A Man Looks Back

The past two years have been incredible. Like, incredible in the sense that if you had told me two years ago what I was about to experience, I wouldn’t have believed you. It has really been one wild ride, in pretty much every area of life. You probably already know this, if you have read some of my previous posts. But why I mention it now is the different perspective I have on things. A perspective I wouldn’t have had at other times in my life. But it’s a point of view I fully intend to take forward with me for the rest of my days. Simply put: I have no regrets. Not a single one. The thing is, my whole approach to life has changed over the past year, and it is the greatest change I could have possibly made.

Eyes on the skies

No, this isn’t another discussion around how grateful I am to have changed careers or to have spent huge amounts of time with a wonderful partner and wonderful friends. These are amazing things, for which I am truly thankful. But I’ve probably discussed those things enough. And to be honest, what I want to share is a realisation that can have far longer lasting impact than the good relationships and life changes I’ve enjoyed. I may well be late to the party on this one, but it is at the core of my decision to pursue a career as a teacher and coach with mindfulness at the centre of my philosophy. I’ll stop going on now and get to the crux of what I’m really writing about.

It’s almost three years ago now that I bought my first books about mindfulness and meditation, and sadly almost two years since I started meditating myself. Yes, those books made excellent dust collectors for a good twelve months. And for a good little while, I blocked my own development by unknowingly limiting myself to meditation, not really understanding that there was much more to mindfulness than that. So much more. And it is the way that being mindful, living a mindful life, can help us interact with our past and future in a more positive way in the present moment that draws me to it.

You see, I’ve understanding some things about life more and more. Perhaps some new definitions that work really well for me – even though they may be too simplistic for anyone who has extensively studied psychology. Anyway, I’ll try to explain them here. So, we experience depression when we spend all of our time living in the past. We remember the bad experiences we’ve had and the dumb things we’ve done, and realise that we can’t go back and change them. But we also remember the good times we’ve had and realise that we can’t relive them either. So if we spend all our time there, it’s a recipe for depression. The future cousin of depression is anxiety. We experience anxiety when we place predictions around things that haven’t even happened yet – and as humans we are built to predict the worst case scenario. You might say it’s natural, but I don’t think anyone really likes the feeling of anxiety. At this point you might not agree with the words I’ve match to definitions, but hopefully we’re on the same page with the definitions themselves.

So it’s this understanding that has made me realise the value of living mindfully. If you’re

Shades of grey

still sceptical, let me try to explain further. I’m living in the present moment, and I’m at peace with my past. Being at peace with your past doesn’t mean forgetting it. What it means is that you accept that it was your past, remember and reminisce with your friends, learn from the feelings you didn’t enjoy, but that you don’t live there. Much like the future. I will make plans with people and look forward to various things, but I refuse to pin my happiness on a particular outcome. Because who the hell knows what happens? The only time we can be at peace is right now. The only place we can be at peace is right here. If you spend you’re whole life thinking happiness is somewhere else, then you’ll probably never get there.

So why would I leave a solid career as a secondary teacher to teach people this stuff? Well, it sounds simple. But let me tell you, it’s not. It’s a process to learn to catch yourself thinking about the past or the future. It’s not easy to always be in the present moment. I’m certainly not always there, but I’m there more and more. And it’s something you have to learn. Something you have to practice and maintain. The practice and the maintenance are a minuscule price to pay for the things that you gain. Since I have begun practicing mindfulness, I have been calmer, had a clearer mind, been able to process emotions more effectively. My relationships have improved and my acceptance of myself and others as imperfect humans has enriched my life. I’d love to hear from anybody who thinks they would be happier without these things in their life! I can promise you – mindfulness makes it better!

If you’re interested in finding out more about mindfulness, my business venture or my services, contact me through this blog, my website mynded.com.au or Instagram/Facebook – @mynded

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