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Gillian Florence

Reflecting on 2021, what gifts or insights did mindfulness bring to your life?

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This week's question asks:

Reflecting on 2021, what gifts or insights did mindfulness bring to your life?

Share with our community anything that mindfulness helped to shift or illuminate in your life last year. I look forward to reading your responses.

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One of the main insights I gained in 2021 from my own Mindfulness Practice is the realization that only 'Love and compassion' bring about true 'inner transformation'. By inner transformation I mean a genuine 'change of heart and mind (emotions and thoughts)' with healing coming deep from inside one's own true nature, in the form of Loving Kindness and compassion, which takes away all fear (there is no fear in love) and subsequently a deeper acceptance of 'What am I really like, as a person' . To paint a picture, it's a bit like in Disney's Beauty and the Beast where during the relationship building between Belle and The Beast (a good analogy me thinks) Mr's Potts (The Tea Pot) sings the following song:

There's something sweet and almost kind
But he was mean and he was coarse and unrefined
And now he's dear and so unsure
I wonder why I didn't see it there before
She glanced this way, I thought I saw
And when we touched she didn't shudder at my paw
No, it can't be, I'll just ignore
But then she's never looked at me that way before
New and a bit alarming
Who'd have ever thought that this could be
True that he's no Prince Charming
But there's something in him that I simply didn't see
Well, who'd have thought
Well, bless my soul
Well, who'd have known
Well, who indeed
And who'd have guessed they'd come together on their own
It's so peculiar
We'll wait and see
A few days more
There may be something there that wasn't there before
You know, perhaps there's something there that wasn't there before
There may be something there that wasn't there before
 
with this song I'm relating to The Beast, in terms of my own relationship with the shadow aspects of my small self (ego), and Mindfulness in 2021 (Awareness) has led me to experience 'something there that wasn't there before', which is simply the discovery that deep inside my being there is a powerful 'loving and gentle' essence that enables me to 'love and accept myself', in every way, as perfectly imperfect, and yes it's a daily practice when I forget or get into a 'Trance of unworthiness' (thanks to Tara Brach), or when I turn my attention outwards to the 'external world of people and problems', I remember to breathe and look inside, to the vast resources of unending love and grace.
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I posed this question, but my answer feels a difficult one for me to put words to. Nevertheless, I am going to give it a go.

Last year was a challenging one for me in many ways - but also a very beautiful one. As life goes, there were highs and there were lows. And yet, I think that last year I was able to really relish in the gifts and beauty of life a lot more, even when things felt difficult. I used mindfulness during difficult times to tune into the simplicity and support of my body and environment - such as the pillow beneath my head when I couldn't sleep at 3am, the breath moving through me when it felt the world was spinning too quickly, the peace of the forest just a couple hundred metres from our house - a reminder to just come back to what is real, to what is here right now. 

As I step into this new year, new (or old but deepening) revelations seem to be coming around our shared humanity, compassion, and kindness. I have been picking up on the energy of divisiveness a lot over the past year (as seen in media, politics, etc.), but I am now feeling or seeing the opportunity to reconnect - to bridge gaps - even if just in my own networks. I think mindfulness is supporting me in honing in on what this present moment asks of me - on what I can truly do in any given moment-, relinquishing a false sense of control over (or desire to fix or manage) the world as a whole.

Hopefully this makes sense 🙂

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I have looked at the past two years as a time of opportunity and learning. I've discovered some things about myself and those I teach. While we all have experienced great difficulty, I have chosen to view it as an opportunity to appreciate how resilient we can be. I discovered new ways of being and teaching (long distance who'd of thought!) I have learned about non-attachment on a deeper level. And I am grateful because I think  this time can teach us to appreciate connection in a more meaningful way.

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Short & brief...I have a greater awareness of how important it is to pass onto others daily Loving-Kindnesses as we all have a greater capacity to to illustrate that Loving-Kindness to others, no matter whom they are! I am more Mindful towards myself and to be aware of of what is going on in my Body...especially when affected by Covid as I am coming out of my Covid infection slowly; my Strength is coming back...

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