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Tips on Finding Mindfulness by Robyn Cruze, MA

Robyn Cruze, MA, National Recovery Advocate shares thoughts on mindfulness.

You know when you send an email, and then you get a response that is so not on par with the email that you thought you sent? That happened to me yesterday. Of course, I went into the normal tailspin—the dance of fear that seems to be my go-to. Sucked into a vortex of travesty, my mind creates the worse possible scenario, and my emotions are hijacked before I can say, "What the beep is happening?—Yes, I need to work on that. But then I spoke to a friend, and we laughed hysterically about my so-called travesty—I mean, tears, snot, the real deal belly-aching laugh—needless to say, I felt better. Later, I then slept on it—a full eight hours—and today, voila, I feel very differently. Oh, how I wish I could skip the dance and get to this point—I'm working on that too. Anyway, the whole ordeal, that wasn't actually an ordeal at all, got me thinking about the stress that I place on myself for something that is not actually real. The stress of having to have everything in its place, including people, wreaks havoc on my nervous system and takes space rent-free in my mind. Catastrophizing is something that has become a well-honed habit, one that, quite frankly, I don't want anymore. Which begs the question, how do I want to show up for myself in recovery and situations—based on reality—that make me feel uncomfortable? How do I bring the feeling that I felt when I woke up this morning to any situation that makes me feel messy? I have a choice today—what a blessing and miracle that is. I have come to understand that most of the time, the stress and expectations on me are from me, that speaking my truth and being thoughtful and considerate is all I have to do. Being me is enough. But getting to this point is still a dance that impacts me spiritually, mentally, and indeed physically. Some of the tools to get me to my “wise mind” a little quicker are the following:

  1. Gather the facts: Someone once told me that if I cannot smell, see, or hear it, it's not real. While I can philosophize this saying out the wazoo and find fault with it—another skill I tend to use overly—I find it helpful in situations I am highly emotional about to stick to the facts.
  2. Get grounded: Sitting still for 5 minutes and breathing before I press the "send button," pick up the phone or open my mouth is a great tool that moves me out of the chaos of my mind and emotions and closer to my definition of recovery.
  3. Invite open-mindedness: My youngest daughter, Chloe, told my eldest daughter, Lilly, one day when she was struggling with a thought, "You know, Lilly, just because you think it, doesn't make it real." Reminding myself this allows me to be open to what actually happens and what is real.

My recovery is who I am; I have the ability today to show up using my tools… and it is this, showing up in a way I am most proud of, that makes my recovery worth it.

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