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★Mindfulness: learning the hard way

I venture down to the local rock climbing gym at least once a week these days. It’s something I really look forward to doing. Rock climbing is physically and mentally challenging, it gets me out of the house (I work from home) and most importantly (for me at least) it’s one of the only things that has my absolute full attention.

When I am rock climbing, I am doing nothing but rock climbing.

This is odd for me. I am well aware of the pitfalls of multitasking, and whilst I am getting better and better at being mindful and present it is still a challenge for me and something I struggle with every day.

So yesterday I was getting ready to go rock climbing, I’d completely lost track of time and was rushing around a bit. I was still thinking about the work I was doing when I realized the time, I was thinking about the most efficient way to get ready, I was thinking about doing the dishes, making the bed, grabbing some lunch and of course I was thinking about rock climbing.

I decided that I needed to make a late lunch before I tidied up, and if I boiled the kettle whilst I was washing the plates and draining the tuna then I could cut the tomatoes and butter the bread whilst the plates are drying and it should all come together just nicely.

I don’t know if that was the exact train of thought, but you get my drift…

All this and I was still thinking about the work I was doing, and how I hoped they hadn’t changed that boulder route I like and what was I going to have for dinner and was I going to be ready in time and had I washed my rock climbing clothes last week and am I slicing that tomato too thick and holy sh*t that’s my finger!

I had nearly cut off the end of my little finger.

Not nearly cut off my finger as in I just missed my finger, I mean nearly cut off my finger as in there’s a knife about three quarters of the way THROUGH the end of my finger.

I don’t recommend cutting more than half way through your finger, but it is a great way to immediately focus your attention.

I’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say after two ‘super absorbent’ kitchen towels had stopped absorbing, I called my climbing partner to tell him that I was unable to climb today, then nearly passed out on the couch whilst my hand went from being icy cold and numb to boiling hot and and intensely painful whilst I counted the cracks on the wall and otherwise tried to think about anything but what had just happened.

Mel came home much later and we got some gauze and tied it up as best we could. Today, it’s still sore and every time I use my left hand I feel the wound pop open and… actually you don’t want to know the details.

But! I’m fairly certain it will be OK and I’m a fairly efficient typist even when I do keep my pinky in the air like I’m drinking a posh cup of tea from a delicate china cup.

So there you have it. I’ve been reminded just how important being mindful is. I had to learn the hard way but if that’s what it took to bring it to my attention, then I’m glad it happened.

The ironic thing is that just hours before I’d had words with my friend for spilling tea on the couch. An accident of course, but a result of not being mindful. A daft thing to do for sure but not half as mindless as nearly cutting your own finger off.


My number 1 personal development tip is Focus, Focus, Focus! and that’s exactly what I wasn’t doing yesterday.

When I wrote my tip in that thread I wasn’t talking specifically about being mindful and present but it applies here too, even more so in fact.

Part of the problem is rushing, which is never a good idea. I should have been more aware of the time and gotten ready sooner.

Part of the problem was trying to do too much at once, which is never a good idea. Without exception, it’s always more efficient to do one thing at a time.

Part of the problem was being tired. Ironically doing and thinking so much at the same time had undoubtedly tired me out even more than focus, concentration and mindfulness.

Even more importantly (for me at least) I could have used the time it took to make my lunch and do the dishes as ‘down time’ and relaxed and recuperated. I would have enjoyed myself, had a better meal, been more refreshed, got everything done and been on time for climbing and most importantly not sliced the tip of my finger nearly clean off.

So there you have it! My lesson was well learned. Maybe this post will help prevent a trip to the E.R. or at the very least a few finger tips.

“How easy it is in our life, to miss what’s being offered.” — Paul Haller

OUCH, I am feeling weak thinking about your finger.


Glad about your lesson—but so sorry about the incident.

Emotions, Sensations ,
& Feelings

i have almost been hit by a bus so many times by not being mindful

one of these days… :s

This reminds of the concept of recovery. That if you are working working working and don’t stop to recover than you will inevitable fail. Even if recovery is in short bursts or for what only seems like a few minutes, the effects that this has on your mind are incredible. Focus is unattainable without it.

Every time you think negative thoughts, stick your fingernail into your thumb cuticle until it hurts! We sometimes forget that bad thoughts harm us as much as physical pain, but we recognise physical pain immediately and stop whatever is causing it. I got this from Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage

(Trying that linking thing, doesn’t look like it worked…)

“Even if you’re on the right track – you’ll get run over if you just sit there” Will Rogers

Yay the link worked!

And by the way, I’m starting a “No whinging/complaining” policy. It started yesterday and I didn’t get far, but it’s making me more aware of my thoughts.

“Even if you’re on the right track – you’ll get run over if you just sit there” Will Rogers

In response to Lee Nutter’s post:
I was about to leave for work, and I was rushing as my fresh eyes thread said I’d do (getting ready in record time), and I burned myself badly on the teapot. I couldn’t reach the teacups, and reached up for it w/a big stretch, and part of my stretch leaned into the boiling pot. I asked to come in on this day (which I was supposed to be off), an hour later. Who knows maybe I knew I had taken on too much by agreeing to help out today. I hate to take it that deep, though it’s possible.

While I’m currently in pain, I am not just pausing with my routine, I stopped. I have been tremendously busy, trying to takie care of loose ends in my life. While I feel good, about how I’ve approached my challenges, I know that I know I need more mindfulness. Hence, I remembered Lee’s thread.

So bmindful- I vow to you and myself a more mindful life.

Emotions, Sensations ,
& Feelings

Ouch! Here is sending you lots of love and healing energy so you will feel better fast!!

I am living in many dimensions at once; the appearance of being trapped in time and space is only an illusion.

I feel really sorry for Lee and Laurie for being hurt like this.

I am in total agreement – Concentrating on what u r doing at the moment will surely help get better results.
I tried the being mindful thing while walking- Thich Nhat Hanh has talked about it so many times. Though I could not get the hang of counting my breaths and walking in sync with that. But what I tried was counting my steps till 10 and then counting again till one day when I reached till the count of 100! Now whenever I go for a walk I hate to seek a partner because I take walking as my meditation time where I count my steps and my mind feels so very relaxed. The mind is free of its clutter during this period and I come back energised and not tired after my 7 km walk!!
I have even tried counting in situations where I feel I am stuck and don’t have much else to do or passing the time waiting is sometimes so very boring, say while waiting for the train, I count the number of people, cars, people with black clothes etc…. It keeps me occupied and yet unoccupied.

We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.

In response to SONIA’s post:
“it keeps me occupied and yet unoccupied”
You have put your finger on something I have been trying to articulate for a while now! I started a yoga class about four weeks ago and Richard, the instructor, is amazingly spiritual and connected with the minds and spirits as well as the bodies in the room. At the beginning of each class he gives a talk and last week he touched on “being mindful” although he didn’t use those words. Being occupied yet unoccupied. Being free simply because you are aware, in the moment. Relinquishing control by being in control.

Mindfulness is something that I think throws some people, and perhaps seems like an “ominous” or advanced spiritual concept. But I think we have to be willing to move through the fear around our perceptions of such things and look at them as they really are.

There are times, from a practical perspective, when labels can be useful. The word apple, for example, is a useful label, in that it helps us distinguish that piece of fruit from an orange or Volkswagon. Of course, the key is to realise that “apple” is only a label.

Similarly, it can be useful to identify our spiritual practice by labels, in order to help others understand our perspective, or to share that path with seekers. This increases the need for clarity and accuracy in our choice of labels. One would not want to describe the tenets of Islam and then describe it as Hindu Dharma, for example. Yet ultimately, it does not matter what label you consign to your spiritual practice, because it is your spiritual practice.

The Sanskrit word for spiritual practice is sadhana, and denotes a self-cultivation toward spiritual attainment. It recognises, as nearly all spiritual paths do, that daily cultivation is the key to spiritual progress.

We don’t achieve our spiritual goals by making grand statements, or through dramatic initiations or ordinations. Our spiritual growth is not contingent upon whether or not any other person acknowledges or approves of our paths. Your realisation doesn’t rely on any other person, deity, scripture or ritual. Enlightenment or spiritual attainment is purely the result of self-reliance and self-cultivation.

Now this choice of words is actually a bit funny, because the idea of “self-cultivation” is to let go of the delusional and dualistic concept of “self”, but you know what I mean!

Whatever system of spirituality you practice, let it be guided by compassion, awareness, and non-violence.

In Tibetan Buddhism, we use the words yeshe cholwa, with yeshe meaning “wisdom that’s always been there,” and cholwa meaning “wild or uncontainable,” to describe the spiritual path sometimes referred to as “crazy wisdom”.

Yeshe cholwa refers to someone who seems to be intoxicated with an unbounded, unconditional, natural loving energy, which is effortless and radiant, not driven by the hope and fear machine of the ego. In our tradition, wisdom is the living energy that comes from the insight that there are no fixed points in reality, an insight that is sometimes called emptiness, or sunyata.

When we combine that wisdom with compassion, we discover the synergy of a path that is not confined to a particular cultural context, ethnic tradition or religious rituals.

That is probably why I find no difficulty serving as a monk in what appears to be two divergent traditions — the Buddhist tradition and the Eastern Catholic/Esoteric Catholic tradition. And it’s why I invited wicca, Druid priests, Jewish rabbis and a Mormon missionary to join me at the altar, when ordaining someone to the priesthood.

Rather than seeing these labels of religions as points of separation, I see them as expressions of the same spiritual desire. For me, it’s all simply upayayana — a feral, fluid expression or vehicle of unrestricted methods, which gives us many ways to unleash, rediscover and live in the light of that which has always been there.

I challenge you to try this week… right now… from where you are… to expand your ideas to include the possibility that what we’ve seen as differences are simply differences of expression.

What really matters for any of us is that we enter into a daily spiritual practice — whatever that may be. Daily practice brings us a process or means of making measurable progress. If prayer is part of your daily practice, do it. If meditation is part of your daily practice, do it. But do it every day consistently.

And try, even if only for today, to let go of the need to figure out what to name your practice. Let it be enough to simply call it sadhana, and for a moment, we will all find it easier to recognise our Unity!


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson

Emotions, Sensations ,
& Feelings

In response to laurie- does first things first~‘s post:
This really struck a chord with me Laurie. It has, funnily enough been on my mind. Who decides how great or adequate we are? We do, thats who. Although, I can only speak for myself in saying this is often hard. Deep down knowing that we must celebrate the greatness and godliness that is God within us, it is difficult to see the boundary between ego and pride, and that which is naturally within us….
It is much easier to see the reality that is, in the here and now and in our present situation. In this case, when I truly dont know or feel my worth I remain enclosed, pensive and humble – but as quite rightly suggested in this quote that is FEAR and simply not giving yourself permission to shine.

Certainly something to think about…. Thanks Laurie.

A full and thankful heart..

“Live today fully, expressing gratitude for all you have been, all you are right now, and all you are becoming.” Melodie Beattie

Emotions, Sensations ,
& Feelings


I have just recently practiced meditation for mindfulness, as I have friends that have been practicing and found that they have changed in their perspective and way of life. I’d like to know how that happens, when it happens. I hope that experts in this forum will be able to share their insights on how a newbie like me can gain “inner peace” and continue meditation on a daily basis. I feel that I am always on autopilot mode, merely following routines when I get up in the morning and go to work. I hope that I find more depth into being in this world. Hope you can help me out!

I am by means an expert but what I do is set goals, long and short. Then I mediatate on these goals. every week or so I renegotiate my goals as stagnation isn’t good for the soul… Right as I wake up in the morning and right before I go to sleep I remind myself of what is and was important to me that day. That way i can let go of any residual negative and focus on all the awesomeness of the day…. it is simple but for me it works…. altho in saying that I am always looking for ways to improve and the folks here on bmindful are wonderful teachers…. great having you here…. Kathy

I’ll see if I can remember this and take it to heart. The thing about focus is, once I get good results from it I am tempted to forget about it. Focus is obviously more than a momentary concentration. Anyway, I’m very attached to my fingers so this story certainly isn’t lost on me.

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