Mindfulness is a Choice

How I Let Mindfulness Stress Me Out

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.

Read my post: An Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation.

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.

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.


  1. I would recommend you take a look at the book “Silence – The power of quiet in a world full of noise”- by Tich Nhat Hanh .It is written in s clean, simple way but with very deep meaning. It helped me a lot with calming down my mind. Hope you will like it.

  2. Keith, I absolutely love your blog! It really resonates with me and your story of a kidney transplant was so inspirational. Sending you and your family so many blessings and wonderful health!!!

    Also, I am so happy to know that others have had the same experience as me when it comes to mindfulness. This does not come easy to me at all. I finally this year started meditating for 3 months and still, couldn’t be 100% consistent. Meditation definitely does not come easy to me as it may to others. I think with practice, we can both get there! Good luck!

    I am a follower!

    • Thanks Shivani!

      I have followed your blog too. It looks great!

      I’m launching the My Instruction Manual podcast in the next two weeks and will have a regular contributor who is an expert in mindfulness meditation, so hope you’ll tune in and we can learn together.


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