I was fat and fifty and not feeling too good about myself. I lacked energy, motivation and my once positive outlook was slowly waning. A friend just happened to mention that she would like to learn more about mindfulness. I had heard that term before, but didn’t really know what it was about. I thought that this was something that Buddhist monks practised. Not being a Buddhist monk or particularly religious, I wondered how it would help me and other people in the real world. Being ever so sceptical but intrigued, I enrolled onto an 8 week Mindfulness course.
I was so nervous and anxious that I almost did not attend the first session. However, I was relieved to find that the tutor and the other students where welcoming and very down to earth. On the first session I was told that mindfulness is about “increasing your awareness so that you can learn to live more skilfully.” Getting to the age of fifty, still having my own teeth , being mum to two teenage boys and keeping down a stressful job, whilst remaining relatively sane, was skillful to me.
After completing some of the mindful exercises, I quickly realised that I was living my life on automatic pilot, not being present, or connecting with others, hardly aware of what was happening moment to moment. Reacting to stress seemed a normal way of life to me.
Practising Mindful Yoga, Mindful Chi Kung and Mindful Walking on the course, made me aware of how my body reacts to my emotions. Mindful movement and breathing helped me realise that our bodies and minds work together. Mindful Chi Kung resonated with me, with the slow gentle movements and the harmonious music. Practising these mindful movements and breathing techniques everyday has made me feel more peaceful and empowered. My emotions haven’t changed but the way I respond to stressful situations have. I use the mindful breathing techniques to calm myself and feel more in control, which allows me to think before I act. Another positive effect of practising mindful Chi Kung is the effects it has had on my physical body. I now have a full range of movement in my once painful hip and shoulder. My general strength and balance has increased considerably. As a result of this I feel more confident in my ability to try new things.
Mindfulness and Chi Kung has helped calm my frantic mind and made me aware of the joy of connecting to nature and to other people.
I feel grateful to all the people who have helped and inspired me on my journey.
Jon Kabat-Zinn said that “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”
Mindful Chi Kung has given me the wet-suit and I am ready to get into the water.