Have you ever had a moment when you’ve felt truly alive? Have you ever stopped to question what’s happening in your mind, your body and your surroundings? Have you come to rest and allowed whatever’s there just to be? Some people happily choose to live on auto-pilot. Others sail through life on auto-pilot perhaps without even realising. For some, that sailing can come to an abrupt halt. They need a deeper level of conscious awareness in order to function in a way that allows them to live well.
That’s what happened to me. Despite living with chronic illness since my teens, I hadn’t realised how habitual and automatic my life was until I found myself desperately unwell at the age of thirty. I was lying in a hospital bed in severe pain, both physically and emotionally, as life as I knew it dissolved around me. But during that terrible time I experienced moments of such clarity, when I felt fully present and I somehow knew I was not my pain. I could watch it as an observer knowing that, like everything else, it would pass. It was later on, also in a hospital setting, when I was formally introduced to mindfulness that I began to understand what I had experienced. I started to explore the idea of a kindly present moment awareness, and I noticed the positive effects it had not just in helping me manage my chronic illness, but on my life as a whole.
It takes effort to live a more conscious life. It takes practise and it most certainly takes courage. But it can be a wonderfully rewarding way to live, regardless of your situation. It can have a powerful impact on your well-being and relationships, and can allow you to truly live life, rather than just riding the waves, hoping your sail won’t break. Developing a more conscious way of being has become a new lifestyle for me. I hope that by sharing some of my insights and experiences on this blog it might help you to become more fully present too.