Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Being Mindful

by Judith Evans Thomas

After reading Annette's anti-shopping confession and the subsequent comments from my sisters-in-crime I had a nervous breakdown. I decided that only in a desert oasis would the world be safe from listening to my uncontrollable sobs and banchee-like wails of Manolooooooooooo and Praddddaaaaaa. At another time of deep dispair I retreated to the Arizona Desert where like-minded suffering souls learned to cope with their inner demons.

Miraval, http://www.miravalresort.com was started many years ago as a sort of detox haven. Over the years, the resort has morphed into a haven for those of us in need of finding balance in our lives. As quoted on their website:

"Miraval is the world’s premier destination for helping people bring their lives into balance by learning to live mindfully. The Miraval experience is about learning to live in, enjoy and appreciate each moment and in so doing, creating a personal path to greater awareness." The goal is to create a "Life in Balance."

Making sure not to bring any Fendi, or for that matter trendy color co-ordinated outfits, I packed and snuck out of town. I could and would learn to live my life in balance, not teetering on four inch heels.

I'm now four days into the program and have meditated, done yoga, studied mindful eating, mindful time management, mindful living and mindful decision making. I feel calm and, well...mindful. And how you might ask does that relate to writing?

As I've come to realize, mindfulness is what I've been missing. On a normal writing day, I start out, cup of coffee in hand, looking at email. After answering or deleting the recent messages, I turn to the stack of bills and to do correspondence I've diligently placed next to the phone. Around this time the phone rings, someone comes to the door, or I get hungry. Now it is 11 in the morning and I haven't written a word, let alone thought of writing a word. I go to the kitchen, grab a diet pepsi and some cheese and return to my desk feeling properly guilty about not writing. I once again check my email and the cycle continues. Around two in the afternoon, I get bored with my distractions, grab another diet Pepsi and a cheese stick and open up my latest Word document. I can now choose to work on my column, book, or outline for my non fiction WIP. I review all three before deciding to concentrate on the one with a deadlne. By now it is 3 P.M. If, like many of my sibs, there are children at home, I'm out the door for carpool. Since I don't have that excuse I begin writing. Wahoooooo. I am so proud of myself. But I'm hungry again and Daisy (the dog) needs to go out.

I don't need to bore you with any more of my scheduling disasters because it must now be obvious.... what I lack is organization. And the core of organization is mindfulness. So, what I've learned this week is how to be in the "moment".

My new schedule:

Morning coffe: Smell the aroma, taste the bitterness of the beans, feel the caffeine wake up my mind.

Desk: Turn on the computer. Relish every email and think mindfully about what you all have written. Don't delete any emails... that wouldn't be mindful.

If the phone rings, answer it and spend lots of time being mindful of what the caller is saying... especially if he/she is selling something I don't really want.

If the doorbell rings, sprint to answer it in time to thank the UPS or FEDEx person and ask how their day is going. That is mindful

Get another snack... this time mindfully balanced with protein, carbs and fat. Probably requires cooking.

When I get to writing, be mindful. Which kind of writing should be analyzed in more mindful detail.

Whoops. It's dinner time. Let's eat mindfully.

Next month Oprah is hosting 50 lucky guests at Miraval. I wonder if she's bringing her Manolos?

I may be here for another year... what are your mindful practices?????


Anonymous said...

Judith, I'm jealous. Got room for a few more at Miraval? Maybe it's just the ticket for making me more mindful about my dislike for shopping. LOL!

I tend to be on the other end of the road and organize to the point of obsession. If I spent more time writing and less time organizing my thoughts, maybe I'd get more work done.

Finding balance. Yes, that's what I need to do, too.

Annette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annette said...

Hey, Judith, any chance you could get me a job teaching yoga at Miraval???

And sorry about the nervous breakdown, but you seem to be handling it well.

(This is my second attempt to post this. I wasn't very mindful before I hit the publish button...then I became mindful of my typos.)

Tory said...

The problem is finding the TIME to be mindful! (I know, a contradiction in terms.)

Gina said...

Be here now, as the saying goes.
But if you were here now, you'd be up to your eyeballs in snow, sleet and freezing rain like the rest of us. Enjoy!

I deal with my monkey mind by moving from one thing to another a lot -- maybe that's not dealing with. Maybe it's just surrender.