I’ve been practicing mindfulness more fully since training to teach mindful yoga with Cathy-Mae Karlese. To be able to teach it authentically, its essential that we have a formal daily meditation practice.
Over the last year I’ve noticed how I slip on the mindfulness banana skin from time to time.
I’m referring to banana skin as anything we have control over that takes us away from our daily practice for a while. Could be something small, from the extra cup of coffee – agitating the mind, the extra glasses of wine – dulling the senses and being too lethargic to practice, taking on too much so we feel there is no time to practice, or something else…
When we slip on a banana skin, we don’t always see it coming, we slip, begin to fall and land with a thud.
As we become more mindful we see the banana skin but we still slip on it, we know we are falling and often land with a bigger thud.
But why do we stay in the banana skin slipping mode for so long?
It’s easier, it feels the normal, the grooves in our neural pathways are programmed that way through habitual patterns, it feels safer, we don’t think we are worth it. We might even slip to please others.
How can we change those patterns? How can we get to a place where we see the banana skin and avoid the slip?
John Kabot Zinn says to practice even when we don’t feel like practicing. He says each time we practice we are developing the mindfulness muscle. Cathy-Mae says ‘just do it’! Like anything worthwhile we have to practice.
I’ve noticed that if I practice when I don’t really want to because I’m agitated, tired, drained or too busy this is when I get the most from a formal practice. The benefits of the practice can allow us to experience a sense of calm, or energy or balance. So we come back to ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’. Allowing us to make wiser and kinder choices for ourselves.
So right now I’m seeing more banana skins before the slip happens and if I do slip, coming back to my practice more quickly and developing my mindfulness muscle. The beauty of the practice is it’s always here right now in this moment.