Making New Years Resolutions, at first thought, seems to be counter to the notion of mindfulness.

“I don’t want a road map,” insisted forty-five year old “Josh.

“For once, for now, at least, I want to throw away the road map… to just enjoy the moment. My wife doesn’t understand”.

His wife, he said, was scared. She didn’t earn enough money to support their family. Their decision to “use” me as a backboard was a compromise.

“Josh” earns his living as a software analyst, but says he’s now more interested in “meditation” and is more interested in “what’s happening right now” rather than in his work.

What does that mean? He has a teenage daughter who is about to go off to college. Is he really going to quit his job?

“Happiness is the new rich… Inner peace is the new success…. Health is the new wealth. “Josh” proudly preaches the doctrine of the Chopra Meditation Center.

He trusted me, he said, to coach him through this TRANSFORMATION PROCESS. (Once before, he had been my client during a rough period in his twenties.)

TRANSFORMATION PROCESS?

Perhaps this has something to do with a New Years Resolution… or at least of some promise he’s made to himself.

Did “Josh” have a secret path in mind? (“TRANSFORMATION” does, in fact, imply a goal.)

“I want to just let life happen for awhile… go with the flow… you know what I mean, Doc?”

This man needs a break, for sure… to re-balance… to restore his inner peace. (I am mostly confident in his good mental health and I’m reasonably certain that in time, he’ll end up where he needs to be for himself and for his family.)

I couldn’t help but wonder though, how, if he really quit his job, he was going to pay me.

 Perhaps he was taking a earlyish midlife inventory to help him decide about new ways to live the rest of his life.

He appreciates that I admire his dedication to the idea of “mindfulness”.

Where to start:

I asked “Josh” what he thought would make him happier. He said he wanted to feel “free.”

FREE OF WHAT?

“Of stress… of worry…. of responsibility.”

I wondered if he included meditation in his daily routine.

FREE TO DO WHAT, “Josh”?

“I don’t know… that’s the point.”

I hesitated … then asked him about his marriage.

“Maggie handles everything. She loves me… she’s great, really. Lately, she’s been grumpy, though. She says I’m different.”

Have you really threatened to quit your job?

“Sort of.”

I didn’t share that I’d be grumpy too, if I were his wife.

Maybe he’s independently wealthy.

You said that your daughter is going off to college. How do you feel about that?

He smiled.

“Makes me feel old… I wish I could go back to school… seems like yesterday.”

Are you jealous of your daughter?

“Nobody paid for me to go to school.”

Ouch. You sound resentful, “Josh.”

“My wife expects me to work forever to pay for the kids’ education. It feels like there’s no end to this.”

So, you do need to make money doing something, then? What’s your plan?

“I DON’T WANT A PLAN. I DON’T WANT TO PLAN”.

 

 

 

Sounds to me like you are waiting for an inspiration… or a sign, perhaps, to point yourself in a new direction.

 

“What’s wrong with that?”

Nothing.  

Mindfulness is about paying intentional attention to the present.

But, given that this is my job, I do offer up some PFL’s (PRESCRIPTIONS FOR LIVING), he may want to mull over, to expand his thinking a bit:

  1. Healthy living, physically and mentally, requires letting go of past hurts, putting aside anticipatory grief, and learning to appreciate the present, wisely and earnestly.
  2. To remember that we are each in control of our own attitudes and that starting each day in gratitude… with a smile… is always a good idea.
  3. If you hate your job, look for a new one or… identify some aspect of your work that you have enjoyed. Focus on positives wherever you can.

Dream big, without allowing too much worry about tomorrow get tin the way of mindful living today. Leave ample time to smell the flowers.

  1. Take a no-guilt, stress-leave… whenever you need it… from big-think concerns about a LIFE PLAN.
  2. Commit, instead to some productive agenda… just for today.
  3. Celebrate small changes that can add up quickly.
  4. Protect the relationships that are important to you.

“Josh,” you are going to get somewhere tomorrow… and the next day… anyway, so you might as well have some say as to where you’ll end up. (That’s a very mindful thought, by the way.)

May be you’ll up-root your life completely . Or perhaps  you’ll, decide that, for now,  all you really need are a few mindful adjustments.

I laughed out loud when I read what my friend Charlene, wrote on facebook this week. She said, “I guess nobody sees the irony of forcing mindfulness on others.”

Mea culpa.


Thanks For Visiting,

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

AvatarLinda smithJanuary 13, 2018 at 3:15 pm

This helped me realize many of us are kids at heart, perhaps for longer than we care to admit, and that “mindfulness,” that ever popular word, most of all involves…maturity.

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