Nearing The End of The Challenge: Lessons 1 & 2

This is it.  Week 8 of the 8 Weeks to a Better You! challenge is here.  I have to say, this challenge did not end up as I thought it might.

If you recall, I decided to use this challenge as a Mindful Living Journey/Practice/Challenge.  In the beginning I was spending a lot of time “in my head”.  Digging deeper, trying to figure myself out (and everything else).  I set out on my 8 week challenge on a mission to practice living mindfully.  I was very serious about this endeavor.  Too serious, in fact.  It took me a few weeks to realize this (okay, more like 7 weeks to realize this) but about a week ago, as I was busy thinking everything over, and over, and I realized I wasn’t happy.  I was miserable.  I was spending so much of my time and energy trying to be mindful, focusing on every little detail of everything I was doing, analyzing whether I was doing it mindfully and how I could be doing it better, that I found I was taking everything in life far too seriously.  I decided that I didn’t like who I was becoming.  I’m not a serious person.  I like to have fun.  I wasn’t having fun.  I’d become so serious that I couldn’t stand to be around myself.  Something needed to change.  That’s when I realized that I needed to take a step back, I’d been trying too hard, delving too deep.

It’s like this: Imagine you go to the beach to watch the sunset.  You sit down in the sand and soak up the warmth of the evening sun.  You feel the breeze gently brushing your cheeks, then you look by your feet and notice the sand, really notice the sand, and wonder, “How did I miss this?  How did I miss how soft and beautiful the sand is?”.  You continue looking ever closer at the granules of sand, thinking, “Here I am on the beach, made up of all of this beautiful sand, how did I never notice the shape of the granules?  They’re rocks, tiny rocks, miniatures of big rocks, all slightly different in shape, size and color but have the same wave-washed texture and they all work together to create such as soft surface…”  While you’re admiring the sand the sun is setting, the colors are lighting up the sky, but you don’t see it because you are so focused on the details underfoot.  By the time you lift your head, raising one granule of sand in your hand, you look up to the sky and realize you missed the sunset.

Bummer, right?  Well, I didn’t have any real missed sunsets on the beach during the challenge, but there were plenty of daily life situations that I kicked myself for going “too deep” and felt like I missed out.  So I realized that while it’s important be present, it’s equally important to keep things in perspective.  Sometimes we need to limit ourselves or we’ll miss out on what we really came for.

After a number of these sunset on the beach situations, it finally it dawned on me that perhaps I’d been taking mindful living too seriously.  I started to wonder, do you have to be serious to live mindfully?  Can’t mindful living be fun?  I started thinking of people I know who seem to have a good grasp on mindful living and started recalling whether they are/were ultra serious.  Nope. Everyone I could think of has a pleasant, peaceful, welcoming, relaxed disposition.  I grabbed my mindful living books, the authors had a sparkle in their eye and a smile on their face.  The Dalai Lama almost always has a smile on his face for crying out loud.

Hotei Buddha

Then, as I was watering some of my multitudes of plants, I saw the Buddha a friend had given to me.  He’s not a serious Buddha, he’s a happy Buddha (Hotei Buddha).  Ha, ha!  Again, proof!  It was almost as he was saying to me, “Mindfulness can be fun!  You can be happy and mindful.  Don’t take life so seriously!”  From that point forward, the focus of my mindful living journey has shifted.  Yes, I know, that was Week 7 and this is Week 8 so my shift was only a week ago.  And I realize that I only have a few days left of the Challenge, so I don’t have a lot of time left to practice this during the Challenge, but this Challenge is just the beginning of my journey.  I have the rest of my life to continue practicing.  🙂

Challenge Lesson 1: Live mindfully, but keep everything in perspective, don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

Challenge Lesson 2: Don’t take life so seriously.  (You can be happy, have fun and live mindfully!)

By the way… if you like my Buddha as much as I do you can find him, and others, at my friend Ryan’s website: bighappybuddha.com.  If you stop over there, tell him I said, “Hi.”

Kate

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2 Responses to “Nearing The End of The Challenge: Lessons 1 & 2”

  1. May I say that I love all of your posts! They have really helped me and I love all of the meanings! Thank you so much for posting everything! 😀

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