Lately I’ve been finding myself slipping like buggery on the slippery downward slope of negativity.
Earlier in the year I had to stop working from my co-working space partly because I couldn’t guarantee that I wouldn’t burst into tears randomly most days, I wrote about that here.
A number of my friends and family are having some really epically shit times too and my heart goes out to them. Sometimes it doesn’t come back to me without a bunch of empathetic bruises.
Bloody Good Chap and I have been taking some scarily serious looks at whether we really want to be together despite our very very many differences. The love and respect is there, but when big questions arise,
it’s incredibly destabilising and scary.
As I wrote about here – I’m also seeing a psychologist and opening up cans of worms that definitely didn’t want to be opened, so
the emotional fallout from that is hitting me like a container ship at random times.
And I’ve withdrawn from many of my friends because Neville keeps telling me everyone probably doesn’t want to be mates with me anyway,
especially not now that I’m so much flatter than they’ve ever seen me. I also know the power my negative mind has to swiftly destroy friendships, he used to do it regularly.
Here at Project Self headquarters (AKA my house, often near my fridge and on Slack with my worldwide team of legends), we’re making some major, expensive technological changes to a few of our systems, and though it will be massively beneficial for our team and my clients in the long term, in the short term, it’s a big chaotic head-fuck of unsolvable technology bugs, annoying support staff, and mysterious stuff going missing.
My project manager is also pregnant and winding down from work, and I’m realising more than ever why we need amazing managers in the world – jaysus how did I ever not have one – I’m ending up reviewing and answering and troubleshooting every single question from about 7 of my amazing team members and it means that most days I get not one skerrick of the tasks done that are on MY list.
It also means my attention is drawn in 50 places and my nervous system is all over the show with all the things going wrong,
it feels like an apocalypse, when really, it’s just not.
And that’s not even to mention the madness and the hatred going on all over the world.
So all in all, Neville feels like it’s been one thing after another, and he’s getting all negative about it.
My resilience and ability to stay positive and to see the bigger perspective seem to have been slowly leaching out of me with every little hit.
If you’ve been around a while you might remember, a long while back I wrote about the day when Bloody Good Chap told me he didn’t think I had a negative bone in my body.
As it turns out, those negative bones were still hiding in Neville’s Wardrobe of Emotions, and he still brings them out to try on from time to time so I have to learn to deal with all over again.
The thing about mindfulness is, at first, it requires effort to practice;
you have to keep reminding yourself to do it. Which is why I suggest that people do the 6 Days to Decisiveness Mindfulness challenge over and over, to train your attention to go where you want it to.
As you practice, it starts to become more natural,
you find yourself being mindful and dropping negative thoughts with ease, without even thinking about it.
As the science researcher John Teasdale says “Mindfulness is a habit, it’s something the more one does, the more likely one is to be in that mode with less and less effort.”
But like any habit, if it becomes too easy, as it did for me, we’re more likely to drop all effort and ride on our new-found bloody goodness until we run out of fuel and/or hit a wall.
Recently I’ve hit a wall and run out of easy-mindfulness fuel all at once.
Those negative bones are back to teach me some new lessons.
My life isn’t perfect and BGC was mistaken, I DO have loads of negative bones in my body, but unlike my negative days a few years ago, one thing I always feel sure of is that I have the tools to pull myself out of a rut when I accidentally stumble in there.
Even when I’ve dug myself into a deeper-than-average trench without realising, and it takes a while to venture my way out again, I always know what needs to be done.
So I’ve been ramping up the mindfulness these last few stressful hectic weeks,
in between working almost every spare moment of my days and nights.
But I’m making sure to meditate most mornings,
crazy mad busy as my mind has been lately. Even though most of my meditations this week have been 90% me lost in thought, 4% contemplating how lost in thought I am and 3% focussing on what I was meant to be on focussing on (3% is unaccounted for). I’m making sure to do it.
Yoga has become non negotiable again
2-3 mornings or evenings a week (mostly evenings as I’ve been doing my bad habit of working til 2-3am most nights).
I’m listening to yoga nidra body scans before I go to sleep most nights, which resets my nervous system into much needed CHILLLLL mode (link to my favourite yoga nidra dude with an unfeasibly long name here).
And when I’m sitting at my desk freaking out over something minor,
I’m making sure to get up, put on my coat, and take a short stroll around the block while trying to focus my wandering attention on what I can hear, see, smell and feel.
And it’s working.
For the first time in a couple of weeks today, I feel lighter, more hopeful, and more inspired to write.
If you’re in a rut with me – it’s time to start squishing the things you know make you feel better back into your days, which ever way you can.
If you don’t have or feel you have enough rut-exiting tools in your toolbelt yet –
keep an eye out, my mind-taming, life-changing, stress-reducing mindfulness course is opening for registration next month!
I’ll probably be the Dalai Lama of zen positivity by then eh?