My Very Own MyPeakChallenge2016: Practicing Mindfulness

Before Sam Heughan will officially start “My Peak Challenge 2016” (#MPC2016) with some kind of small challenge for everyone who is interested, I’d like to throw my hat in with my own personal – unfortunately still rather vague – challenge idea for myself.

Last year I ordered the welcome package and was sort of – but to be honest not really – determined to actually take part in the fitness challenge. I didn’t set a fitness or workout goal for myself, I didn’t join a FB group or really participated in any other way. I donated some money, I think.

What’s going to be different this year? And why?

Let me start by stating that I won’t aim for a workout or fitness goal this year either. Which doesn’t mean I won’t be working out or trying to eat more healthy. I need to do both those things, as I am unfit and overweight. And I’ve already started to do something about this these past few weeks, making good of my old gym membership, trying to walk more steps, being more mindful of what I’m eating and such. I don’t want “working out and eating more healthy” to be my challenge though. Maybe because I just like to swim against the stream sometimes ;-)?

So I was really happy, when the person(s?) running the MyPeakChallenge Twitter account wrote this tweet yesterday:

And they also wrote the following on their “What’s it about” page..

From setting personal health and fitness goals to learning new skills (fancy getting creative in the kitchen, in the yard or at the dance hall, anyone?) to taking up a new hobby or interest (ever tried your hand at baking your grandma’s recipes, knitting, meditating or bending like a pretzel at a yoga group?) while raising money for an incredibly deserving charity – the choice of challenge is YOURS!

That I can get behind. Because while physical health goals are on my agenda, the much bigger challenge will be to (re-)learn to practice mindfulness. Or as Dan Harris puts it so eloquently in the title of his amazing book  “10% Happier” : to tame the voice in my head!

The “running commentary” voice, which is either looking back and dwelling and worrying about something from the past or (day)dreaming / anticipating events in the future, in my case often enough with a worrying undertone.

The Mindfulness Project has a good definition for Mindfulness, I think.

Mindfulness is a simple and very powerful practice of training our attention. It’s simple in that it’s really just about paying attention to what’s happening here and now (i.e. sensations, thoughts, and emotions) in a non-judgemental way. It’s powerful because it can interrupt the habit of getting lost in thoughts, mostly about the future or past, which often generates more stress on top of the real pressures of everyday life.

On this blog I’ve written over and over again how often I feel unfocused and floundering recently and how much I tend to procrastinate and how much I worry sometimes. I think I know where part of these worries and anxieties come from (lack of self-esteem etc.), but I also very much feel it’s time to do something about it again. I got through a 8-week-course of “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR) a few years ago and it did help for a while, but then I started slacking with practicing and meditation and mindfulness is like every other skill: if you don’t train it, you lose it.

I did start some kind of meditation practice a few weeks ago already and I’m glad and proud that I keep doing it, almost on a daily basis. But after having finished Dan Harris’s incredibly impressive book last week I’m more than ever determined to keep going. And to do more and to do better.

That’s the whole point of My Peak Challenge, right?

So, yeah, my challenge will be practicing mindfulness and mindful meditation.

But like I wrote at the beginning of this post, I don’t have a clear goal for that yet.
Maybe I’ll think of a time span I want to be able to medidate without difficulties? I’m doing 8 minutes at the moment and even that is hard work sometimes.
Maybe I’ll try to learn and use different mindful meditations?
I will definitely plan to keep reading the few “self-help” books I’ve already bought back then (and never dared to actually work through) and the ones Dan Harris recommends in his own book.
Maybe I’ll try to find a mindfulness retreat weekend for May? Something like that….

And if there is any other Outlander / Sam Heughan fan interested in joining me in this challenge in any way, just get in touch. I’d love to chat about and share ideas or inspirations or resources (books, programms, websites etc.).

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