Where are you right now?
Not metaphorically, as in ‘where is your life right now?’ Or ‘where is your head right now?’ Or even ‘where are your thoughts?’
Take a look around you. Where do you find yourself in this very second?
(Where is your life unfolding this very second?)
And then zoom in even closer, from the external to the internal. To the very body you occupy inside this moment.
How does it feel to be here? To be you in this moment.
Welcome to mindfulness…
It lifts us out of autopilot and rescues our experience from the slipstream of the everyday grind. It lets us dive in and connect with the minutiae of our existence anytime we want. It helps us live deliberately – NOW. To see, sense, smell, taste, experience our life. As it is. Without judgment.
One side-effect of this is that we can come to truly know the transience of things. That feelings come; and they go.
So even if you’re generally feeling down or stressed, if you mindfully check-in with yourself and actually see what you notice just now, moment by moment, you may find that there’s also islands of reprieve from the pain. Pools of clarity. That the grip of sorrow or pain might not be quite so fast or constant as it might first have seemed. That other qualities can exist alongside it, too. (Similarly, mindfulness can also help with physical pain).
More and more therapy modalities are weaving mindfulness through their paradigms: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
So what might it be like for you to use this virtual GPS in your life?
To find out where you really are just now?
Where your feet are and what they can feel.
What temperature you experience around you.
Whether some parts of your body feel warmer than others.
Where you notice that your clothing touches your skin.
Where you might feel the air circulating against you.
What do your fingertips notice?
What do you hear?
What’s the quietest sound around you just now?
What does it feel like to breathe? To inhale, chest and stomach expanding. Then to exhale and release.
And what is it like just to be here, with all of these sensations, just in this moment?
So often, global positioning systems are used to focus on where to go next; the destination over the discovery along the way. They’re about where to aim for; the then, not the now. They’re already projecting forward, planning ahead and pre-empting your next move.
And in western culture, which embraces ideals like ambition and individualism and ‘success’, it can be tempting to live a bit like this. To always be living slightly ahead of ourselves. (To be leaving ourselves behind in a way).
But perhaps mindfulness can offer you a different kind of GPS. A way to find where your life is unfolding just as it is, moment by moment.
A way of finding out where you are…
Photo: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also co-facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She is the editor of a journal on counselling and psychotherapy and she provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.