Mindfulness

Yesterday, I spent the better part of the whole day in bed, suffering from pain that was very much self-inflicted. I’m not looking for sympathy here. I should have been more mindful of what I was doing.

Mindfulness is something that I find acceptable, noble, and worth commiting myself to, but when it comes to actually being mindful I don’t often get it right. For those who might not know what I mean when I speak of mindfulness, here are a few definitions of the term:

Definitions of Mindfulness

“Bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis.” (Marlatt & Kristeller)

“Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn).

“The non-judgmental observation of the ongoing stream of internal and external stimuli as they arise.” (Baer)

“Awareness of present experience with acceptance.” (Germer, Segal, Fulton)

One way that I have mostly mastered this art of being present to experience on a moment-to-moment basis, is in what I eat. When I weighed 120kg (260#), I decided that I wanted to lose weight. To do that, I had to learn to be aware, moment-to-moment, of what I was eating. I had an added incentive to learn this mindfulness about eating, so it was pretty easy. I started by keeping a food diary and writing down every little thing I put into my mouth. This brought me to the awareness of what I was doing with relation to food, and taught me, very quickly where I was going wrong, and how to correct it. The end result being that because I was aware of my eating, I lost 54kg (118#). So, Mindfulness works. You can’t get much better proof than that.

The reason for losing the weight, was health related. I have gallstones, so cutting fat from my diet, and from my body seemed like a good thing to do. It is a good thing to do. In the time I’ve been working at being mindful of my eating, I have had only rare, and mild attacks of gall stone pain.

So, to get back to the beginning of this post: Yesterday I had a gall stone attack. Why? Because over the weekend, I forgot to be mindful of my eating. This wasn’t anyone’s fault, but my own. Ergo, self inflicted.

But it was a good reminder to me about being mindful, of watching and monitoring myself moment-to-moment and being aware of how, and what I eat.

Now, if only I could find a way to get myself to be mindful in other ways.

Do you practice mindfulness? How did you train yourself to be aware?

About megleigh

When not busy writing, Meg Leigh spends her time tending to the most pampered flock of chickens on Australia’s east coast. She would really like to have dragons, but has settled for chickens because they come pretty close. If you need proof of this, try offering a flock of chickens raw meat! (Meg would like to advise she accepts no liability for loss of fingers!) Meg also enjoys reading, keeping fit with her bunch of madcap mates at the local park, and spending time with her adult offspring whenever their schedules allow.
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