Shona's Headspace- Living it large
Everyone has a motivation to start meditating. Mine was that I tended to live a bit too fast and furious! Excessive stressand focus at work coupled with excessive overcompensating (with coffee, cigarettes, parties, chocolate), and generally just chasing things left right and centre to make myself feel better, eventually took its toll.
So when I started meditating, I very quickly realised that these behaviours were responses to cravings. Strong cravings yes, insanely strong at times, but cravings nonetheless. And so the more I sat, the more I could see that these cravings came and went. They would pop up, and (if I sat and watched them with curiosity and patience), they would pass. All of them. Within a matter of weeks, and without much effort at all, I stopped smoking, cut out coffee, and life began to ease back into a much more manageable pace.
So you might think – awesome, job done, life is surely just a flow of calm and clarity now? Well, not quite…
Here’s the deal. Like a small child who finally learns how to ride a bike, and in the overexcitement, they go hell for leather in one direction until they realise that they are completely lost, a long way from home and really hungry; I may well have done the same with ‘managing’ my cravings.
I felt very strongly that I needed to curb my ‘bad’ behaviour (as I had labelled it), and with a regular practice, became very good (and rather smug!), at controlling what I did and did not do. But in essence I just applied the same attitude and approach to being ‘good’, as I had to being ‘bad’ – I went a bit too fast and furious. And I found recently that on some occasions, I might actually be starting to deny myself some of the fun stuff in life. Becoming a little uptight some might say! But mindfulness isn’t about being uptight. In fact it’s far far from it, it’s completely the opposite! It’s about being open. It’s about increasing your awareness: of everything.
The good, the bad and the ugly. So it’s ok and completely normal to feel intense desire for a cake, for a big night out, for a glass of the finest red wine. It’s great! Let it out! And it’s ok to actually have a cake, a big night out, a glass of wine. It’s just nice to be able do these things with full awareness of whether you genuinely want them or not.
So next time you feel bad for wanting that piece of chocolate, don’t. Have it. A piece of chocolate is a good thing! It’s just being sick after a whole box of Thornton’s which isn’t.