I was talking to my counsellor Barbara on Wednesday (ACT group and counselling day in my world) about how I do not necessarily think I agree with everything Mindfulness stands for in the way that both her and the other leader of our group Linda talk about it.
ACT Therapy for anyone not familiar with it is short for ‘ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY’
One of the terms that is used a lot is Values and Value direction. This has taken me quite some time to wrap my head around. For me values have always been about morals and character more than ‘goal orientated’ things.
What ACT therapy means by Value direction is more about the things in our lives that we value both tangible and intangible be it in my case creativity, and getting my health back, or family, relationships and managing my depression and anxiety in a way that does not stop me having a happy normal life.
ACT has many things that are somewhat ambiguous in how they are worded. I think what happens with anyone who does such things long term (think of a crafter who will speak in shorthand terms for their crafts such as CS for card stock, or a Musician who have their own forms of shorthand) is that they forget that words often have more than one meaning and that not everyone will immediately understand the gist of what they are saying when they use certain words.
In fact even when everyone is speaking English you can still have conversations with people that leave you scratching your head and wondering if you were really speaking the same language.
So the discussion with Barbara was about why I was not sure I agreed with everything that ACT Therapy and Mindfulness stand for.
The reason I like to deal with emotions and what is going on as best as I can and try not to dwell for too long on the negative or at least work on changing my state when I am in that headspace.
Barbra looked at me and was shocked that I had the impression I did perhaps because ACT group has not really delved too far into the commitment part of the equation as yet. Sometimes it just takes the right wording or moment for the penny to drop and for things to fall into place in your mind.
I understand it better now. Lucky for me Barbara has a good sense of humour and is open to discussing things rather than being the type of person who is rigid and inflexible and will say the same thing over and over again in the same way.
Mindfulness is important. We often forget to be present in each moment as we rush about and let life take us here and there etc. One of the things I learned at Vipassana when I did the intensive 2 week meditation retreat in my Mid 20’s is that we often rush our eating and do not give ourselves time to enjoy what we are eating or overeat because we do not allow our body time to tell us it has had sufficient. The principal being we should eat till we are 80% full.
Anyway today I got to listen to the first instalment of Claire Bowditch’s Winter of Happiness series. It is a series of interviews with various people discussing happiness and other such things. You should all go sign up for it! It is free and a really great dialogue.
What it reminded me of was the blog I wrote on changing your state not only that but a story again from my early 20’s when I worked for Jennifer Angel.
We had a meeting and she was running late. When she arrived she sat down and told us what had happened. I think it is a valuable life lesson and one I have certainly taken with me from that moment on.
She was stressed, rushing around, and of course running late. The more stressed she became the worse the traffic was around her and the more stressed she became. Jenny reached a point where she remembered she could choose to be stressed about the situation or just go with it. She let go and once she did that she laughed. Things went smoother because she chose to react differently and go with the flow rather than trying to change what at the time could not be changed.
In ACT group the example used for this is quicksand. If you find yourself in quicksand it is best not to struggle but to be calm and move as little as possible.
This concept is also touched on in the first instalment of Winter of Happiness.
I think I am extremely lucky in that I was always taught to see the humour in life by both of my parents my father is the eternal Joker King of the Kids, my Mother a person who has always been able to keep her sense of humour no matter what life has thrown at her.
Sometimes even when we speak the same language we hear something different to what is said, or add our own meaning.
Language is a funny thing. So many words mean different things to different people. I have so many examples of this in my life. Sometimes it is frustrating others shocking and other times it is humorous.
It pays to remember we all put different Value, meanings and importance on words.
Till next we meet on life’s journey may you choose your words wisely!
In Love and Light