Right now I am taking a practicum in teaching the well-known “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR) course. Part of the course materials is the book “A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook,” written by Elisha Goldstein and my excellent practicum teacher, Bob Stahl. In the introduction of the book, there are some prompts to write about. Today I reflected on these prompts, and I wanted to share them with you.
“What’s going on in your life that led you to purchase this workbook?”
Well, of course I bought this book because it’s part of the requirement for the practicum. But I take this question to mean, “What’s going on in your life that makes you seek out mindfulness?”
So…mainly anxiety. Anxiety and anger, and what sometimes feels like uncontrollable irritation and impatience. And an almost constant feeling of not being good enough– self-judgment.
In truth, I want all of these feelings to just disappear. That would feel like freedom. But I know enough to know that this is not possible. I’ve also read enough to understand that maybe it isn’t even desirable to get rid of these mind-states…because…they teach me…stuff…? As you can see, I’m not quite convinced of this deep down. I sort of get it, but I still want these things to disappear.
While I have been learning about and practicing mindfulness for about 6 years, it is still very hard for me to “just be” instead of doing, doing, thinking, evaluating, strategizing. Just being with negative emotions and mind states, accepting what IS…this is what I want to practice.
I suppose that I want to suffer less. My fear and anxiety and judgement are so pervasive and so uncomfortable. I’d really like to learn more about how to work with this. These things get in the way of me letting my own light shine, of being authentically me in so many situations that would really benefit from my whole presence.
It’s hard for me to share these things. Because of pride and because I teach mindfulness and meditation, the face I want to show to the world is of a person who is calm, content, and centered, who has things together. This is sometimes true, but all that I wrote above is also true. Perhaps it’s true for you, too, and that’s why I am sharing it. This, all of this and more, is ok. It may not be comfortable, and it may not be our preference, but it is authentic, it is normal, and it is ok. We can continue to learn how to work with what is here.