On Friday evening of 28 Jun 2013 I was in the London underground rush hour going home. Among the noise, the heavy air, with a person’s elbow in front of my face, I made a mental note to check how I was feeling that exact moment. On a scale of 1-10 I felt 10. Could I feel any better? How great! How weird!
It’s been some years now that I’ve become interested in mindfulness. To me it is about bringing some curiosity in life, playing out moment by moment. While life continues as normal, with all its ups and downs, this new curiosity has become a spice to every experience. An increased sensitivity to sensation in my body brings awareness to muscles, to posture and breathing, to the expression of the emotional sea within. Often even the interplay between thoughts and feelings can be noticed like an act in a theatre play. I’ve learnt that my state at any moment is flavoured by my recollection of the past and views of the future. So as a social experiment I decided to randomly rate my day-to-day moments. The method is simple: how do I feel right now on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the worst possible, 10 being perfect.
And so over the years a diary has formed and reading it is quite insightful.
Diary extract: Holidays in paradise
My biggest passion is surfing. So much so that I’ve stopped going on surf trips because upon return I’m always left with a lingering low, the reality of being in London while I long to be paddling on a board, be lifted up and tipped forward, sensing when the board becomes one with the wave, rising and pressing the balls of my feet to carve a turn and reach the top of the wave with enough speed to shoot past the breaking lip. Doctor Time makes the feeling weaker and so now that it’s been over a year, thinking of surfing brings just pleasant memories rather than a longing to be somewhere else…
Soon though, I will be going for a week in Kauai, one of the Hawaiian islands. The realm of big waves…
But when I get there I find it’s virtually flat. Inconceivable for this time of the year where double overhead swells are the norm. Instead I’m left surfing 3 foot baby waves, day after day. And so whilst on holidays, in paradise, in water doing what I’ve dreamed of, my rating of the moment is 6 out of 10.
Back in London I found that in the stuffy commuter rush hour that Friday evening, as well as consecutive ones, I felt amazing. And this had a profound effect on me. I realised that the sea, the sun, the better job, are not the source of happiness, they are only stimuli making a contribution. I realised the truth in the cliché of "happiness, fulfilment and wisdom come from within".
This has not solved my life.
But it has been liberating.
And so continues my curiosity with what life offers and teaches moment by moment. I’ve learnt that expectation is so powerful that knowing the weekend has just begun can make my stuffy tube commute feel amazing. That knowing that the day should be warmer can make it cold. I’m discovering the interplay between thoughts and emotions. That expressions are contagious, so perhaps when I’m irritated that my mate looks grumpy, maybe I’m responsible…
So much to learn, so much to discover. I feel like a kid in a candy store.
Some find their vocation in building businesses, or plucking guitar strings, or creating the perfect sushi. For me it’s mindfulness.
...and on to a website
In my view a vocation is living for the journey rather than the destination. And I feel blessed to have found one. Every moment exploring mindfulness is nourishing. Writing this website is nourishing. Hearing of people’s experiences is nourishing. Exchanging ideas is nourishing.
We are at a point where science and media are colluding to bring about an exponential growth in the way we understand and experience life. To our grandchildren we’ll be like primitive dinosaurs. It’s exciting to be part of this journey.
So please, enjoy this website, tell me what you think and let’s help each other grow.