I consider myself a complete mindfulness convert, spruiking its benefits to anyone who will listen. Although ‘mindfulness’ is a bit of a buzzword at the moment, it is popular for good reason: practising mindfulness can help us be more effective, less stressed, and ultimately happier beings. I often practice mindfulness in my everyday life and personally relish the benefits it brings.
Although I usually find that mindfulness comes quite naturally, I recently had a mindfulness crisis. Let me explain.
For Christmas our lovely CEO gifted everyone in the office a ‘mindfulness mug’. This was a mug that has patterns on it and comes with paints and paintbrush. The idea is to spend some time mindfully painting your mug.
Now for some context – although I do love mindfulness, I never jumped on the mindful colouring bandwagon. This was for one reason alone – I’m horrible at colouring in the lines. I’ve seen five-year-olds with more colouring ability than me.
So when this mug came along I was very excited to paint it but at the same time apprehensive. Thoughts of my lack of colouring-in talent filled my mind and the task suddenly seemed a little stressful.
On one summer afternoon, I decided to give it a go. I tried to use mindfulness as I coloured in the mug and you know what? It was so difficult! It soon became a stressful exercise and my thoughts were definitely very far removed from what could be considered mindful.
I stopped to reflect – why was I worried about how well I coloured in the lines? As I kept probing my discomfort I came to realise that there was no good reason as to why I should worry about my painting prowess. Once that little self-reflection was over I decided to start painting again, throwing away all preconceptions of how it should look and concentrating on painting mindfully.
After a while, I came to enjoy the painting and was in full mindfulness-mode. When I finished painting the mug I had not only enjoyed the mindfulness experience but also felt proud about moving past my own comfort zone and tackling something I’m definitely not talented at. Such a simple exercise showed me a lesson in finding joy when pushed outside my comfort zone. Who knew that something most people would find easy was such a learning experience for me?
I reflected on working with clients and how a task that most find easy can be such a push and a challenge for others. Everyone has different comfort zones – it made me laugh that mine was not a mindfulness mug. It also surprised me as someone who loves mindfulness to find this task so difficult and was cause for a reminder to not be complacent and always work on things that you consider your skills.
I now have my mug on my desk as a daily reminder to act mindfully and move outside my comfort zone. And you know what? Now I’m even considering tackling my arch nemesis the mindfulness colouring book.
For more information on what mindfulness is and how to achieve it, check out this useful article: