I recently came across this very good article in Huffington Post on mindfulness. I’ve written before about what a valuable tool just paying attention is, how increasing our awareness helps us increase our capacity to deal effectively with the ups and downs of our lives.
“Don’t look for mindfulness to cure your anxiety, depression or addiction, look at it more as a new way of relating to life, a way of coming home, nurturing a healthier heart and opening up to the experience of being alive.”
More than once when a client comes into my office they are looking for a cure. After all, that’s what they seek from their medical doctors. They want to make the sore throat go away or the painful knee to stop hurting. I have to break the news to them that what our work is about is not so much curing them.
I can’t make it so that they will never be sad again. I can help them deal with and perhaps even transform sadnesses that they’ve carried for far too long. I can help them identify the feelings that really don’t belong to them, that are based on faulty beliefs or someone else’s pain inflicted upon them. And I can give them the tools to deal with sadness that comes in the future.
But things like sadness, grief and even anxiety are part and parcel of our humanity. They are acknowledgements of the inevitable changes of life, the ebb and flow that is as relentless as the tides.
I was at the beach with my five-year old great-nephew. He decided that he didn’t like the tide coming in. “Make it stop, Aunt Peggy,” he said. I told him that I didn’t have the power to do that. It’s just what the ocean did.
And change is just what life brings to us. Some changes are better than other, more joyful than others. But mindfulness is one way that we can navigate with some grace the changes that come and the feelings that they bring.