Training in mindfulness has been one of the best things I ever did. I still call it my ‘cleaning the glass’ moment, where I was finally able to remove the filter of worries and anxiety and see that the world was beautiful and natural outside.
Previously, I had a strong belief that I was no good, not quite worth it. It wasn’t a strong and overriding belief, but more of a quiet little critical voice, keeping me low, helping me stay in a place of mistrust and anxiety about what was happening for me.
I’ve done a lot of mad stuff over the years to try and shift things. I’ve sat on mountains for several days in one spot without food, I’ve walked hundreds of miles, I’ve kayaked across the Irish Sea, I’ve slept out in the open in freezing conditions, I’ve meditated, tried to meditate, felt like I couldn’t meditate, ACTUALLY couldn’t meditate and within it all I’ve felt some level of struggle, pain, resistance and, of course, fun (Type 2 fun, most of the time)!
For sure, I haven’t done a lot compared to many, but I try to look at my needs and follow that urge to go deeper. And although a lot of what I’ve listed above are outdoorsy ‘doing’ things, the reason for ALL of it is my own mission to be happy in my life, to feel satisfied and to explore the traumas and depression I carried with me for decades.
I consider this stuff all part of my inner journey. I am a person in the world, yet I have this whole massive inner experience I spent so much time ignoring through getting angry at other people and the state of the world. I am doing my best to contribute to the bigger picture, but at the same time I know that unless I explore my own inner world, I feel rubbish about the rest of it.
Life, for me, is in two parts – the inner and outer experience. We do stuff ‘out there’ and that affects us ‘in here’. I have to feel healthy inside, (and I’m not necessarily talking about food, here) if I’m going to have a healthy outlook. I have grappled with social conditioning, personal conditioning and judgement to get to a point where I feel like I can hold space well for others to explore theirs.
That is why I do mindfulness and nature connection stuff – because it’s worked so well for me. In my opinion we will never save the world – to me, even the very idea of saving the world is ridiculous – an overblown, egotistical fantasy, putting our redemption at some point in the future, when we have the right tech/attitude/people.
Changing the world starts within. It starts with changing our attitude to right and wrong, good and bad. It starts with actually looking at WHERE WE ARE NOW rather than some future place of ‘being saved’.
Don’t change yourself, be yourself. To me this means accepting who you are, even the shitty bits you don’t want others to see. You are not bad, you are perfect how you are. Everything is perfect.
We are fed layer upon layer of story about how we are broken and need fixing, how there’s stuff wrong with us; problems, addictions, mental health, threats to our health.
For so long I believed I was wrong, that things I did were wrong and that I was unfixable – that’s how I conditioned myself. Society was not in a place to support people to be themselves and see that they are OK, even with the hurt, the fear, the mental health problem. Social conditioning tells us we’re sick, the world is sick, that we are bad. Social conditioning tells us not to trust, that we will get hurt, to protect ourselves. Look where that got us.
My wish is for everyone to love and feel loved, to support and feel supported, to be in a space where they experience compassion, especially when making mistakes. I have made mistakes, I have hurt people, whether I know it or not. I wish to let that go, to let it be known that I was only another person trying to survive, in a society that often felt unsupportive and unkind.
I wish to grow compassion. I work on putting compassion into everything I do, and by doing that I am changing the world. The natural world needs love and connection and understanding by spending time there, in a quiet, open, connecting way, the people around you need love and connection and compassion by you being open. YOU need love and connection from others being open and compassionate. I need love and connection. It’s not reserved for a certain group, it’s for ALL.
We each have our light and dark side. You can have BOTH. Open up to both.
There is no such thing as a bad person. Open up to that.