The stress was building in my head, and I needed mindfulness.
Proof in point: I lost my temper the other day and yelled at my teenage son Connor. Not cool.
Though I’m just a beginner, I’m a believer in mindfulness meditation as a way to relieve stress. So far, I’d only done 10-minute breathing exercises on my own. But I needed something more intense to get my head straight. I decided to try a guided meditation session at the local YMCA.
I read the schedule wrong and nearly missed the guided meditation, so I needed to rush to make it on time. I got to the spin class room — which doubles as the meditation space — with seconds to spare. Other students were waiting, but there was no teacher. Eventually, one of the other students went to inquire at the front desk. He came back and told us today’s class was cancelled.
Other people in the class saw this as a minor inconvenience. I saw it as a personal attack on my existence, and I just couldn’t get this affront out of my mind. I complained at the front desk. I tracked down the instructor and complained to her. I complained on Twitter about it.
Arrived at my first guided meditation class to find out it was cancelled. Now feeling 40% less mindful.
— Keith McArthur (@keithmcarthur) September 21, 2017
All the while, I convinced myself that I was advocating, not complaining because I was being polite and just trying to make sure this didn’t happen again.
But for half an hour more, I replayed my grievances over and over in my mind.
Keep in mind that I did all this over a mindfulness meditation class. The irony wasn’t lost on me.
And then it hit me.
I realized that while mindfulness is about practice and meditation, being mindful is also about making a choice.
If I want to be mindful, I need to make that choice every day.
Some days, I need to make it hundreds of times.