Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience. - Jon Kabat-Zinn
1. INT. WEXLER HOUSE – NIGHT
BRENDA enters the kitchen.
Steven, can you come in here for a sec?
STEVEN husband of BRENDA is sitting in the den watching television.
2. DEN - STEVEN PACING.
STEVEN can hear the tone of irritation in his wife’s voice, and as he walks into the room and sees her face he feels his stomach knot up in fear and his body tingle with defensiveness.
“Uh oh, I’m in trouble. Is she upset again? What did I do this time? It’s probably her fault anyways. Don’t let her push you around! Fight back! I’m always messing up. I understand why she’s disappointed in me. I should do things better, I’m always letting everyone down.”
All these thoughts swim through my head in a moment and immediately any clarity I felt before is gone, replaced by emotional thoughts of fear, defensiveness, hope to please others, wounds from previous experiences, and endless patterns of miscommunication, to name a few.
3. DEN - BRENDA enters the den.
“Mike, I can’t keep cleaning up after you, I’m not your mother,”
(nervous and anxious)
Now the thoughts are coming up even worse, but STEVEN stays silent.
Defensiveness rages and his body tenses into attack position, “That makes two of us, I don’t want you be my mother!” his mind screams, but he keeps his mouth shut, knowing that this kind of reactivity doesn’t result in happy smiling times. Deep breaths.
He notices the tension in his gut and the short breaths that he’s taking.
He relaxes his body and lets his breath go all the way down to his belly, and with his exhalation he relaxes his body even more. He keeps looking her in the eyes and his attention is now split. Part of his mind is aware of her, what she says and what she’s communicating through her body language. The other part is aware of his own internal chaos, the adrenaline tensing his body, his emotions and thoughts run amuck. He directs that part of his attention to the sensations in his feet and takes another belly breath, relaxing his body again as he exhales.
(slowly, begins to speak.)
I can see that you’re angry right now…?
FADE TO BLACK:
Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think. - Buddha
Can you relate? Those moments of having no idea of what to say at “that moment” and clumsily attempting to connect while remaining authentic to ourself. We switch between habitual patterns of defensiveness and emotional knots of trying to please. Sometimes we connect with a clarity underneath all that mental chatter, underneath the hopes and fears, the patterns and beliefs accumulated over our lifetime, but it’s hard to do in the moment.
These are the moments that we practice for when we practice mindfulness. Allowing our thoughts to come and go without getting swept away by them. We learn to use the anchor of the breath in our practice so that the mind can stay grounded in times of agitation and emotion.
Slowly, by learning to be passive observers of the thoughts, emotions, and sensations that pass through our awareness, we begin to see the space and clarity underneath.
It’s in that space that we begin to connect with an authentic voice - a voice that isn’t coming from hope and fear, that isn’t easily swayed by the host of persuasive thoughts cascading through our minds.
So often we live in our heads and speak from there, so we say what we think we should say. We say things hoping to gain approval from others or fearing to be rejected by them.
Rarely do we bring our awareness down into the body and connect with our own intuition, our gut. Through practicing mindfulness, we can develop the capacity to break the chains of discursive thinking and drop down from all the confusing emotions and mental chatter into our own body, reconnecting with what it is we really want to say. We begin to speak from a space of confident grounded presence. We are able to see our thoughts without buying into them, and we gain the ability to question whether they are in alignment with who we are.
When we learn to connect with the present and stop following the hopes and fears that drive us so consistently into ruin, we give ourselves the chance to interact with others and the world with wisdom and compassion. Of course, the times when your spouse, child, boss or friend is upset with you aren’t the easiest moments to find your authentic voice, but hopefully with some practice we can begin to speak from a better space when life presents its never-ending barrage of challenges.
Connecting to our authentic voice with mindfulness…. it takes practice.
Mindfulness isn’t difficult. We just need to do it. - Sharon Salzberg
Creative Life Coach and Believer of living a Soul-Driven Life
Curiously Creative Founder, Creative Soul Care™ LLC
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