Good news – after six months, the three clots (visitors from inner space) would be gone and, voila, I could resume my regular activities. But I had to cancel my annual cross-country skiing trip to Maine. Not happy. After a few weeks into the PE regime, guess who was grumpy, restless, anxious and getting more impatient?
Most of my weekly schedule revolved around anticipating my visit to the blood clinic to get my blood checked and monitoring daily diet. I was feeling annoyed and not doing especially well with the occasional chest pains that flared-up when I went for my short walks.
I felt stuck (sound familiar?) and wanted to find a way to deal with this issue in a more proactive manner.
I had read about a local Mindfulness program. I read thru the program material, went to an orientation program and signed-up for the 8 week program.
Jon Kabot-Zinn developed the Mindfulness program as a medical model. A quick search will provide much background information about this program that started at University of Massachusetts in the 1990s and offered across the US and abroad.
Learn more about the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society, University of Massachusetts Medical School here.
- The Awareness Triangle (Body-Mind-Emotion) - A framework for developing self-awareness
- A description of several Mindfulness strategies
- My reactions to the Mindfulness strategies
- Overview Chart of the Mindful Program
The twirl and swirl of daily activities are ‘observed’ from both close and far. In other words, Mindful strategies are used to better understand a particular dynamic that evolves (all about you here) as a result of The Issue.
"Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing." - Thích Nhất Hạnh
I was able to limit knee-jerk reactions by ‘moving’ The Issue into the container and pausing to reflect on The Issue.
Working to both identify this tendency and reframe these thoughts moved my thinking lower on the scale of judgment.
Taking the time to identify and reflect on these thoughts enabled me to be pause and question my patterns. Asking the question: Is this judging stuff providing what I need to deal with The Issue? And how can I shift my perspective to reduce or eliminate this judgment? The role of critic-at-large was my default. I needed to learn to practice neutral observer-at-large. Also, spending my time and energy in a productive dynamic (think wellness) was a major goal.
Asking this question was a helpful prompt to assess if I was focused on Now or Past-Future thoughts.
Most of my thinking (maybe 80%) revolved around past and future thoughts. Being present seemed an afterthought.
Being intentional regarding when I was Being Present helped to identify patterns of thinking and related time/energy focused on my current experiences.
The practice of actually identifying the specific Body-Emotion-Thoughts combined with Non-Judgment, Moment to Moment and Affectionate Curiosity strategies helped me gain clarity about significant elements that were influencing my reactions. Working with the triangle provided space to pause…before reacting. Most importantly, checking my behavior across three basic categories (Judgment, Moment to Moment and Affectionate Curiosity) enabled me to assess my reactions and determine if they are contributing to my goals.
"The components of the AT can be a little more clear as in differentiating between what we are attending to - body, thoughts, and emotions - and how - using the strategies/attitudes of curiosity, non-judgement, and moment to moment - by way of practices/exercises like body scan and awareness of breath in order to develop awareness." - Shalini Bahl, PhD
Richard Boucher is a Learning and Development Consultant
Richard Boucher has worked as a Learning and Development professional for over twenty-five years across a wide range of settings: Public School, Corporations and Higher Education.
He is a recognized expert in the application of the ADDIE (Analysis-Design-Implementation-Evaluation) model to develop Learning and Development projects. Read More...
Shalini Bahl Milne, PhD is a contributing expert to this article on mindfulness. Shalini is a Search Inside Yourself Certified Teacher, a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Teacher and is dedicated to Corporate Wellness.
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