Let me start with some background to how I found out about Frazzled. It started one random day, when a close friend of mine called and asked if I wanted to go see Ruby Wax’s one women show at Leicester Square Street the next week, and it was going to be a comedy show about mental health. I said why not, as I think Ruby Wax is really funny and I have been getting an ever increasing interest in mental wellbeing and mediation and knew that Ruby was well known for openly speaking about with humour how she dealt with her depression.
So there I was sat down in the intimate theatre with my friend, with a glass of red wine in hand, looking at a stage with just a comfy armchair, and a pamphlet for Ruby’s book that I got told to hold on to. So I sat back not really knowing what to expect.
She came on to stage, very casually with a clipboard and said that it was just going to be an interview – where she was both the interviewer and interviewee. The show was filled of funny stories, from her mom vacuuming to awkward dinner parties. She talked about how Mindfulness and Mediation had really help her get a better grasp on her mental health and overall happiness, but also clearly stated wasn’t a cure for depression.
She went into what Mindfulness really is and how it interacts with our stress responses. I t was the first time that I truly ‘got’ mediation – I always wondered how I was meant to turn off thoughts and have an empty head – YOUR NOT!. You are meant to focus on a sense (touch, hearing etc) as you can’t do that and simultaneously focus on your thoughts, at that point you can allow thoughts but let then slide/float past. She made us to a mini body scan in our chairs (yes audience participation) just to feel our feet grounded, our bodies contact with the chair – it was only 3 mins and just felt my body relax. It was a true lightbulb moment. Other aspect of the show were just talking about real life and how we manage her stress and mindfulness and didn’t expect any us to suddenly be zen buddhist monks overnight. We just need to take small moment through the day to be in our bodies and conscious of that – whether doing bicep curls with our handbags (she actually did them onstage with an audience very large handbag), or just sitting and listening or smelling (Told us to smell our pamphlet which had lavender oil in and just take a few deep breathes).
It was only an hour but that hour has really helped me on my journey. I had to learn more that I had finally figure out mediation and how it can just help reduce stress levels and how I response to both stressful and happiness moments.
Now an even bigger fangirl, I got a signed copy of the book for myself and friend. I will fully admit that has taken me a number of months to actually getting round to reading it.
The book is a great book for beginners who are interested in underling mindfulness not from a real person, who you can actually relate to. It explains the science behind it, but in informative but digestible for someone without a masters in psychology. It breaks it up with stories along her journey and also witty interjections. It also give real life easy ways that you can start doing more mindfulness with a full six-week course, which just starts with breathing – who know it could be that simple. However, she also makes it very clear that it is a skillset, a muscle that you need to practice (that is a key word, it is a continuous practice).
Minus again give me real great insight in the benefits, workings and practicality of mindfulness mediation what I really took away from this book was NO JUDGEMENT. This might sound small, but in current times, we all judge ourselves. Ruby openly admits it, I openly admit, I judge myself whether it is again others on social media, friends, or even again my idea of myself. It is an easy practice to fall into in many aspects of our life. I also like doing things properly, the best way possible, even a far as saying it needs to be perfect at times. So mediation before her show and book, had been a real struggle for me, as I hadn’t been able to empty my brain, whether it was rumination on negativity or just a list of what I need to do after this. This would distract from the benefits, as I was thinking I was doing it wrong. Ruby spells out, that it is a practice and there will be sessions when you keep having thoughts, but each time you do just try to return to your breathe or body – and if need be repeat that process over and over a hundred times in the 10 mins you are sat down for. Pass no judgement on that you need to keep coming back to your breathe, and know you are making that muscle stronger each time that you do. You don’t need 10 mins of empty thoughts – clear mind. You just need the intention.
Another key aspect of no judgement which helps move you on to the cornerstone of mediation is BEING PRESENT. Having no judgement will mean you stop those minutes, hours, days, weeks when after something happens we ruminate on it, how we felt it went etc, and just accept that it happen – full stop. That the only life we have and the only aspect of our life we can change and experience is NOW, the present moment. We can’t change the past, we can’t know what the future holds and the only way we can enjoy and have an real impact in our life is to be in the moment. So when ask to focus on your breathe or the feeling of your feet on the floor – you an in that exact moment, as it is happening now in the present. Thinking more this way, regardless to the mediation, breathing I feel will make anyone feel happier – as you don’t have the stress or worry of what has been or anticipation whether anxious or joyful of what is coming and make sure we live in for now and maximise its enjoyment. Ruby said that a lot of us love planning a holiday and get excited but forget when we are on this very expensive holiday be in it. We act on autopilot and I think one of the key to my recent increase happiness is finding it in the small common things which you do but being in the song your are listing, that walk, and the meal you eating etc.
Since really this book, I have been really inspired in my mediation practice, I have used it in real life, from just taking a moment at work to breathe for a minute if I feel that I need to be brought back to the present.
So I would highly recommend reading this book, but even if you don’t decide to read the book please take away from this post to remember to be in the present and have live with no judgement for yourself.