VIEWPOINT: Mindfulness: It's All About Choice
Last updated 8/13/2018 at 2:42pm
I was in my early-50’s when I came to the inescapable realization, genetically based, that there were more years behind me than ahead. Way more.
I didn’t have much of a choice on that, so I had to retire from a very physical occupation as a general building contractor. I began to write...fiction, primarily, first novels and screenplays, and then settling into my favorite genre, live theatre. And in Borrego, I’m now into my fifth year writing for the Borrego Sun.
I can only write what I know. Expressing to others in a meaningful way what I’ve learned in life, especially the humor in it all, has not been that hard for me. What has been hard is moving away from the thoughts – internal unease-turned persecution, if you will – beleaguering my brain and impacting my physical well-being on a fairly constant basis.
Those intrusive thoughts have taken up far too much of the precious time I have left. Why do I still react immediately (too many times on the negative side) to things that way?
Was that Borrego Sun article good enough? What if folks don’t like it?! You moron, you spelled his name wrong – again! I need new batteries for my golf cart already?! Where did all the money go this month? I feel a little put-off by that remark. It’s time to put my dog to sleep.
And on and on it goes. But I’m not alone. We all suffer in a certain way as we “react” to life’s moments. Some might argue we do it unconsciously, but even if true, does that mean we can’t make a conscious change this late in life, or at least choose to make a minor but positive adjustment to how we react? And that’s where “Transformational Mindfulness” comes into play. Offered in an 8-week course (twice a week for about an hour each at the library – and free of charge), Tia Robinson, a former teacher in Borrego Springs, related the common urge or “hook” triggering our habitual tendency to close down.
Her Mindfulness training reveals how observing our reaction in the moment, and then initiating and sustaining a different internal conversation, can make all the difference in the world. “To get unhooked,” says Robinson by way of reference documents she puts into practice during the course, “we begin by recognizing that moment of unease and learn to relax in that moment.”
Turns out we all have time enough left to make a conscious choice as to how we react in the moment to anything and everything life gives us, or throws at us. And as a direct consequence of that choice we, and even those around us, can be better off.
The Mindfulness journey thus begins with a simple choice for Borregans: Am I too old to learn something new? Or not. This writer chose the latter.