Who is your hardest critic? Most likely, it’s you. I have been reflecting a lot lately, especially as I have been going through the free online seminar called The Mindfulness Summit. If you haven’t checked it out lately, I highly encourage you do so. It has truly been fantastic and brought concepts into my life that I always yearned for but never quite could name or structure into my normal routines.
As with any genuinely inspiring development workshops, the self becomes the major focus of work and progress. With the help of the autumn day length, I have been drawn to making my own self happier. As I unwind from summer, I have realized that I held a lot of tension in the FOMO category (Fear of Missing Out). But it was all externally driven. I didn’t want to miss out on seeing people, enjoying the sunlight, or getting an iced tea.
I still have this desire to be active and in the season, but now I seek to be present in my own experiences. I want to be experiencing a large number of moments wholly for myself and shared with only the most intimate of friends.
Lately, I have taken on watercolor painting, a craft which I am far from gifted at. In the moments when I am mixing colors or intensely focusing (the simplest-looking strokes are the hardest to get correct!), there is nothing else in my mind. Painting gives me the opportunity to achieve true clarity by allowing me to focus only on one task. I might be painting a pumpkin or even a simple arrow, but in those moments, to hold anything else in my mind would create watery disasters. These moments may be small, but they are monumental in the clearing out of my day.
Another selfish endeavor of mine has been to listen to podcasts, such as Limetown, The Mindfulness Summit, and Call Your Girlfriend. And I am not talking about putting these on as background noise to my tasks. I will curl up with a mug or put away clothes while hanging on to every word of their episodes, stopping occasionally to jot something down or to make note of something to look up later. Forget responding to texts or browsing online; I don’t want to miss a single moment of my podcasts. I love a good television series, but nothing compares to letting our own mind weave images. I think it’s high time to let our minds begin to create again rather than have everything plated before us.
Speaking of plates, I spent three hours yesterday chopping, sautéeing, and simmering. The result: a rustic squash and corn soup. I have portions for the week and possibly not much else could fit into my miniature fridge, but that isn’t going to stop me from baking peanut butter cookies tonight. At this point, I am over eating out all the time, even the daunting task of dishes isn’t going to sway me away from picking up my grater and a wooden spoon.
So normally I am my harshest critic. Lately, however, with all the little greedy moments I have stolen for myself, I feel rather impressed. I painted that pink pair of wellies, met a survivor of the tragedy of Limetown, and slurped homemade country soup all in a Taipei Sunday. That’s something that even I can say I did quite well and a day well spent on taking back every ounce of my time.