I’m sitting here alone, outside at the Costa on Gloucester Place. I’m sipping a lovely coconut milk vanilla latte and maybe because it’s national mental health week, I’m noticing that what I feel is a sense of contentment. I’m happy to just be in this moment. Never mind the stresses of my life, today I am practicing mindfulness.
I know I know, this is one of the buzzwords of the moment, mindfulness, but it’s so much more than that! Living in London at this fast pace, that for many is just normal existence, it’s easy to forget the simple pleasures. I find myself with 3 hours ahead of complete solace, I can do what I want and it’s my choice to dwell on the negative, or not in this case. While in thought, and as I’ve come to appreciate over the past almost one year of blogging is that, the little moments are my happy place, so I thought I’d lay out 5 points about what mindfulness means to me.
Be in the moment – yes this sounds a little hypocritical. As a blogger half the time you need to be focused on getting the perfect shot, or making sure you get enough details about a product or experience so you have content you can write about. The result, in any given situation, is often that you are there, but not actually present. At the best of times I am someone with a memory like a sieve, so if I’m focusing on content chances are, while I can hear what’s being said – am I actually listening? I’ve developed a policy of only utilising the first 20 mins or so to capture the content I need. Usually this is after I’ve arrived and gone to the loo and ordered what ever it is I’m having. Why, because that’s likely when my makeup is most fleeky and no one has mauled my pudding yet, including me. After this point, I try to get the phone out only sparingly. While my friends are some of the most understanding, it’s not fair on them if I make every event about my blog, no matter the love and importance I feel for it.
Meditate – when was the last time you sat down and just thought of nothing? I’m no expert on meditation, but for me, I actively practice thinking of nothing. Usually this is at the end of the evening while I’m in bed and after I’ve pondered on the happenings of the day, ha. Meditation is not a new phenomenon, but in the context of mindfulness, the hype is very much there. It’s warranted! What I’ve realised is, this is a practice I’ve done for years without noticing. I very rarely have trouble sleeping and I put this down to meditation before trying to sleep. I literally close my eyes and look at my eyelids, so to speak – I focus on the darkness and empty all thoughts from my mind. If I start thinking of something, I tell myself no, but I never dwell on that, I accept I’ve had a thought, park it and move on to thinking of nothing again.
Be Content – I’ve posted about this before, here. We all quest for more, I’ll be honest, as much as I’ll continue to blog if I don’t make a penny – I haven’t to date, I’d be telling porkies if I said that I don’t hope for more and to make a living from this passion one day. That said, I’ve always understood the benefits of simply being happy with what you have. Perhaps it’s my up bringing. I come from a Jamaican family and growing up I was always told, “Tenisha, don’t be red eye” – this is the equivalent of the green eyed monster. Another saying was, “it’s not everything you see, you can have” (with the requisite Jamaican accent of course)! These were my foundations, whilst we were never what anyone would call poor, from a young age I learned that life is about hard work and “if you want good, your nose has to run” (another Jamaican saying). I’ve brought this in to my adult life and it’s something I will pass on to my kids one day.
To be content, I honestly believe it’s about learning to structure your happiness around non-material things. Focus on relationships, nurturing your passions, discovering who you are and what makes you tick as a human.
Gratitude – this kind of goes hand in hand with contentment. Once you learn how to be content, the next step is being grateful. No one is saying you should look at the soles falling off your shoes and be like, yassss girl! It’s about not dwelling on your shoes and being grateful that your walking your ass to uni or work to build that better life and have the ability to do so – the shoes will come.
Part of my understanding of gratitude comes from my faith as a Christian. Fundamentally, I believe this life, in the true existence, is only for a minute. The things we strive for in this life simply make it more comfortable, but ultimately, I am living for the next. Before you switch off, I’m not saying you have to think what I think or affirm to any one religion, but it is important, for your own sanity, to find something to hinge your gratitude on.
Selflessness – this is a funny one, one that’s easy to take to an extreme. To be selfless is not to give up ones self, it is to factor others in to your decision making and perhaps to undertake random acts of kindness. I find that people are so quick to throw around metaphors like, “what goes around comes around” or “be careful who you kick on the way up, because they will kick you twice as hard on the way down”, when someone is striving to better themselves. While these types of comment are often validly thrown at the selfish, they can also be misdirected at someone who is simply trying to make a way for them self . Let’s face it, we live in a cut-throat world and while I’d never condone trampling over others to reach a goal, one persons trampling would look like someone else’s tip toe. Selflessness is difficult to navigate, but what I find works for me is for every decision, I try to work through the potential outcomes and see if I am happy, in myself, with any potential negative impacts on others. You can’t please everyone, but only you can be responsible for your happiness and that is just as valid as someone else’s.
If you like this post, like and leave a comment. I’d love to know what mindfulness means to you and if you’ve struggled or can relate to any of the points above.
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What I’m wearing – if you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen this outfit. It’s received the most likes I’ve had for ages, so I wanted to curate it on the blog.
Bag – Newlook, bought in a charity shop
Shoes – Topshop, old
Sunglasses – H&M, old
Crop top – Newlook, old
Watch – Cluse