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Friday, 1 December 2017

Practice what I preach

How often do things go right? We often notice or are fixated when things go wrong that we completely gloss over how often things go right.

Today I was meant to be traveling home to see family by train when I realised I’d already collected my train tickets for my journey the same time as I collected the ones for my previous trip home.

However, it dawned on me that I had thrown today’s tickets out with the others...essentially just throwing away money as due to the terms and conditions - tickets cannot be reprinted.

I felt dismayed, upset, silly, angry and stupid. How could I have done such a thing? Why does this always happen to me? Why are things going wrong all the time? I managed to book some coach tickets instead, as they were much cheaper than buying new train tickets but since I was still in a rage I managed to book my return journey for the wrong day...

I nearly lost it. I just wanted to cry and collapse on the floor. To give up. I nearly did until I realised it would only cause a scene and then I’d have to be escorted out of the station by security.

Instead I amended my return journey which thankfully didn’t cost me anything extra.

As I was walking away from the train station towards the coach station, something started to shift. I still have my health, I thought, which brought a wry smile to my face.

Then I thought of all the things I would say to a friend in this situation. All the things I preach about to others in person and on this blog. The mindfulness. The self-compassion.

Don’t let this moment define your life. Now is a new moment.


I’m so stupid, I always make mistakes > I’m human, everyone makes mistakes.


Will this matter in 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years?


And what I started to notice we’re all the thoughts. I had stopped identifying with them and could stand back and observe them with detachment. They were just thoughts.

My life, despite messing up, my recent setbacks and poor choices was pretty great.

Let me be clear, this was not merely thinking positive. I still felt silly, stupid and angry for my mistake but I no longer let it define me or the rest of my life.

And then it happened again later in the week. But this time I lost a £1000. I was scammed.

But instead of this experience crippling me, I applied the same thinking to it as I do before. I would not let this moment define my life. And while the pain of it would probably last more than 5 months, the suffering of it didn't have to last more than 5 seconds.

The surprising thing was that I was able to recover more quickly and move on. I felt more resilient in the face of adversity. Until this moment I actually doubted that mindfulness could work, but like anything you have to practice to get better at it.

It reminds me of the quote: “Life will keep bringing you the same test over and over again until you pass it.”

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