Moving further onto the path of mindfulness and genuine body compassion requires a few things:
*A sense of openness and curiosity about new ideas, material and experiences. We each come to this space with a lifetime of conditioning—ways of relating to new things, ideas about how the world works, and habitual thought patterns. It is no easy ask to maintain openness and curiosity, particularly with such personal subject matter as covered in this blog. When you notice a quick reaction to any new ideas or material, that’s a good time to get curious about your reaction, and about the material being presented. It’s likely it’s bumping up against some of these habitual ways of relating to the world, which so often keep us from fully experiencing the process.
*Cultivating this sense of curiosity will support an attitude of letting go of expectations and non-striving, which is a basic tenet of mindfulness. We’re not after any particular outcome. Instead, in this space we are very intentionally practicing being with our experience just as it is, being with ourselves just as we are, perfectly imperfect in this moment, with no need to fix or change a thing. As when getting to know a new friend, you take your time and are gently curious about them, who they are, how they feel, what they want, and delight in discovering the joy of shared activities. In friendship you do all of this without expectation of how your friend will change to improve themselves so that your experience can “improve” in some way. Similarly, here you are befriending yourself, bringing gentle curiosity and letting go of expectations or striving for you or your experience to be anything other than exactly what it is.
*A willingness to keep showing up, again and again. And by showing up I don’t just mean reading about new ideas, but each time you find yourself challenged by the material, or disengaging and going through the motions, challenging yourself to return with full engagement to the process, again and again. It’s no problem to lose focus or slightly step off your path, that’s part of any journey of growth and discovery, the key is in returning to the path of discovery each time you notice you’ve strayed. It’s like the proverb, fall down seven times, get up eight.
*And perhaps most importantly, action. Ideas have no impact without action. Part of getting curious is experimenting with the implementation of new ideas, practices or concepts. We will be covering a lot of ground in this blog and will be action-oriented, with a focus on learning by doing. It is important to take time for reflection and sharing, AND a key focus is doing, taking action.
Curiosity, non-striving, willingness and action—I’ll be reminding you of these throughout our time together. Cultivating these ways of relating to experience provides a powerful foundation for life.