“But I don’t want to do mindfulness”

“Observing” sounds boring. “Noticing” may sound passive, hopeless, or inactive. “Breathing” may not equip you with the ability to say clever and witty things when someone is giving you a lot of grief.

My initial experience with mindfulness was rather isolating- sitting in a class for an hour with my eyes closed and focusing on my breath did not have the same appeal as interacting and participating with the class itself. I’ve noticed a lot of mindfulness is aimed at within-the-skin experiences; noticing breath, body sensations, or experience. There appears to be a lot less “mindfulness” exercises or activities in the literature on mindfulness that is aimed at relationships and interactions.

I’ve had moments in which I want to skip over mindfulness, not do it in my groups, or make it go quickly. When I stop and think about it- often reflecting on my own life and my clients- I often start paying attention to small things that I appreciate, enjoy, or value. Sometimes I simply want to share the everyday things in an everyday way. Sometimes, when I do mindfulness activities with clients, I notice myself worrying about my clients. I also notice that it is harder to do therapy when I am anxious- and do not make the time for accepting, noticing, and allowing.

I’m always struck by how returning to a simple breathing exercise can be so calming and centering. Sometimes I want to avoid it simply because it seems so repetitive, mundane, or obvious; I want to “move on” to something more interesting. Yet again and again I return to breathing quietly. Sometimes I notice worry or impatience. Sometimes I get tearful. Sometimes I feel centered.

All of this I notice, and all of this is my experience. I allow it to be. I accept it fully. I let it orient me to the moment; to the clients in my front of me and the space I share with them.