Mindfulness course week 7

I’m nearly there – just another week to go and I will have finished the course, just in time for Christmas when of course routines go out of the window.

This week’s focus has been on establishing a good work/life balance. The chapter is ‘When did you stop dancing?’ It suggests you list the activities in a typical day. I did a typical week. You then have to mark each one as either nourishing or depleting. Sermon and worship preparation and delivery, funerals, pastoral visiting are activities that I enjoy, find fulfilling and nourishing yet also deplete energy . Most of the things that are depleting are the administration or planning tasks. I am good at admin but there is more of it than is enjoyable and I often feel that I should be doing something else when I am doing it, like visiting someone or phoning them, or even doing some bible study so my sermons are better. So I then feel guilty which is not good. But I am a clerk in holy orders so I suppose some clerical work of the office variety is to be expected.

They suggest that you look at the balance between nourishing and depleting activities and try to even things up. I listed 6 things to do:

  1. Some admin is monthly in nature – I will start earlier in the month so I don’t end up rushed.
  2. Put in my diary time to think and pray strategically
  3. Check emails first thing the morning, early afternoon and then at close of day. Close the tab in my browser when not in use.
  4. Have a walk before breakfast or lunchtime/afternoon depending upon appointments.
  5. Play my clarinet for at least 5 minutes every day.
  6. Get back into doing some knitting in the evenings.

Two meditations this week – one you found good and another you want to have another go at. I have done the befriending one first thing in the morning adapting it slightly differently each day. Some days I let a verse of scripture guide me. For instance, God is able to strengthen me, or God is my salvation, or simply Peace, Joy and Shalom. On a couple of occasions I used the CD to keep my mind from wandering.

I did the stretching meditation before mid-day prayer time. We were also supposed to do two 3-minute breathing meditations plus any time when stressed. In addition, we are encouraged to do something for ourselves that will nourish, eg take a bath, go for a walk, do something to give a sense of achievement. I also meditated for a while before my examen evening prayer.

The important thing I was reminded of this week was:

When mood is low, motivation follows action,
rather than the other way around.
When you put the actions first, motivation follows.

I hadn’t played my clarinet for a very long time and neither had I knitted. Both enjoyable things to do yet I had not had the necessary motivation or energy. This week I have made myself do them and the motivation is returning. It also helped that we had a wind band in church on Sunday afternoon giving a concert. As I listened I realised how much I miss playing in a band.

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