“Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
This commencement speech from author David Foster-Wallace is a wonderful reminder to stop, breathe and get perspective. It is so important to practice stepping outside of your own stories, your own self-centred world and to be aware of the bigger picture – to notice the people around you, to act with compassion and without judgement and to realise we are all in this together.
I had a personal reminder of this recently when I was out at a show. I had been looking forward to it for weeks, but I became particularly annoyed when a woman sitting in front of me kept wriggling around in her seat all throughout the first half. Thankfully, through my work with a variety of clients and from my mindfulness practise I was able to watch myself getting irritated and reframe my thoughts and experience.
As difficult as it was I chose not to get wrapped up in my own petty and selfish thoughts, I instead focused on how grateful I was to be there, and how nice it was to be around so many people having a good time. Perhaps, I thought, this woman is moving around for a good reason. As it turned out, when the lights came up for the intermission the woman turned around and said “I really hope I’m not annoying you, I have a muscular disease where I can’t sit still and have to constantly move. I can swap places with my friend if it’s upsetting you, I’m so, so sorry”. In that moment I thanked my practise, and did my best to help reassure the woman that everything was fine and I hoped she continued to enjoy the show.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl