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Gillian Sanger

What growing pains have you experienced during your journey into mindfulness?

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This week's question asks:

What growing pains have you experienced during your journey into mindfulness?

From the pain of relationships ending to the witnessing of blindspots and shortcomings, the journey into a more mindful way of being is not always a comfortable one. As we become more mindful, we realize that the journey is not one of glitter and rainbows; the feel of it changes as we do, sometimes embodying pain and discomfort before becoming joyous and light.

What has been challenging for you in this journey? Are there any hard truths you've had to swallow? Things you've had to let go of? Let's shed some light on the tougher parts of this journey.

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Yes, I have had to let go of many expectations.  Settle for what is in front of me.  No wanting what others think I need.  But what comes to me as I open up and welcome everything with a passionate heart.  Truth be known, there are close family members that do not understand what mindfulness is and think it is about them.  It is not about them.  It is about the environment around them.  And the open heart.  People cannot change for me, so that is ok.  I found that I need to live my life and my son his life.  

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Yes, letting go of expectations is a real challenge. There is often a lot of pain when we must acknowledge the reality of a difficult relationship or situation, opening up with radical acceptance even if we don't 'like' what we are faced with.

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Confidence is my biggest thing with mindfulness and learning to engaging without expectations sometimes.

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@Kimberly - Yes it's definitely challenging to engage without expectations. Well, I think it's natural to have expectations, but if we can create a bit of distance between ourselves and our desires/preferred outcomes, I think it gets easier to find acceptance of whatever arises. A continual practice though!

In regards to confidence, are you referring to finding confidence in your mindfulness practice or in mindfully engaging in particular situations? Just curious 🙂

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Slowing down when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed. If I am not aware of these sensations in the moment, I quickly revert back to my former way of being.

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9 hours ago, SweetPea said:

Slowing down when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed. If I am not aware of these sensations in the moment, I quickly revert back to my former way of being.

@SweetPea - I can definitely relate to this idea of 'reverting back' during periods of overwhelm. Old patterns often shift very slowly, frequently resurfacing in moments of high tension or stress.

For me, belly breathing has been hugely helpful - becoming aware of where my breath is presently residing (often in the chest during stress), and then guiding it deeper into the belly while keeping the chest as relaxed as possible. There's a worksheet on it as well: https://mindfulnessexercises.com/learning-to-belly-breathe/

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I may have shared this before in another thread, though a major growing pain for me was feeling like I couldn't practice mindfulness because committing to a routine is difficult for me, and I felt I was adding too many tasks to my day - how would I find the time, I won't have time to do it "right" - which kicked my anxiety in gear (anxiety was originally what got me here) 😄

 But I kept trying and practicing and eventually allowed myself to realize that practice could happen throughout my day if I just made little adjustments - like practicing while making tea, mindful walking (shared that over in Wins), and so on.  Definitely had to let go of expecting perfection

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@Ro H. - Ahh yes, the pursuit of perfection. I am familiar with how that one looks and feels.

It's such a common misconception about mindfulness - that to be mindful means that things have to look or feel a certain way. But in reality, any sensation, thought, feeling, or struggle can be held in the light of awareness. However, knowing this and embodying it are often too separate things. Perfectionism runs deep and can take some time to undo.  

 ❤️

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I have many growing pains that seem to be obstacles. The art of meditation I enjoy and can let it happen. I enjoy meditation and mindfulness in everyday. When struggles happen everything goes out the window.  I have a habit tracker to help me for my excercise program. So I added mantras and meditation to my chart. My one mantra is “Don’t break the chain” as it takes at least from what I understand 21 days to make a habit. So if I miss a day this mantra brings me back to practice. Too many days..too many broken chains which makes it harder to return.  
‘This month my Mom got diagnosed with cancer and she is 85. My sister has been battling cancer now for a few years. I have been battling existence and meaning. The last three years I have been in transformation. I turned 50  three years ago. I have cried too many tears for my family, myself, the earth . I have become very introverted homebody surrounded by my pets and music. My purpose is that I am a light worker and a healer. I can not control anything but I am a perfectionist too and one of my mantras is “Today I will accept what is” . Radical acceptance just is.  My grieving and somedays with sometimes unending crying comes and goes along with my consistency. Then a new day happens and I start again...

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@Bluebabee - Thank you for opening up for this sharing! I am so sorry to hear about these struggles. I can certainly relate to the challenges related to finding meaning in this existence. As a sensitive person (I saw your post in the Icebreaker), it can be so so difficult to stay strong and steady in the face of life's waves.

Are you close with your mother now (referring to your Icebreaker post)? What about your sister?

It's so nice that you've found peace and comfort in pets (and music!). Dogs (and others) are truly such special creatures. Yours is a beauty! I have two dogs myself and they have cracked my heart open completely (in a beautiful way).

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Such great posts, I resonate very much with @Bluebabeein that life seems to drift in as an obstacle when unplanned things come up, illnesses and others lives that change suddenly.  All the unforeseen events to our lives used to stop me in my tracks and take me a long time to get back on track. 4-5 times I have lost my way, gotten confused, lived moment to moment in a daze of what to do next. gaining weight from the stress of it all.  Then slowly and eventually easier it became to get back on board and deal with working towards the same, where I left off at, life.  My last one was 6 years ago, as a divorce from 30 year marriage happened.  And it freed me to love myself again and find true love surrounding me and in the world.  It takes awhile to erase or reprogram from 40 years including childhood.  Today I have never been happier.  Still working on getting back on track.  But much, much happier doing it.  Thank you everyone for posting.  

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Beautiful @Paige PIlege. This really highlights how our challenges, even when painful, are opportunities for deepening presence, awareness, and wisdom. Though it doesn't typically feel like this in the moment of suffering, the tide always shifts, freeing up energy so that we can see the blessings that wait for us.

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