Week 6: Wrap-Up
My Week 6 mindfulness assignment to be complimentary got me thinking about the things I really appreciate about the people closest to me. Lately, I’ve been feeling very grateful: I’m financially comfortable, I like my job well enough, I enjoy the people I work with, I’ve gotten so much writing done in the past six months … I just feel so good lately. But the truth is, none of this would be possible if I didn’t have such an amazing support network backing me up at every turn. I genuinely enjoy spending time with the people that I’ve kept in my life, and that’s not something I want to forget to appreciate.
I’m pretty direct when I’m thinking something, so I usually do tell people things that I like about them or that I think they do well. Over the years, it’s been a special challenge to learn how to stop myself from blurting out any and every thought that comes to mind, and I think I’m definitely a bit more measured and tactful than I used to be. With all of that in mind, I couldn’t help but feel I’d seem a little over-the-top complimenting my friends and family out of nowhere. This past Sunday, I sent a text message to almost everyone in my life to let them know I appreciate them, that I love them, or to tell them something that I admire about them. I got such a good feeling afterward. It’s the same feeling I get when I write and send out cards and letters: it’s become almost a lost form of communication, and there’s a special significance to unexpectedly receiving something handwritten or through the postal service when most of us are used to instant gratification and online correspondence.
We all know it feels better to be complimented on something that’s not physical or superficial. It really feels amazing to have a friend tell me that I’ve inspired them, that they admire my work ethic or my writing, or, as a friend wrote on a card she sent me recently, “I respect and admire the person that you are so much.” It’s encouraging to be recognized for qualities that are below the surface because these are the things that make us fundamentally who we are.
I think the overall point of this week was to appreciate the people in your life as much as possible. As the book states: “When someone becomes part of the furniture of our life, we forget to notice what they do and it doesn’t occur to us to give them compliments … The practice of actively noticing what a person does well and giving genuine compliments can add new warmth, intimacy, and responsiveness to a relationship.”
*I’d like to also mention here that I recently started working through a 12-week course called “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, and I’ve been doing something called “The Morning Pages,” which entails writing 3 pages of stream-of-consciousness every morning, no questions asked. I feel much more clear-headed, productive (I had my weekly to-do list knocked out by Tuesday evening of this week), and the inspiration for my personal writing has been raining down on me at every turn. Check it out if you need to jumpstart your own creativity.
Week 7: Mindfulness of Posture
Several times a day, become aware of your posture. This has two aspects. First it means to become aware of what posture you are in and how it feels within the body. If you closed your eyes, what would be the clues that you are standing or sitting or lying down? For example, if you are sitting in a chair with your eyes closed, what tells you that you are in a body that is sitting? Where do you feel pressure or movement?
Being aware of posture also means to notice and adjust your posture many times a day. If you are slouching, gently straighten up.
A very good time to work with mindfulness of posture is at meals. Sit on the front edge of the chair with your feet planted on the floor, knees a bit apart. Straighten the spine to maximize room for breathing.
Other interesting times to become aware of posture include while standing in line, driving, lying down in bed, in meetings or classes, or while walking.