I’ve just finished doing my teacher training for MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction).
This morning I was looking forward to walking my dog Charlie for the first time in a few days, so I took her to the longest dog beach in Wollongong. When I got there it was blowing a gale. It was very uncomfortable and it reminded me that one of our practices in MBSR is being “mindful of the unpleasant”. (Much less comfortable than being mindful of the pleasant of course!)
So, I noticed my body sensations (cold nose, cold toes, cold face, sand in my eyes) my thoughts (I really wanted to take Charlie on a nice long walk in the sun, I should have worn warmer clothes, at least it might not be so bad returning with the wind on my back), my emotions (disappointment, irritation).
I paused and did a “breathing space”: being mindful of all of the above, then three mindful breaths then opening up to all my experiences right then.
And something strange happened: I started to notice all the pleasant! My toes and nose were warming up as I walked, the wind was making the most amazing patterns with the sand, I noticed the water and the seaweed and rock pools came into vivid focus, the dogs were so happy and playful, the owners all started smiling at me and making pleasantries about the weather.
Of course, we can’t expect this to happen every time we are mindful of the unpleasant but what an unexpected bonus! I’m really looking forward to teaching MBSR at the practice next term. See the rest of my website for details.