I am on my way to Manchester to for our weekly MAHQ meeting. I travel down from Lockerbie nowadays and I have to change at Preston. Today my train onwards from Preston was cancelled amid a wonderful array of conflicting announcements – that it was on time, that it was delayed and that it was cancelled. Then I transferred to the platform for the next service, which was then delayed, with a tantalising array of drivers turning trains on and off at the platform and then joining trains together.
Amid this I noticed my mind calculating when and whether to change platform, for the alternate train and then assessing the odds of the second train leaving on time or at all, intermittently referring to the train app on my phone for additional nuggets of information. It is interesting to note my reactions and the reactions of those around me. I felt quite relaxed and resigned, amused by the various announcements and by my mind’s grasping for some kind of certainty. I wasn’t really bothered that I would be delayed; I didn’t really mind what the outcome would be – I just wanted to know enough to make a plan. This is my usual habitual pattern, that I am getting to know and love – smiling at it like an old friend. I am gradually learning to surrender to life rather than bracing myself for a fight against it. What a relief!
Sometimes I feel like I am clinging on to a cliff edge, with my fingernails – the cliff edge of control. Now more than anything I want to let go – to allow myself to fall into the unknown.
What’s the worst that can happen?
This time I might be a bit late – no big deal – but it’s good to practice with the small issues life throws at us – in preparation for the biggies, when they come along.
I was curious about the situation at the station. There were lots of people waiting for the train – I didn’t notice much anger amongst them, just resignation and a tendency to go to the phone to tell someone they were going to be late or to interrogate the train app!
It can be valuable to treat life like an ongoing adult education course, where we can be open and curious about all that happens, pleasant or unpleasant, notice our reactions or responses and gradually learn to be more present and more kind.
Our new free Mindfulness Based Living app (available at Google and Apple store) is a new resource to help us with this. We can now reach for the phone, ear plugs in for a three- minute breathing space when we don’t have much time, for a loving kindness practice when we are feeling irritated or for a RAIN practice when we feel stuck with a difficult emotion. We can use technology to support our practice, rather than to distract us.
Something to consider next time we are delayed!
So I hope you enjoy the app as much as I do.
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