Thursday, January 17, 2008

Being Mindful of Mindfulness ...

No sooner had I chatted with Scott about mindfulness yesterday (we're working our way through our "text," ("The Mindful Way Through Depression" -- Chapter Two: The Healing Power of Awareness if you're following along...) ... when the ever-wonderful Therese posted this on Beyond Blue:

Today is the first time in over six months that I woke up with that horrible knot in my stomach--the kind that, I suspect, a priest or sister might feel after robbing a bank. It's like guilt in that I'm convinced it's the result of a recent action, something bad I did. Yet, after searching my conscience, I fail to arrive at any major crime or sin (though there are plenty of little ones).

Early in my recovery I would take a sedative (or ten) on mornings like these, because a tiny seed of agitation was enough to turn and twist my thoughts into layers and layers of distortions, totally disabling me. Before long I'd be shaking nervously, unable to drive my car or load the dishwasher without holding onto something for balance.

Now I try to catch the anxiety in its birth, before it persuades my mind, body, and spirit to collaborate with it. I remember what positive psychologists like Dan Baker and Martin Seligman and neuroscientists like Joseph LeDoux say about a human being's "fear system," generated by that delinquent cluster of brain tissue called the amygdala, which sends messages of panic from my left toenail to my right eyebrow.

I put both index fingers into my ears and shout, "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire." And I wait for the more nuanced, intellectual part of my brain to help me sort out the issue.

So that's what I'm doing right now. Having a conversation with the Harvard-educated part of my brain, which is assisting me in analyzing what is triggering such angst, and which instruments in my recovery toolbox I need to pull out in order to whack the sucker over the top of the head so he doesn't start pulling me into that deep, dark abyss.

Which is mindfulness. And so here I am, being mindful. Mindful of when the universe sends me "reminders" of things. Mindful of how wonderful it is to connect with a good therapist, or other people with my struggles as they work it out and share their efforts over the internet. Mindful of how it seems almost impossible to take a photo of a panda that is NOT ricidulously cute. And mindful of how much easier it is to battle our demons when someone makes us smile at them.

You can read Therese's complete posting here:

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | cna certification