Category Archives: Letting go

Mindfulness in Val Gardena

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I was tired. It was early in the morning, and my fingers were already numb with the cold. It was even snowing inside the cable car. I glared at the other people in their ugly ski clothing, who had pushed me on their way into our car, the first one, to reach the top before anyone else. It was the third day of our ski trip in Italy, and I was irritated. By everything.

It hit me then, how wrong this was. It was supposed to be my mindful month. I was supposed to enjoy each moment. And there I was, sulking away, for no substantial reason. So, I made a simple decision. I was not going to let my stress and bad mood ruin the rest of the trip. From now on, I would enjoy it. I turned my mind away from the other people, and watched the small, perfectly formed snowflakes that fell onto my jacket. I watched them melt. And slowly, I calmed down.

By the time we reached the top, my irritation was gone. When I saw the view, I didn’t mind the other people anymore. Their pushing was justified. How could you not want to struggle a bit for this? To get the first ride down these perfectly soft, newly pisted ski slopes. That morning, I had the best skiing of my life.

When I chose to savour things instead of letting them get on my nerves, there was suddenly so much to enjoy. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the sun for a while, instead of getting irritated by the fact that I had to wait so long for my grandmother at the end of each slope. I sat back and enjoyed the beautiful British accent of the guys in the same chair lift, instead of grumbling about the cold wind in my face. I enjoyed four days of skiing with a newfound friend from the same coach journey, who suddenly started to talk to me, probably because I looked more friendly and open when I wasn’t angry. And when everyone else started to complain that the food wasn’t as good as it used to be, I kept quiet and enjoyed tasting new things.

I also noticed than when I was skiing more mindfully, I was less scared. When I was fourteen, I collided with another skier, and ever since, I have been a bit afraid. However, when I started to pay more attention to what I was doing, to the sound of the snow beneath my skis and the structure of the slope and the shapes that was formed by me and the other skiers, I had so much more control over the situation. I had time to choose my path and avoid risks, and for once, I could ski fast and without fear – even in the black slopes.

Sometimes bad things happen, things that provoke feelings that you cannot, and should not, control. But in everyday life situations, you always have a choice. You can choose where to put your energy, what to focus on and what to ignore.

In that cable car in the Alps of Italy, I chose to be happy. And suddenly I was.

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Filed under Attention, Fear, Feelings, Letting go, Mind, Mindfulness, Miranda, Physical exercise, Traveling, Uncategorized

To let go

I’m happy I chose Productivity as this month’s focus, because I really wouldn’t have time to focus on anything else than getting things done. I’m so stressed out that it’s affecting me physically, making me nauseous and tired all the time. Tonight, however, I sat down and tried to structure all my tasks for the rest of the year, week for week. Now I know what I need to do every week when it comes to school, work, driving practice and exercise, and that is somewhat comforting. Next week I’m going away for a few days to visit my grandfather, and perhaps the change of scenery will help me relax a bit as well.

So, what about the Love month? Although my boyfriend and I have had our ups and downs I think I managed to take quite good care of our relationship last month, and I keep trying. I survived the tour, obviously. After the first anxious days I simply didn’t have any energy left for worrying. I let him take care of our contact, which meant that I didn’t have to worry about unanswered texts or calls and got a happy surprise each time I heard from him instead. And I ended up really enjoying having time for myself.

Whether it’s a sky-high heap of homework or a boyfriend touring Europe or something entirely different that makes your intestines ache with anxiety, the only thing that really helps is to let go. And to realise that when you do, things tend to work out quite nicely in the end.

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Filed under Fear, Giving space, Letting go, Love, Miranda, Productivity, Relationships

Organisation vs spontaneity

I love to keep my life well organised. To make detailed plans and stick to them. I feel safer when I can keep things under control. I write lists of things to do and things to buy and habits to keep and if we’re going on a trip, I usually arrange everything. I book flights and accommodation and search for things to do. I print maps and schedules to make everything go smooth. And I’ve always thought this is the only way to make things work. That if I didn’t make all these plans everything would turn out a disaster. But that’s not true. The last few days have really showed me the value of allowing some spontaneity into my life.

I turned 22 last week, and my gift from my boyfriend was a trip somewhere. We decided to take a bus to the west coast and spend two nights at a camping. Since the trip was a gift I didn’t want to interfere with my boyfriends plans (or lack of them), so I decided, for once, to stay away from all kinds of planning. On our way to the bus station we spotted some dark clouds and decided to check the weather. The forecast for the city we had decided to go to didn’t look good at all, and my boyfriend simply said: “so, let’s go to the east coast instead”. This was half an hour before our bus was supposed to leave. Normally, I would probably stress out, but perhaps the fact that I hadn’t really planned anything helped me bite my tongue and agree.

An hour later we jumped on a train and ended up spending two great days with perfect weather on the east coast. And the interesting thing was that any plan we tried to make went awry, but mostly with great consequences. We planned to go to the cinema the first night, but instead spent the night watching stars by the sea. Not too bad. On the second day we took a bus to a zoo, but when we got there it was closing within 30 minutes. I’m sure the zoo would have been nice, but instead of spending lots of money we walked to a camping and went for a swim. That wasn’t unpleasant either. I wasn’t able to stick to all of my health habits, but I had a wonderful trip with my boyfriend that certainly made up for it.

During October, when my focus area is Love, one of my goals will be to allow more room for spontaneity. Although some routines and plans are good, I really admire my boyfriend’s ability to just go with the flow and see where it takes him. I don’t want to stifle his spontaneity with my planning addiction, and I don’t want to quench my own happiness because I’m to busy arranging the future or stressing over the present.

I know that when I dare to, it’s so nice to simply let go.

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Filed under Letting go, Miranda, Organisation, Spontaneity, Traveling