My mind is tired of mindfulness

There was a moment a couple of weeks ago when I became extremely angry at mindfulness. Extreme stress had taken an emotional and physical toll on my body in a way that I hadn’t experienced before, alarming all the health-care professionals in my life, which in turn alarmed me. At first, I was concerned, scared and confused. Then I got angry!  I heard myself say sarcastically, “Well I’m glad I spent all these years in a mindfulness, yoga and meditation practice. Look where that got me!” Then I laughed at my venomous response to fear, and at the absurdity (and the truth) of those words.

I’ve had a very steady and intentional mindfulness practice for over twenty-five years. I started it years ago when I needed to change the way I was dealing with tremendous stress and hopelessness. I had two very young children at the time and needed to find a way to stay present when all I wanted to do was run away physically, emotionally, and mentally. Twenty-five years ago, mindfulness was not mainstream, but that didn’t matter to me. I quietly sought out teachers, read books, and practiced what I learned. It became a way of life for me and I found in the silence of my struggle it kept me steady and fairly calm.

It isn’t lost on me that I found myself weary and angry the other day towards the very thing that helped me find solace all those years ago.  Sometimes fear will do that.

Over the years as I’ve learned to live and find ways to manage the symptoms of complex PTSD, I found an important part of my healing was learning to live mindfully with intention. At times managing symptoms while living mindfully felt incongruent; a paradox. I wondered if my desire to live a life that was mindful and felt meaningful to me would always be shadowed by how I have to cope day-to-day with my PTSD? Could I find a middle ground? To my surprise, I could find a middle ground and I felt like I was able to carve out a purposeful life that I lived with intention.

Then I experienced what chronic, and pervasive stress can do to one’s health. It was more than just the platitude that stress does terrible things to your body. I am in the throes of living what unrelenting stress has done to my body. Some of it has resolved, but there is still some lingering damage. As I sit in silence and let the thoughts come, I realize that if I had not been practicing all these years, that I may not be here today, or I may be curled up in a corner rocking. I am both on the mend physically, and I’m definitely not in the corner.

I try to honor being awake. The connectedness we have to all things, the impermanence of the moments both perfect and non-perfect, the beauty, the wonder, and the power of being present. I believe that sometimes I will grow weary and tired, and maybe I’ll misdirect my fear towards the very thing that is helping me heal. Perhaps that is also part of the practice of mindfulness.

Photo by Ashley Batz on Unsplash

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      


Too Much On My Plate

A large (un)balanced platter filled with

sick family
sick animal
car(s) repairs
creating healthy boundaries
navigating PTSD symptoms
an unrelenting month-long illness

This plate just crashed

I think I’ll reach for a new and balanced smaller plate

©Alexis Rose, Image source: Google Images from source

Thank you for reading my books:  If I Could Tell You How It Feels,  and  Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph


Off Kilter

Be there for yourself
But first be there for everyone else

Stress, family crisis, the highs, lows and fears
of those closest to you
Make sure you are “doing” self-care
But be there for them first.

Clean, support, tend-to, cheer-lead
Remember to breathe
But remind them to breathe first.

Express feelings of overwhelmed, frustration, and exhaustion
Do not play martyr or victim.
Express your needs and wants
to the faces that return blank stares
Reminding them that it’s appropriate to insert empathy here.

Try not to push play on the tape of guilt for
also needing support, and rest.
After all, you are the rock
you can keep it together and make sure everyone is okay.

Until you can’t…

Sometimes life is off-kilter.
The balance is skewed and the world seems to spin faster.
You know things will right itself.

It’s the law of nature and impermanence.

As the body electric settles down
I listen to the gentle snores of humans and critters resting

The world has slowed, the simultaneous crises are resolving
and life is finding its natural rhythm for the ones I love.

Where did I drop that oxygen mask?
You know the one that says, “Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others?”
Oh, there it is; it fell off my overloaded plate.

My outer world has been off kilter.
It happens sometimes, it’s temporary, a balance will be restored…life.

Photo by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash
Look for my new book, If I Could Tell You How it Feels
on Amazon, Kindle, and other retailers, January 23rd, 2018