Sometimes, when you’re new at something, things don’t always go to plan. Since I started incorporating mindfulness into my life a few months ago I have been trying hard to be aware of how I react in various situation. In the past I was always quite a reactive person, quick to be irritated, or angry and my moods used to swing quite a lot.
Over the past few years my moods have leveled out and since starting my mindfulness and meditation practice I’ve become much more patient and better at simply letting go of things that annoy me. Of course there are times when I need to vent and I’m lucky that I have good friends who allow me the airtime to do this.
Last night however was a bit of a fail. I joined the beginners running group (again) after months of being a complete lazy ass – yes I’ve been going to the gym but at best my routine could be described as ‘sporadic’. So off I went with a friend and when I got to the track I met a few other people I know – it’s a very sociable group.
There is also a guy who helps the coaches and, when the group runs, he runs in the opposite direction calling out encouragement. The usual things: ‘well done’, ‘don’t go too fast’, ‘just finish, don’t worry about speed. Things to keep beginners encouraged. The only problem is I find his tone very patronizing and to be perfectly honest my gut reaction is ‘agggghhhh shut up!!’.
I know that I’m bordering on rude as I can’t even bear to look his way when he comes near the group I’m running with. Toward the midway point of the run I zoned out a little and ran more on my own than with a group (I can be an anti-social exerciser – I like to get in a rhythm and let my head clear). This made it worse as I was very aware of the times his encouragement was aimed at me but I couldn’t bring myself to acknowledge this.
So what caused this out of character reaction? I’m normally a very friendly person and acting like this is not like me at all. I don’t often take against people for no reason (occasionally but not often). I do trust my gut quite a lot and I don’t warm to this guy but that’s no reason not to be pleasant. I felt tired when I arrived at the track, I felt a little annoyed at how low I’d allowed my fitness to drop (but I still enjoyed the session). All pretty pathetic excuses not to say thanks to someone who was only trying to be helpful.
On reflection I know I allowed my reactions to be negative and these negative thoughts may even have affected my energy levels and stamina. Instead of focusing on how annoying I was finding this guy, I could have chose to let it go and focus on my run. So now I know the way forward – I have the power to make a choice. Tomorrow night my choice will be to be pleasant, smile and say ‘thank you’. I don’t need to be best friends with this guy but I don’t need to be mean either.
Why am I sharing this? Well, sometimes it’s good to know that there are times when Mindfulness and reacting positively to any given situation isn’t always easy. That’s why it’s called Mindfulness practice – sometimes you’ll not get it right but you keep practicing and if you reflect on your actions and thoughts next time you can choose to react differently.
So that’s my Magic for this Monday – let the magic be in your reflection and your practice and don’t give yourself a hard time. Make the choice to react differently next time you’re faced with a difficult person or situation. And remember, the aim isn’t perfection – smile, let it go and start again. Keep practicing.