Last week I wrote of how I wanted to take action to step into my life as a self-employed mindfulness teacher, rather than stand at the edge of the court prevaricating about jumping in. Perhaps it was writing this that prompted me, but on Tuesday I emailed the organiser of the Mindful Living Show to ask if there were still stands available. I had seen the show advertised months ago, but was following a familiar autopilot of grasping defeat from the jaws of victory by leaving it until it was too late to attend and seeing others gaining the benefit of the contacts and publicity attending the event would give them, whilst I remained unseen in my room!
The event was taking place this Friday and Saturday, so emailing a few days before it was due to start was really leaving it until the last minute! But the organiser immediately replied to say that there was one stand left. Fortunately this was a small stand at a discounted rate. So I booked it, not knowing how I would get everything ready in time but trusting it was what was needed.
Like all deadlines this one focused my mind. I needed to get a print ready copy of my logo to have printed as a back drop, and my friend Kam, who designed the logo years ago, did a star job of returning the format I needed immediately. I then had to design fliers for the Monday 1 hour group and gay/bi/trans men’s group so that I would have something on the stand to give away! As well as ordering new business cards. I was able to do this all just in time to have them delivered on Thursday. All of the admin and sign up details needed to be completed overnight, so I focused myself on going through the forms, uploading the information required and completing the registration process online.
Basically I was simply not who I think myself to be but a supper efficient version who feels very unfamiliar! Perhaps it is more that I need to allow this version of myself to be as valid and to take charge as I allow the hesitant and unfocused persona to distract me from my task!
I find this sense of playing with an identity a lot of fun. Over the year a view of who I am has built up as feeling familiar and it is almost as if choices are made to confirm this view, the patterns of habit that feel so familiar. But when stung out of the familiar mode a different approach is needed and it draws forth a different experience of myself.
It was the same when I set up the Monday group. I had no idea how I would get the money to pay the advance rent and deposit or how it would work out, but I trusted it would and let in.
It reminds me that although mindfulness is often seen as a tool to encourage quiet contemplation and peaceful presence, the power of this focused mind is the ability to then act effectively under pressure. Rather than wishing life could be more still, there is simply a response to how life is: enjoying the stillness when there, thriving in the challenges when they arise. The organiser actually congratulated me on getting everything done more efficiently in a few days than many people who had had months to prepare. Perhaps this says something for the effect of working to a tight deadline, but also of 25 years of mindfulness practice which does seem to help me stay present in the moment! Whilst at the show I was able to have a brain scan whilst meditating which seems to confirm this. But more of that in another email.
As a result of going to the Mindful Living Show I now have a number of contacts to follow up on for potential work. I met a gold medal winner from the 2012 Olympics who used mindfulness as part of his training and is interested in working together to promote mindfulness as well as people looking for mindfulness to be provided in their companies. So it paid off to take the leap. Not only that, but it also set a new neural network in place – one that believes more in myself as a mindfulness provider, and in myself as a player on the stage with other mindfulness providers.
Where might you be letting yourself fall into familiar patterns of limitation? How would it be to live another version of yourself that is not limited by this self-view?