Miscellany of Mindfulness
I’ve always been a faffer, dawdler, slow-coach, whatever your choice of term might be. Timed, I can get changed in under a minute, have breakfast in under 3, shower in 4. But I don’t. I end up taking an hour to do these things, sometimes a little bit longer – very rarely less.
I have a Mondaine watch. It’s a Swiss Railway watch; the face is used on the Apple clock. It’s simple, with clear lines. I really like it; in fact it’s actually my second one. You get free entry to the London Museum of Design with a Mondaine too. (Although I’ve never actually tested this freebie – but The Watch Lab guy, in The Arndale, who has a penchant for Mondaines, told me). Mine stops telling the time properly if I don’t wear it consistently; this is deliberate I’m sure. An apparent downfall of the Mondaine, is that you have to physically change the date on it – the dates go up to 39 and the days can go all funny too, if you’re not careful. I quite like the extra bit of work you need to put into it though – think I enjoy the hassle.
I stopped wearing my watch when I was breaking up with Time. I didn’t find it helpful being reminded of Him constantly – so I blocked Him and refused to have any reminders; think that’s why my watch decided to get back at me. I needed to clear my head before I could be on friendlier terms with Time again; a cleansing. So I’ve been walking to work; a kind of mindfulness. It’s 1.7 miles there (and 1.7 miles back, obviously) and takes 30 mins to walk, when I’m not faffing and in ‘bossy walk’ mode (as it was once called). But, because I enjoy faffing, I get a bit lost in my thoughts, so it takes longer for me to get to work and back. Being ‘on time’ isn’t a priority for me – and yet ironically, I often am!
I enjoy walking to work. It’s a straight road, more or less and it’s the Mindfulness that suits me. When I know I’m walking to work, it’s proving to be a great motivator to get me out of bed! I focus on my breathing; my constant, as well as the stillness of nature around me (there genuinely are some trees on the way). I also like to do a daily count of Mobikes – numbers are definitely dwindling – but I got 8 in 1 day. Imagined conversations with people I know, don’t know, would like to know, wish I didn’t, are played out. I enjoy playing with car registration numbers to see what words I can make with the letters (reminiscent of Paul Coia’s Catchword (4mins 18secs in) from years gone by). I’m also coveting dogs at the minute – not in a sinister way – but, I like to think of the walk as part of my imagined dog’s imagined routine. (I know, you’re sensing I have a lot of fun on the way)!
Before we had external invigilators at school, we used to invigilate exams in the Sports Hall for mocks and GCSE exams. In the silence, I’d imagine doing cartwheels down the aisles. (I’ve never been able to do a cartwheel, but I enjoyed the rebellion of an imagined one). I would count the number of headscarves, girls with a tan, similar haircuts, afros, long/ short hair, plaits, kids with nose rings. I’d then delve into races, languages, parents I’ve met/ not met, names I knew, siblings I’d known etc. etc. etc.
It would go on for the duration of the exam, and if it wasn’t for my left knee choosing to click only ever in the silence of an exam hall, I would have loved the exam to have gone on and on until I tired of the game. In some ways, this was a kind of mindfulness; compartmentalising, creating lists, a focus on something other than a worry or a fear of time (that ol’ beast again).
Mindfulness was part of my healing-prescription. I was advised to buy the Mindfulness book and in particular, to listen to the CD enclosed (Finding Peace in a Frantic World). It definitely helped clear my mind and helped me gain some control of my thoughts and as a result, my feelings. It’s a bit like having a clear desk at work, a place for everything (rather than everything thrown into a drawer, like mine often was). It gave my thoughts structure. A few minutes of stillness and peace helps rejuvenate; a boost that can begin to empower. My walks to work are beginning to do just that and by the time I arrive, my world has been (ever so slightly) realigned.