I lay face up staring at the slats of the ceiling with a lump of gravel in my stomach.
Was he going to break up with me? How could I fix it?
I needed to write to him.
“I know that I make you feel like you are walking on eggshells very often” I wrote. “And I know that I did the same in my last relationship. Someone at work told me about this thing called self-sabotage, and decided I would like to see someone to see if that is what I am accidentally doing. Because you are lovely and very relaxed, and so was my last boyfriend.
I seem to push you and test you and create fights constantly.
Of course I never intend to and I can’t see it at the time, and I believe completely in every fight I am fighting, and I never intentionally cause fights, but looking back over the long patterns of my behaviour I can see that there is definitely something wrong, and what Jade said about self-sabotaging seems so much like what I seem to do. I don’t want you to tell anyone please, I am embarrased.”
This is copied verbatim from an email to my ex boyfriend at the beginning of 2011.
I went to a psychologist who was the first person who ever tried to teach me about mindfulness.
But back then I was still too cynical, I didn’t see the point.
We broke up a few weeks later.
It shocked me as I re-read the email today. All the roller coaster feelings came back to me and I remembered how abnormal it was for me to feel calm or content back then. On the outside my life looked normal. On the inside I was a mess.
Do you feel anything like I felt?
Do you find it hard to let go of things? Find it hard to quiet the mind chatter so you can just enjoy the little things?
Is your mind taken up with worry, self doubt, and random negative overthinking that spirals into arguments (with yourself and your loved ones)?
Now when I find my emotions taking over my reactions and turning me into a snappy bitch, I notice what’s happening immediately. I direct my attention internally to where the storm is brewing, and I’m able to observe it rather than get caught up in it.
My tantrum with BGC that I mentioned in a previous email was the last time I really felt my emotions were taking me over, and because of all the attention training I’ve been doing over the past few years I was able to stop a giant fight in its tracks.
The more I’ve practiced these techniques, the less and less my tantrummy emotions have shown up.
I’m more grounded, stable, and at peace than I’ve ever been my whole life as a result.
My former self desperately needed those skills. Which is why I’m sharing them with you, in case you can resonate.
When you can observe the emotional storm without getting swept away by it, you get to CHOOSE your reactions and make smarter decisions that you won’t later regret.
However, you need to build up your attention-focusing muscles FIRST so you can successfully choose where to direct your attention the next time your emotions are kicking off and your mind is riling for a fight.
So how do you make your attention-muscles do some push ups?
Let me introduce the Mindful Stroll technique
Here’s how it works. Take 10 minutes out of your day to go for a mindful stroll (even on your walk to work) and keep bringing your attention back to 1. the internal sensations of your muscles working, your feet on the ground, your arms swinging, and 2. Your 5 senses – what you can see, hear, smell, feel…
Though probably not taste unless you’ve always wondered what your neighbour’s fence tastes like.
Practice this technique as often as you can. It may seem simple, but it’s a powerful form of attention training that has the potential to radically shift your reactions and your enjoyment of life.
The more you practice, the better you’ll become at directing your focus where you want it to be,
and the more anchored you’ll feel in the elusive “sense of self” that we’re all looking for.
Though these techniques I’ve shared with you are simple, they’re not as easy as they seem when you come to practice them, lest of all to practice continually.
Which is why I’ve created the Bloody Good Life program, so that you can learn the science behind all these techniques (for your cynical mind who won’t bother until he know’s the whole deal) + a load more techniques + an inspiring community all over the world to learn from and practice with + all your questions answered by me in live group coaching calls and in the private Bloody Good Lifers Facebook group.
Let me introduce you to my favourite part of my job ever:
Bloody Good Life 101 LIVE!
(Have I mentioned it!?)
BGL LIVE is an online 8 week mindfulness training program where you’ll learn how to tame your mind, be more in control of your reactions, and how to find your sense of self and direction so that you can stop the questioning and procrastinating and take decisive action to create your bloody good-est life!