Keeping in the moment & being mindful can be a difficult task. Waking up and suddenly you find yourself wearing a mask. What did just happen? Can’t I just go back to bed and try this again?

Birthdays are difficult as they are reminders of your past. I previously measured my worth by the number of cards I received. I never told anyone generally about my upcoming birthday. Why? I suppose I didn’t want rejection. If they didn’t know, then I wouldn’t have the pressure of whether they sent a card or not.

However, come the day I would then have a down day waiting for cards. Now with facebook, surely no one forgets. So getting back to the present, and despite all my hard work, I slipped back. Last night we went out with some friends for a birthday meal. I had a great time with them sharing my happiness. We laughed together and I received presents, cards, and a surprise birthday cake. On a number of occasions, I was able to notice what was happening and how happy I felt. Several moments of joy to add to my collection, especially to the rendition of “Happy Birthday” as I sat between my wife and daughter.

This morning, bump. Reflecting on why the bump happened was difficult at first. I’m still not sure what pushed that button but having a few physical birthday cards and one message on FB pricked a bubble, even though it was not quite dawn yet!

Previously this cloud would have stayed all day but I was determined to work on it. It was difficult as I have a 5-year-old daughter who needed to be taken to her karate graduation first thing. I didn’t have time to go & sit by myself for a bit. So, I noticed what was happening & parked it. Off we went & I was able to spend some minutes whilst driving. A breathing exercise helped by the breathe app on my Apple watch, gave me the calm I needed. This then allowed me to concentrate on the job in hand, enjoying my daughter’s graduation and staying in the present. Seeing her skip up to the master and receive her new belt, filled me with fatherly pride and a warm glow.

Having spent the time over the last 6 months practicing various mindfulness techniques,  it enabled me to do a number of things:

  • Noticing – not just notice that I had a feeling but being able to step back from it emotionally and then reflect in a compassionate way
  • Keep in the present – staying in today rather than replaying old events or overthinking the future
  • Breathing exercise – enables the calm and regaining the present and serenity

It was difficult but I did it. Now some of you reading this are probably thinking “eh?” You’re probably doing all these things automatically and more importantly sub-consciously. Some of us though are spending a great deal of energy looking and sounding normal for you. For those that can identify with me, I would suggest it’s time for being mindful.

So, I’m sat here at 9:30 pm reflecting. Seems odd really but it’s not as though I made a conscious effort to be negative. My FB count of birthday wishes, by the way, is now over 50, not that I’m counting my worth!

Happy birthday to me!