How a mindfulness exercise can change January

I am not one to be negative, but this year I have found myself falling into the story that says January is a really miserable month! It’s been cold, I’ve been tired, I have felt overwhelmed and the duvet has been a welcome hiding place at both ends of the day. I have been trying to cut myself some slack and say “you worked hard last year… don’t have to be all sorted at the beginning of January…Baa Humbug to new year’s resolution …we are still supposed to be hibernating and much to my relief I discovered that the Celtic New year doesn’t start until 1st of February, so I have plenty of time anyway!”

All these internal conversations rambled on in a vain attempt to make myself feel better, but quite frankly I felt miserable. So hauling myself to work on a cold morning to launch a new Fresh Air Friday group in the Rhondda I was internally moaning to myself that It was me that had created a job where I had to be walking outside on a freezing day in January.

So our wonderful new facilitator Esther Nagle introduced herself and explained what our morning session was all about. As she lead us beautifully through the mindfulness exercise of tuning into our senses and really engaging with our surroundings the noise in my head started to still and the heaviness in my heart to lift. We spent time observing with our eyes; then our ears; then noticing other sensations; what we felt, smelt or tasted. As I was drawn into our surroundings my mood began to change.  As other participants shared what they had noticed I felt lighter.  We started to notice the frost on the leaves and how it glistened in the sunshine, the way the sound of the rushing water changed as the lay of the land did.  We were all drawn to a bird singing, each of us in our own experience but supported by the group. The weight and stress of what had felt like a dank January lifted. I remembered why I had created Fresh Air Fridays, I saw what we so often miss, the moss on a tree that has been there for hundreds of years, the dancing of water droplets as they bounce off a stone in their wake, the beauty in a single moment that when I am lost in my head and my internal narrative I miss in the busy-ness of life.

This simple mindfulness exercise that I know about but, so often don’t take time to do has transformed the last few days. Moving from the stories in my head to being in the moment has once more restored me, filled up my empty tank and got me excited and focused on life again. January no longer feels dank but rather ripe with possibility.  There is still a great appeal to those duvet moments, but when I am there I am really there, feeling the plumped up feathers in their white cotton covering.  The smell of the fabric conditioner and the rustle of the covers. That reminder to really be wherever I am means that when I come to my desk to work I am refreshed, present and excited by what the new year brings and knowing that with practice I can be there to enjoy it!

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