A journey back to my innate goodness – Guardian Life – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News
By Chika Okorafor
September 12, 2022 | 2:20 p.m.
I practice mindfulness and compassion because it helps me improve in life. This thing called adulthood is not for children! Mindfulness and compassion, or “listening” as I like to call it, is nothing new to me and my success certainly didn’t happen overnight. Mindfulness is the awareness of knowing what you are doing…
I practice mindfulness and compassion because it helps me improve in life. This thing called adulthood is not for children!
Mindfulness and compassion, or “listening” as I like to call it, is nothing new to me and my success certainly didn’t happen overnight.
Mindfulness is the awareness of knowing what you are doing as you are doing it rather than being on “autopilot” and compassion is asking what you need at all times. This is how I discovered, rediscovered, experienced, used and benefited from mindfulness and compassion and how when I realized that this had been the common thread of my whole life, life ceased to happen to me and started flowing through me.
It made me realize that getting old can be beautiful. Interestingly, recent empirical studies have shown a positive association between meditation and longer telomeres.
So yeah, I cry because it’s my body’s biochemical way of getting rid of waste! I hug – a little longer because it benefits my brain! I welcome the unpleasant and the pleasant and the neutral, all emotions and I smile a LOT.
I find that the times when I’m not practicing mindfulness are when I’m sensitive to outside influences and being in control of “wants.” Practicing compassion quickly reminds me of my “needs.”
I am an applied physiologist and work mindfully and compassionately on myself for love, health, wealth and happiness.
My mindfulness journey started with a breath. To be born conscious, to feel all the crying and to discover the word “no” early. I have a long list of examples of when he was there for me from the age of 5 because of my parents. As a child, being a conscientious parent allowed the early discovery of talents and gifts, it also allowed me to keep my feet on the ground.
However, I had a pick-and-fall relationship with my practice. But in December 2016, I found myself with excruciating back pain and unable to move at all. I was bedridden in the hospital. Luckily my paralysis was temporary, the chronic pain unfortunately not. In summary, mindfulness and compassion got me through it and to this day. This terrifying week, I vowed to cultivate a daily practice of mindfulness and compassion and start working on my business plan. This led me to embark on a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program. It was while attending this 8 week course that I had an absolute light bulb moment. Mindfulness made it clear to me that I was my own worst enemy.
Although my mental traps were telling me that I could handle the stress and it was other people’s fault, it wasn’t. I was stressed and over the years my body had kept a score until it couldn’t anymore and the only way it could get me noticed was if I stopped dead in my tracks. Compassion allowed me to listen kindly, told me what I needed, follow my passion, and quit my stressful job.
The Covid lockdown accelerated my learning and service to others. Here are some of the moments in life when mindfulness and compassion have sustained me.
Discovering Talents, Gifts, and Purpose
Performing onstage using mindfulness to deal with stage fright and performance anxiety
State of mind
Loss, death and grief
Raising children through the developmental stages of life
Paralysis and chronic pain
Fitness, Health and Nutrition
Interpersonal and social etiquette
Mindfulness and compassion help me use these difficult times as opportunities for transformation.
Mindfulness and compassion must be “practiced” daily. It’s my gym workout for my mind, heart, and body. Thus, I will forever be a work of mindfulness and compassion in progress.
On the other hand, mindfulness and focus are two sides of the same coin; mindfulness is attention within and focus is attention out.
When we learn to see that struggle is necessary and important and a positive part of our journey, we find true peace and personal power.
Mindfulness is not therapy, but it is very therapeutic.
It affects not only your mental health, but the physical, intellectual, emotional and social health of all ages and stages, as it did during lockdown.
In the words of Mark Nepo: “My soul tells me that we are all broken from the same nameless heart. Life is the many pieces of that big heart loving each other again.
A Mini PRACTICE of Mindfulness and Compassion:
STOP the practice
Observe your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings
Make Conscious Choices (Ask yourself, “What do you need?”)
I am an Applied Physiologist and a Fellow of the British Association of Mindfulness Based Approaches
(BAMBA) UK registered MBSR teacher.