I can’t do mindfulness.
I just can’t.
Even the word makes my heart speed up a beat, which I’m pretty sure isn’t the idea. Therapist after therapist, nurse after nurse, have told me to practice mindfulness. Some of the more mindfully inclined therapists I have encountered made me wonder if it was actually healthy.
They would say things like:
“Don’t think about cooking tea tonight. Just think about your feet on the ground.”
“And how many doors were in the room?”
“Ask each individual muscle in your body to move for you as you are doing a task.”
“…Let the happy light rise and merge.”
I once asked a therapist, bald headed and shod conspicuously with walker’s socks and sandals, if he found that things take a very long time to do due to the slow-moving nature of his art. He chuckled and said that the world is too fast paced anyway. If mindfulness was an Olympic sport he would be on the awards podium, but to me it looked like more of a disability than a honed skill. The day to day functioning of my most ‘mindful’ therapists seemed hindered. Each one that I met seemed slower and slower on the uptake. Pauses in therapy became less reflective and more awkward. They would send me a badly typed email once a month with quotes by Ghandi. As someone who likes to be quick on the uptake, I didn’t see the ‘mindful’ way of life to be even remotely attractive. If mindfulness would make me into a slow moving technophobe with bad taste in footwear I certainly didn’t want it.
When I saw colouring books were coming in trend I was pretty pleased. I LOVED colouring when I was younger and the complex patterns of mandalas had kept me busy during my time at Heron unit. I ordered ‘The Mindfulness Colouring Book’ with my mental auto-block of anything to do with the M Word turned on. But then I fell in love with it. It was addictive filling in the lines with my thick and bright felt tips. When I am stressed colouring feels therapeutic, I just mindlessly fill in the lines. I don’t think about it but I also don’t think about anything else as I try to spread colour through the pattern. My mind doesn’t feel ‘full’, it’s emptier.
My view on mindfulness could be changing.