It’s after midnight so it is now the first of September. My self-determined challenges for this month are to stop biting my lip and fingers (something I’ve been doing since I was a child) and to be present (and whenever I discover that I’m not being present, I’ll gently bring myself back).
Tonight, I lie in bed, wide awake. I cry for my friend Michelle, who died suddenly. Since receiving the shocking and upsetting news, my emotions have become heightened.
I went for a long walk today and photographed the sun in the trees. I gazed delightedly at the yellow crescent moon perched low in the dusky sky. Music pulses through my body like blood.
I feel for Michelle and her parents. I remember the times we had together. I wonder how I’ll be at her funeral.
My mind flits from Michelle to a guy I’m interested in to an upcoming holiday to work and back to Michelle. I bite my lip.
I glance at the time. It’s twenty-five minutes past midnight. It’s September, I realise with a jolt and snatch my hand away from my mouth. I’m supposed to be present now.
I groan as I recognise that sometimes I actually enjoy being entertained by the drama of my mind. I quite like fantasising and reminiscing and anticipating. Mindfulness can be boring, right? Twenty-five minutes in and I’m already resisting the challenge.
The clock creeps past one am. I know that my mind is keeping me awake, like an enthusiastic relative back from their travels, telling me stories and bombarding me with pictures.
It’s late and I’m still wired. Not so entertaining now, is it? Maybe being present would be a good idea, I decide.
My breath deepens. I sink into my body and snuggle into the bed. My mind escapes again. And again. I patiently allow it to shuffle back. My shoulders drop. I stop holding on so tight. And I fall asleep.
Perhaps living in the past and potential future is just another bad habit like biting my lip and fingers. Apparently it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. Thirty days hath September. So let’s see if this month bestows me with boredom or liberation and peace…
How will you challenge yourself this month?
Image: Author’s Own.