Mindfulness Activity #114
Embracing Your Worst Tasks
Good Morning. We have been discussing courage…the courage to face your own feelings, to brave vulnerability, to brave discomfort, to brave being a beginner. One thing that is helpful to remember is that often our fear about what an experience will be like is much worse than the actual experience. Being honest, authentic, and vulnerable does mean that some moments will be awkward. When you quit avoiding tasks or people that evoke shame in you, you will experience some shame or discomfort, but you can train yourself to get used to that. The payoff? Getting rid of heaps of useless, toxic, unjustified shame.
Through mindfulness attention to the present moment, you can cultivate self-compassion and adopt a gentle attitude towards yourself. We avoid things that hold up a mirror to our imperfection. But if we accept that we are not perfect, we have no need to beat ourselves up when we see imperfection. We are free then to plot a course towards improvement, released from the paralysis that comes from avoiding in to protect our own feelings or self-image.
The absolutely great news is that you can develop courage to sit with things that evoke discomfort or shame through lots of everyday things that we all avoid. A pile of bills? I’m disorganized. A pile of laundry? I’m a slob. Reaching out to someone? What if they blow me off? There are no end to the ways we can meet up with our critical selves, embrace the unpleasant and grow courage to sit through discomfort. This also makes it easier to have an easy manner because you will learn that you are actually not so bad!
So today’s practice is to sit tall and breathe. Click this meditation timer and after the second chime, consider things you avoid or things that make you feel awkward or unskillful.
Know that being unskillful is not bad, it is a starting place. Remember to try to have an easy manner. You may not have felt like practicing, but if you are listening or reading now, you practiced anyway. Think about tasks you least want to do today. Imagine yourself not just facing those tasks, but embracing the whole experience–leaning into the acts with full participation and without judgment. Choose one or more tasks you do not like and make it your intention to embrace them throughout your day. When the chimes ring to signal the end of the practice breathe one last time. If you pick the thing you most want to avoid and do it, the other tasks become even easier. You will have grown your courage to sit in vulnerability.
Have a day with unpleasant opportunities!