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  • Writer's pictureColin Eveleigh

“I can only be so mindful, for so long, so many times!”

Every story told or situation relayed and shared in the group is a mindful recollection and a truly mindfully direct experience. The surprising, childlike joy of having the gift of a lovely kitten show up on your doorstep, inviting itself to be ‘adopted' and totally transforming your lockdown life ~ love at first sight ~ making you smile all the time! Wonderful!! The strange weeks floating by, when your very elderly parent sadly comes to the natural end of their life ~ far away, out of reach ~ and watching the surreal funeral farewell online ~ that’s something else.. Followed by setting up a video chat group for sibling relatives who don’t always see eye to eye and who behave like children some of the time. The danger of almost blurting out what you feel as you experience great distress from texts ~ and mindfully not doing so. Then seeing, hearing and discovering the vulnerable side of the one you were feeling especially unkind towards and being so glad you didn’t let rip and say anything horrible. Arriving at a scene like something out of a movie, completely misreading what was going on and putting your foot in it big time by being jokey and crass. Turned out there was an ongoing very serious ‘incident' and an unfolding threat to life. Wishing a hole in the ground would swallow you up and then thinking about the person….the missing person. Making you realise that awful things can happen to anyone at any time. That everyone’s life matters. Leading to compassionate thoughts and refections on the life of another and all the other people’s lives this was touching, affecting and impacting ~ including your own. Sharing by video online in a Book Club for the first time and noticing how easy it is to have pre-conceived ideas about the nature of a piece of work. And instead of everyone piling in with their own views, experiences and clever opinions in an effort to out-impress themselves and one another, there was space to reflect and consider. It was different. It was very touching. People were genuinely able to share much more openly and freely and It felt like a privilege to be there. It was a very moving experience. In our group, as we directly experience the personal sharings and silences, I’m noticing, wondering and asking myself ~ not for the first time ~ why is it I tend to say "Thank you" to people after they share? I have many questions I want to ask, and discussions I want to get into. Instead…. I pause and breathe mindfully and the “ Thank you” expresses itself. I don’t need to say Thank you, because the sharing is enough. But “Thank you" comes anyway…. and that’s OK. Further mindful sharings of great distress are here tonight as the lockdown adds even more intensity to a horrendous situation of bullying and harassment by a neighbour. Not being able fully to understand where all this terrible behaviour comes from and knowing that it is being directed at very elderly loved ones who cannot fend for themselves. Experiencing great anguish and helplessness at neither being able to help one's self, nor have people in authority take command of the situation and make it stop. Feeling powerless and murderous towards the perpetrator ~ blind impotent rage. And noticing also a sense of pity towards them. Physically and mentally exhausted and being aware that there is so much we can never know or understand or even change. Then quite naturally and beautifully, people in the group ~ one after another ~ begin to offer a wave of sincere sympathy, saying how sorry they are and how difficult it must be. Perfect! No really. We know we don’t usually offer this kind of comfort in words because we’re 'not that sort of group’. We offer comfort instead by our presence and in listening mindfully. We know this, we feel this but somehow just like the thanks, the comfort comes ~ just as it comes ~ anyway. Working on a project for a year and half now and when reviewing it again in detail yesterday found it to be abhorrently lacking and bad! The feelings about the work were so negative, causing great embarrassment at the thought of what others would think and how much time had been wasted and is it worth continuing anyway, shouldn’t we just junk it and start a new project? Despondency is all set to slide in and enter the scene. Even (shock horror) to the point of thinking in exasperation….  “I can only be so mindful, for so long, so many times!” That’s so funny, you made at least one person's day…. 😂 ….and now you're free to do whatever you choose. There’s something that happens when we take courage to express in front of others our heartfelt and truly difficult emotions like all of those above….  the sharing seems to help us to hold the load more lightly and often brings about a transformation. I think everyone is feeling tired and War weary just now after all we're going through. Emotions and thoughts are very raw and up and down ~ there’s such a lack of what we used to think of as normality. It’s a struggle. Now we are easing the lockdown a bit, apparently we can meet up ~ with social (should that be physical?) distancing of course ~ with someone not from our household. Trying hard to make sense of it all. Trying to achieve and find value and have to accept that we're grumpy and fed up. Up and down, up and down like a Yoyo.  The mindful mind trying to help us survive. Sharing.

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