Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Power of Mindfulness

Before we delve deep into the concept of mindfulness, I just want to scale it back a bit and confess something to you all.  Ya'll, online dating is hard.  It totally messes with your mind and any remote amount of self-confidence you may have.  Subjecting yourself on a weekly basis to complete and total strangers for the purposes of romantic involvement is draining and somewhat unhealthy.  

I have gone out on a couple first dates but nothing more.  I have been in a really not-so-pleasant mental state, constantly judging myself on my appearance and ultimately, quite superficial aspects of my personality alone.  Coupled with the fact some people don't want to physically date but rather would prefer a texting only relationship, I was sick of trying to figure out which tops showed off my tits and non-aggressive ways to coax a male into a face to face meeting.  I was in my own personal hell, to be honest.

Now normally I'm a somewhat spiritual person and I had been whispering a prayer nearly every weekend, lying alone and wide awake in bed, wondering what I was doing wrong or not enough of.  "Please God, send me a sign or something.  Am I wasting my time?  Should I be focusing on something else", I would ask.

I didn't get an answer until I was listening to NPR Radio last Sunday afternoon after buying dog food.  I was listening to the Humankind segment by David Freudberg, and he was speaking with his guest George Mumford , about "The Power of Concentration".  Now I'm not a sports fan so I didn't recognize George Mumford as the consultant to coach Phil Jackson, and responsible for teaching Michael Jordan and other athletes to focus on their mental game, and harness their powers of concentration.  

Mumford was speaking about mindfulness and "Mindfulness"according to Wikipedia and credited to other sources,  "is the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment, which can be trained by meditational practices that are described in detail in the Buddhist tradition."

He explained that to simply "Be present.  Be in the moment" would allow one to gain a  better clarity and concentration that would be needed to act and also react better, for athletes this meant being "in the zone".  Being able to stand up and rise above pressure or surrounding chaos of a crucial game to make that winning shot.  

Now for me, personally, what do I care about being "in the zone"?  I'm far from being an athlete but what I realized sitting in my hot car listening to God talk to me through the radio, was that I have been in the zone before, at work, and it has been an experience in which I love myself the most and surprise myself the most, for being extraordinarily capable and being completely within in my element.  This happened when I worked at OfficeMax, and had learned enough to run all the computers, all the massive industrial printers, the cutting machine, the folding machine, and the cash register.  

In the space of a unexpectedly busy Friday, I knocked out print orders of all kinds variations, left and right, all by myself. It felt amazing. I was working elegantly and efficiently, nothing could or would stop me.  Like a robot that had just learn to replicate the most beautiful and heart breaking ballet routine.  Being mindful, I set aside my expectations and my fears and simply, just did the work.  

I realized then, driving home, listening to Mumford, that I would just simply "Be present".  I won't try to color any of my future dating experiences with expectations or fear.  I would just live in the moment and know that my clarity would allow me to act accordingly, no matter what I choose to pursue.



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