by Park Theatre
Yesterday I started a course in Mindfulness: the practice of 'paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgementally.'
It's the opposite of acting on automatic pilot, and the opposite of multitasking - both of which are habits of mine. It's also definitely the opposite of worry and mind-chatter.
Yesterday was the first session of eight, so it's early days - but on exiting the class I did feel a new sense of vividness and sensitivity as I walked along the street, like the colour and brightness of everything had been turned up a notch. It didn't last long, but if I'm able to introduce just a little of this into my life, it's got to be a good thing for my writing as well as my wellbeing: really to experience things fully instead of having a million things jigging up and down in my head at any one time.
Part of mindfulness is that when you are doing something, you simply do that one thing, and focus fully on it in that moment. When you are eating, you take time just to eat - and open up your awareness to the flavours and textures of food as you do so. It's an extension of what I've been attempting to do for a while with my writing (as anyone who follows me on Twitter will know). When I'm writing, I just write. Off go Twitter and Facebook (with a little public announcement, so that I'm not tempted to sneak back on); off goes the email; the phone is switched to 'Do Not Disturb' (iOS 6 does, it seem, have its uses). For the next hour or two or three, it's just me and the script. I recommend it. And as I'm discovering, it's a practice that can be applied to many areas of life.