‘If we are truly to become mindful of our existence then our recurrent anxieties become not just a wave we watch pass through our mind, not something to be mastered in order to be a better servant, but a call to action in order to become more fully alive.’
Zoe Krupka wrote this for The Conversation – a critical analysis of the role of mindfulness in the corporate space. A hard read for anyone who has uttered ‘maybe try some mindfulness’ as a way to help a person through without acknowledging the power in those words.
I read the last line of her piece over a few times, ‘become more fully alive’. Like savoring a lolly in your mouth for those last few moments before it dissolves completely and the sweetness is gone. What would it mean it feel more fully alive? Do we even know what that is?
There has been an undeniable urge in the rumblings of my soul for the last year or so, I haven’t been able to give it a name. Some days it manifests as fear, other days its just plain and simple anxiety, some days it screams at me, others; moreso when I’m busy doing something interesting or I’ve had enough sleep for the world to look functional (most parents of small people get what I say when I say this) make it sound like a whimper. The rumblings have been my own call to action, a funnel of sorts, borne from years of pushing and pushing, of achieving, of recovering, of learning more about who I am, and more and more relaxing safely in to the relationships around me.
A call to action to step off for a bit, to not be so ego driven.
I’ve been guilty of the corporatization of mindfulness at times. Some times when I run a workshop, or get stuck with a client, or share some snippets of skill development in supervision sessions I do a quick overview of how mindfulness might assist a person. How letting our thoughts wash over us, once we acknowledge they exist, can help in pushing past those barriers to help us find new ways of being, new ways of doing.
But the reality is, it’s not as simple as that.
My own narratives the long, complicated threads that exist in that swirling part of my brain need more than a handful of minutes to watch them float away. The thing is when they float away, they swirl right on back. Then they tend it hit you on the ass just to make a point.
Same can be said for those reaching out for help where trauma, where long term sadness, where violence, where family of origin issues pervade; they all need attention and understanding and care. Sometimes a chat at work, a quick seminar or a downloaded app cant offer that. Time is the essence, time for us to explain ourselves to others, time for us to explain ourselves to ourselves is key.
So how do you listen out for your own call to action? How loud does the call need to be for you to know when it arrives? How we might shift to be feeling more fully alive relates to a multitude of issues as I see it;
- Fear of missing out
- Financial uncertainty
- Uncertainty of what the repercussions of a shift in direction would mean to us, our families, our identity
- Difficulty in stepping away from what we perceive we are supposed to do versus what that rumbling is telling us that we must
- Lack of assurances that the universe will make good on the call to action we begin to listen to
- The muddying of the call, the way it gets diluted when we ask too many people what we should do next, what we should do first, what messages we should look out for…
I don’t have the answers. I think part of the understanding of the need to heed the call to action is to understand what makes our own unique reactions useful or not useful to us in the long run. For me I realised that the call to action comes often and in many forms. I heard Liz Gilbert talk last year and her message then, just like now, is that we need to be open to the universe sending us magic BUT if we miss it on its journey to us, don’t fret because it will come again in a different form.
I wont keep thinking I need to watch the anxieties wash away. Or to suggest the same to others. There is space for the call to action, that’s the belief I hold on to as I edge closer and closer to understand what I need to settle in to next. That’s my mindfulness.
Have you noticed the creep of mindfulness in to so many spaces? Does it dilute its message or do you appreciate the transition from black and white support to existing more in the liminal wellness space?