My “I Am”: Mindfulness

Ahhhh. Day two of my better self and I’m already on a journey to my higher self. Except, I’m late! That’s not exactly the way you want to start off your mindfulness practice.

I had only met the instructor, Jess, once before at an event BounceRehab held at the local WeWork building. Somehow I knew she would be a stickler for starting exactly on time. In fact, that’s one of the things I find most refreshing about the classes I’ve attended and observed at Bounce so far – everything runs like a machine! Not one ounce of your workout time is wasted by late starts or early finishes. That’s just the sort of thing I like. I like when all the onus is on you to be all you can be. No excuses!

As I rushed down Harris Street with all my work in tow – laptop here, grocery bag there – I thought about cancelling. “But I can’t cancel!” I thought. “On Day 2 of a new me! Why did I even bother in the first place?”

So, I didn’t. And to be honest, I wasn’t drastically late. I just new the session would already be started and for that, I felt incredibly guilty.

Thankfully, the front door to the 36 Harris Street location opens with little effort and incredible quietness. The ambience of the location is already silent, not bustling to-and-fro like the BounceActive classes at 183 Harris. The front room has a series of chairs laid out for waiting patriots.

Despite this being their original Pyrmont location, I had never been here before. I wasn’t sure what would be in store for me as I climbed the short set of stairs to the loft space where I could see the class was already in session.

So, I quickly and quietly untangled myself from headphones, badges, keys, purchases, laptops, bags, and jackets. Then I crept up the stairs and was happy to find that Jess had proactively laid out the zafu and zabitton set for my meditative comfort. I could slide into place and sit comfortably without anyone else in the class feeling disturbed.

I quickly closed my eyes and readied my position. I tried to calm my rushing heartbeat as I listened to her words.  

“As you find yourself in a comfortable position…”

“Oh, good!” I thought. “We’re just beginning.”

Before eagerly signing up for this meditation class to enjoy on my off-day – the day after my first Pilates class – I hesitated slightly to think if someone like me could sit still for 30 minutes, let alone sit still for 30 minutes in the middle of the day! I knew I was up for the challenge. This was, after all, my new normal. I wanted to be the type of person that sat in guided meditation multiple times a day, letting my worldly worries disappear as I focused on clearing and grounding.

So, if that’s who I wanted to be then the time was now. As of this moment I AM that person. And what better time to reflect on my presence than at the start of my “I Am”?

I have been in mindfulness classes before, maybe. I wasn’t actually sure if I had ever taken a mindfulness course. While I had meditated a hundred times over the years from the comfort of my own home, I’d never gone beyond a 15 minute meditation and rarely ever did things the “proper way” like in a chair or legs crossed on a pillow.

For a long time, long, long ago in a land far, far away, I had been a regular at a local Yoga Nidra class. I expected mindfulness to be similar as Yoga Nidra was essentially a sleep-inspired guided meditation course done while lying in shivasana pose. Those Yoga Nidra classes lasted anywhere from 45-60 minutes, and I was certainly a pro at the art of sleeping meditation! Maybe this would not be so different?

From my short stints of guided meditations at home, I knew the vernacular. I still doubted my ability to sit in active, yet blank-minded presence for half an hour.

Here we go…

The worry of time melted away with all thoughts of what I should or could be doing in that moment. In fact, I was impressed with how easily I was able to leave behind any worries over all my “stuff” stacked in one of the waiting area chairs. I simply was: present.

I knew without a doubt that this is who I wanted to be and this is where I wanted to be. Here mattered. I mattered. Above all else, this was the most important thing I could be doing with my time in this moment.

Presence.

No thoughts of to-do lists or work-worries found even a moment to creep in. I was content in the moment. I found an instant sense of peace simply by listening to Jess remind us periodically to come back to our breath and be mindful only of ourselves, not our thoughts or anything away from this very moment.

One thing I find is the most difficult about guided meditations is the vibe and voice of the instructor. Even with guided meditation apps, the instructor can throw off your ability to feel that sense of calm. Jess is nothing like that. She had the perfect sense of tone that would rise and fall like a wave of breath. That’s exactly what you want in an instructor – a vocal pattern that reflects your breathing pattern allows you to instantly find that sense of center.

And just like that, the class was over.

My day felt new all over again. Not a restart. Not a refresh. Genuine newness.

I was happy that the space was so quiet. The class was small. There was not even the click of a mouse or clack of a keyboard from the front desk admin.

After class, everyone left with a smile on their face and a reverence about them. Me included.

I knew the day had to go on, but it felt less like a having to “go back” to my day and more like I was greeting the day for the first time.

I was able to gather my things and go back to my office where, as some days tend to go, I was met with a number of last minute emergencies and fires to put out for unforeseen circumstances. While no one is ever happy to have to greet their work day with a slew of emergencies, the overwhelm, panic, and anger that often come with such frenzy were more easily subdued. 

I simply moved forward through time knowing that I would honor myself by doing all I could do. I wouldn’t stress about my capability to do it all or meet a burning deadline. I would simply know, I’m doing all I can.

While I am human and the overwhelm of the day managed to catch up with me as I sat in a restaurant waiting for dinner at 10pm, still clacking away with my laptop bearing all right there in the center of the table, I was incredibly aware of the strategic calm I felt as I learned about each problem. And as I wrapped up my day, feeling beat, I knew more than anything else that I needed to sign up for more classes.

We can’t always plan what will happen each day. We can’t even prepare to be entirely capable of the unknown. Rather than living another day with the old adage, “It could be worse,” I decided I would book in my next meditation course knowing for a fact that “It can be better.” 

Join me in my journey from “I Can” to “I Am” as I blog my way there.

Next stop: acupuncture.