The healing power of writing and the concept behind leading a mindful and sustainable life
Since childhood I have used writing as a means of expressing myself, leaving notes to my parents to apologize for something bad I’d done, letters to best friends and later boyfriends, journals and diaries packed with stuff. But year after year my love for writing increased...it became a channel for me. A way of taking things off my mind, a way of recording my ideas, a path for healing.
Frequently I woke in the middle of the night with anxious thoughts, and insomnia kicked in. Writing was always by my side. Keeping me company in the darkest of hours, during the most fearful of moments, where anxiety took over and started destroying me physically too.
And that’s where mindfulness came into the picture. Writing is a powerful tool used in mindfulness...jotting things down means taking them out of your mind onto a piece of paper, making it easier to let these thoughts go. I have always been one to worry...I can still remember my father telling me to scream ‘I DON’T CARE’ at the top of my voice, in one of his many attempts to calm me down, to ease my worrying. Back then, mindfulness was not as widespread as it is today, so there was little knowledge as to how to handle a ‘born worrier’.
Whilst searching for solutions for my health issues, the teachings of mindfulness came to light. I started to read up on the subject and to practice it daily, even signing up for a diploma. I subsequently took up yoga in the process, which is very much linked to the practice. A visit to a doctor brought mindfulness even closer to me, where he suggested a daily swim or walk, possibly wild swimming or walking in nature, and that I try out meditation, just for a few minutes a day (I have to admit, I’m not particularly diligent on this one, but whenever I do meditate, it makes a world of difference).
Mindfulness has thought me to notice when I’m ruminating, when my thoughts are spiraling and bringing me down. With time, it became second nature to recognize my state of mind, capture my negative thoughts and flush them out of my system, by focusing on my breathing, and visually capturing those thoughts, accepting them and letting them go. This enables me to move on and to stop the negative cycle of thoughts.
This gift of mindfulness also opened me up to the idea of self-care, and how by dedicating time to myself can make me a better person. Whereas before I would rush on like a mad person doing everything that ‘needed’ to be done, and making myself a martyr thinking it was the right thing to do, I can now recognize when I’m overdoing it and prioritize accordingly. After a rest, walk, or some yoga, I feel much better and can take on the world again, but with a clearer mind, making time for the things that really matter. So what if the beds remain undone today, or that email doesn’t get replied to? It’s not the end of the world!
But best of all, and something you’ve probably all heard of, mindfulness helps to simply be in the present moment. It enables me to really take in what’s happening at the time and make the most of it. However trivial the event may be (and it’s usually something as simple as watching my children running or smiling), each time it is a gift. I need not worry about the future, because I’m truly living the present.
And this brings me joy! It brings me contentment and a sense of peace. It slows me down and clears my mind, helping me recognize what really matters. It makes me conscious of my words and actions, and of the consequences of what I say or do.
This newly achieved consciousness is what opened my eyes to the effects my way of life was having on our environment, and made me want to do something about it. The contentment which a mindful life brings me, makes me need less materialistic belongings, it has helped me appreciate what I already have and care for it more, it allows me to slow down and enables me to think before I act, stopping me from shopping irresponsibly and giving me the patience to make conscious choices. Ultimately, I feel I have a new awareness, a new love towards life and our planet, and a fresh willingness to do what I can to reduce my carbon footprint, giving it my best shot. This is why I believe there is a strong connection between mindful living and leading a sustainable life, and that the two together can work wonders.