Further to my post yesterday about Beginnings in my working life, I thought I would follow up by sharing my feelings about new beginnings in my personal life.
When I started writing about how my life was and the particular challenges I was facing some two years ago now, it was part of the process of working towards accepting my vulnerabilities that surrounded these challenges. I recognised that a mindful life, paying attention to my feelings, could support this process and by sharing these experiences here I may also inspire and support others to be similarly fearless.
For it is fearlessness that we need if we are to hold how we feel about difficulty. To not run away. To not distract ourselves, or to avoid the feelings and consequences. But what about the fearlessness needed when exciting and positive developments explode into your life? Do you still need to be fearless? And if so how does this relate to a mindful life?
Two months ago I started dating again. To be honest it has been a little wearing this time around. I have been on several initial meet ups, once or twice these then led to a proper date. But whilst many of these were interesting and occasionally fun there was something missing.
We all look for a strong physical attraction. We then hope that we have an immediate ability to be able to communicate naturally. But even if those two elements are present we also look for that other major factor, or at least I do! The indefinable magic. This may be called ‘love at first sight’ in books and the media, but I believe that it is something more. Hopefully you will know what it is when it happens. For me it is a deep knowing. An instinctive surety. A fundamental connection of body, mind and soul with another person. A certainty that this is the one.
This happened to me on Sunday. I knew immediately. I nearly held her hand as we first walked together. The rest of that first meeting confirmed those first two hopes; the physical attraction and great communication were both present. And I knew at a deep level that the indefinable magic was present. We are now building upon this knowing, for it is mutual, and I am grateful that we have this foundation from which to develop our relationship.
So why does this fantastic experience require fearlessness? Because fear is always present. Even in the midst of huge excitement there will probably be a small little voice that starts with, ‘What if…’ Practicing mindfulness means that you are developing the capacity to recognise your feelings and rest with them. To not react. To notice where they play out in the body. To give yourself time to process the fear and to respond with compassion for yourself.
Maybe such an experience could also generate so much excitement that you loose your centeredness, that connection with your true, deep self. This can be as distracting and confusing as fear. But your potential to notice your feelings, to respond skillfully rather than to react habitually, remains the practice. Just as it is with fear. Fearlessness is facing your emotions gently. Noticing how they make you feel. How they make you think. The noticing is enough, and noticing the physical sensations in the body helps you to get out of your head.
So I practice noticing the butterflies. That slight shakiness deep inside. That little jump in the stomach. And I breathe. And then I write to you about it so that you can share, remember and practice.