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As always

The Brunch Fuelled Vagabond

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