There are those who seek thrills, adrenaline junkies, those who seek escape and some who seek enlightenment. Me? I’m seeking my funny which I seemed to have found in the form of how I used to process through experiences. Most of the experiences were not totally out of the ordinary except for a few including the unfortunate hair color accident which necessitated my having to shave my head and maybe the time the doggy daycare returned my dog to me after one of those little liquid-filled pouches of automobile air freshener exploded 90 days of freshness all over him but other than that, just normal everyday stuff. Well, hmmm, how would I really know if they were normal since they were happening to me and not everyone writes about their everyday experiences.
Day after day I wrote colorful little essays on the extraordinary of the ordinary.
Little vignettes that could all be subtitled “From a Freight Train to a Roller Coaster Down a Rabbit Hole. I’m fine, how are you”? Please don’t judge. It’s long but highly appropriate and besides, I don’t think there are fast and hard rules for subtitles and since no publisher has offered me a book deal (yet), I can call it whatever I want. Please don’t steal the name and certainly DM if you or anyone you know is a publisher of really riveting non-fiction.
Everyone commented on the relatability of my stories and would often state something to the effect that I was able to express so many of the things we all feel but few say.
For a very long time, many a day seemed to bring some new experience that would cause me to react in the very predictable pattern of “I can’t believe this is happening” usually followed by “I really don’t want this to be happening” and therefore I am going to react as if “The Sky is Falling” until I come to my senses after some sort of emotional outburst involving someone getting victimized by an onslaught of expletives or confounded by my inappropriate amount of tears ending with “Oh, the Sky isn’t Falling” and “Wasn’t that funny. I shall now write about it”. I published and copyrighted about 200 of these stories. I amassed a nice following on social media encompassing all genders and ages ranging from 20 to 80. (82 to be exact but don’t tell my Mother). Everyone commented on the relatability of my stories and would often state something to the effect that I was able to express so many of the things we all feel but few say. In other words, my crazy was my superpower when it came to writing “funny”.
So why I am writing about this? Thanks for asking. After hundreds of hours of meditation and immersing myself in the study and practice of mindfulness, I recently began noticing I was judging mindfulness, “Mindfulness is a Thief”, “Mindfulness stole my funny”.
If A +B = C that would mean, (A) I was once really funny, (B) I started practicing mindfulness, (C) I am no longer funny, that would make my judgement true.
Example: The doggy daycare gal brings the dog home, I notice the smell and with curiosity and interest, I realize the dog has a certain number of days of freshness spilt on him, my feeling tone is “this is unpleasant”, I think “what an unfortunate accident”, I simply bathe him, end of story. Not funny. Right?
One of the most widely accepted definitions of mindfulness comes from Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally”. So now what I was I supposed to do with the fact that I was judging mindfulness and then judging my judging of mindfulness. Well, thanks for asking. I brought curiosity and interest to this judgement and came to the realization that through the practice of mindfulness, I now stop at the ticket booth and choose to turn around instead of getting on that freight train.
Like many, I came to the practice of mindfulness through MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and through the program, I discovered I had choice point between stimulus and response, between thought and reaction which brought a sense of calm and freedom to a life where many times I felt “stuck” as a result of believing my own thoughts and impulsively reacting to them. Beyond stress relief, the practice of mindfulness is really the foundation of self-awareness. To me, self-awareness is the biggest gift. Self-awareness allows us to see our patterns as they really are and change our patterns so we can show up better for others. Self-awareness is what helps us “Walk the Walk” when it comes to our purpose and values. Self-awareness helps us to be better leaders, better partners, spouses, friends and essentially better humans in all areas of our lives.
I may not be as funny but I am certainly happier and that’s worth the price of many tickets. So how can mindfulness be a thief when it actually pays me what I haven’t even spent and in turn, more importantly, ends up being a gift to others as well?