Waxing Lyrical about Mindfulness

I’m a big fan of mindfulness and so was interested to read a review of Sane New World by Ruby Wax. Wax took a master’s in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy at Oxford and looks at what happens when neuroscience meets mindfulness. And how we can re-wire our brains and be masters of our minds with more flexible ways of thinking. And she would know.  Wax is a depressive and in between filming a show about people with mental illness (ironic in itself), was recovering in London’s clinic The Priory.

I agree with Wax that human beings are not equipped to deal with the mad, multi-tasking (studies show it can actually shrink parts of the brain), instantly responding demands of 21st century living with its skewed update on Descartes:” I’m busy therefore I am.” That says it all. I reckon we’re suffering an epidemic of busyness.  And it’s doubly disastrous for those of us who are busy types by nature with to-do lists running in our veins.  I’m the kind of person that can feel fraught EVEN on holiday, what with all the things to see, visit, do, eat and photograph – I call it guidebookitis.

Most days, one part of me rushes around striving to get everything done so I can relax afterwards (needless to say I never get there as there’s always something pending in life’s inbox…), while the other part of me LONGS to slow down, focus on one thing at a time and live more mindfully.

Having a new puppy has sent me into my manic, scattered pattern (think burnt rice, half-drunk cups of tea, half-written emails, scrappy lists, lost keys, glasses, phone etc.,) not that it’s dear Bertie’s fault. He’s very good at living in the moment especially when it’s dinner time or when I’m stroking his tummy.

Two weeks ago, feeling a bit frazzled by the constant poo, pee and chewed shoe patrol, I booked myself in for a therapeutic massage. Time to unravel, breathe and stop worrying.  Well in theory anyway. But as I lay on the massage table and felt the knots begin to ease up, my mind was still motoring. So much so that as I walked to my car afterwards, I was already mentally trawling the supermarket shelves and back home feeding Bertie his lunch.  In rushing to get ahead, I got stuck in my head, my body got left behind and I fell with a bang on the pavement injuring my knee and right arm.  Rushing around and living head first never works.  Time to get back to some mindfulness practice, re-set my focus to calm mode and remember to BREATHE!