For suicide prevention day, I wanted to make a video on mindfulness and grief. For those who might be new to my life, I lost my dad to suicide almost four years ago now. I spent over an hour making a 10 minute video. Starting over. Not knowing what to say. The authenticity was stolen. I gave up and went to study. A few hours into studying, Purple Rain comes on (my dad’s favorite song played at his funeral). I continue to work and not think about how much I miss him. The next song is What’s Going on (another song my dad would CONSTANTLY sing) and I decided to take it as a message to not let this day pass without sharing what I wanted to talk about.
Through the healing process I learned about mindfulness. For me, mindfulness was something that was healing me before I even knew it had a name. In short, mindfulness is allowing yourself to feel your feelings here and now. In grief or any really challenging situation mindfulness can be really helpful. Sometimes you might notice you do not know how to feel because you are so out of touch with your emotions, I’ve been there. In the early stages of grief I did everything I could to not feel. This resulted in panic attacks, and manifested a bunch of other issues then finally I went to grief counselling. I sat down on the stupid couch and said something like, “Hi my dad killed himself now I can’t figure out how to live and about how long is this whole healing thing going to take because I am very busy” My therapist retired a few weeks later. It’s funny now but that was my personality in a nutshell. In anxiety I overdo as an escape to feel. That’s why I needed a mindfulness practice.
As you might imagine, in difficult situations, it is of course far more challenging to sit with emotions because it is painful. We do not like pain. However sitting in discomfort can teach you so much about your healing process. Mindfulness is checking in and being curious about what comes up. Today when that song came on my first reaction was to push it away. I was “too busy to feel sad”. In that moment, I used mindfulness to check in and notice in a gentle way how I wanted to push it away because I am different now. I did not judge myself for that, I just noticed, there is a big difference. Mindfulness is a practice, there is no way to be perfect about it and if there were, it would not be true mindfulness. Perfectionism and mindfulness cannot coexist.
I invite you to put this into practice. Notice throughout your day how you judge people, or things, or even yourself. Then, ask yourself why you believe whatever that judgment is. Is it true? Start to notice if anything changes. Sit with whatever comes up and then let it go.