Sometimes my therapy clients accidentally assume that I don’t have a speck of crazy in me, that I never, ever fight with my spouse, and that I emerged from the womb a calm, centered being—and that nothing has ever happened to get me off center.
But of course that’s not true. The reality is that it’s hard to get to any adult age without struggling over the difference between the ways we want life to be and the way life actually is. Rough stuff happens to all of us if we’re leaving the house on a regular basis and trying to live a connected, meaningful life.
I was thinking about this over the weekend while on a mindfulness retreat with the Atlanta Mindfulness Institute. Put simply, mindfulness is the act of learning to be in the present moment even when we’re bombarded by difficult situations, demanding people and an onslaught of thoughts and emotions. Instead of needing to constantly ask the people around us, “What do I do now?” mindfulness (like therapy) connects us to our own hard-earned knowledge and insight.
Mindfulness meditation is a consistent part of my life because I know that I can’t help clients with their own challenges unless I’m willing to face and be present with my own. When life is sticky and messy and takes us in directions we’d rather not go, we all need experiences like mindfulness and therapy to get us back on track – our own track.