After attending a mindful mediation class with my mom and sharing an intimate conversation with a close friend, I feel compelled to process what I've learned. One of the core values of mindful meditation is to accept things for how they are. This is often accomplished, with great patience and practice, by bringing our minds back to the present moment. When this is achieved, it is possible to interpret all else as background noise. I have found this particular method most helpful when I have a recurring thought that leads to emotional discomfort, and often physical harm. For instance, I could not accept that I didn't graduate college on time and with my peers. That thought would reappear and haunt me, often resulting in the type of self-hatred I wouldn't want to share with anyone. However, through conscious awareness I learned to identify that thought and would literally say, "Oh, there's that thought, it's playing again". Then I'd proceed to tell myself the story that was always told after the thought appeared. "Oh, I know how this goes. The thought of not graduating on time makes me feel like a failure-- like I'm worthless". Enter self punitive behaviors. While I am quite familiar with the story, I also know that I don't have to judge it. Rather, I can let it be just that: a story. Or perhaps a song. It's just background noise, like a song on the radio, and once I hear it, I am able to shift my attention to whatever comes up next. Of course, such a skill can not be learned and mastered overnight. I've been working, diligently, for over a year and a half now, to train my brain to, identify a thought, relabel it, re-attribute it, and then refocus. I discussed the significance of the act of being less judgmental, and it is truly versatile in a plethora of situations. Thus, rather than get angry at a thought, I am more mindful and can accept that that's just how it is right now, knowing impermanence is the only thing that is truly permanent. A song we don't like may come on the radio, but we know it will only last a few minutes. That's just how it is right now, there is no need to judge it.
I believe that through the act of being mindful and accepting, we learn patience, and perhaps an appreciation for fate. No, I did not graduate last April with my friends because I spent a semester in the hospital. No, I did not get to conduct research on an infant-sibling autism study with the psychology department. Etc. Etc. Etc. But, "We have no right to ask when a sorrow comes, 'Why did this happen to me?' unless we ask the same question for every joy that comes our way.” Last week I was interviewed and offered a temporary job that I believe will be rewarding. I have always had such a deep passion and appreciation for the special needs community. I am beyond ecstatic and honored to have been given the opportunity to work with kids, teens and their families to aid in the improvement of their quality of life. Through my position as a TSS, I will provide behavioral interventions with children and teens with developmental disabilities and/or mental health needs while supporting the family. I implement behavioral plans, provide support and maintain case notes while establishing a strong rapport and seeing these beautiful people thrive. The job may be especially challenging in certain circumstances, but through the mastery of mindfulness, I possess the patience, acceptance and faith to keep me motivated. I will give absolutely everything I can offer to make this world a better place for those who deserve it most. We all deserve a little peace of mind.