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Slow Down- A Mindful Approach

Slow Down- A mindful approach.

As many of you know, I'm a Registered Provisional Psychologist with Aspire Psychological Services and as such I decided I wanted to share this experience with you. Today is Sunday, just a Sunday like all others. Except, it isn't because I stopped and made the decision for it to be different.

Like many of you, my kids dictate my life. Currently, I've found myself in Calgary, Alberta for a goalie ringette camp. This is an unusual trip for me as my youngest is with family friends which means I am alone while my oldest is in camp. This is a rare occurrence. Whenever I find myself without kids or work I try to run or go to the gym as health and fitness is an ever elusive goal for me. Consequently, I've found myself in the Calgary riverwalk.

This experience started out like all others. I parked my car, tied up my laces, put my headphones in, and started running. I'm not a fast runner. But fast enough to outrun those annoying hamster wheel thoughts (yes, even psychologists get caught up in those sometimes). I ran and ran. I ran about 5 km, over two bridges and then took a turn to head back. However, this time a nagging thought took over. I wanted to put my feet in the water.

Being from Newfoundland the water calls to me like my kids when they awake from a deep sleep. As my feet continued to pound the pavement this need to stop and get to the water came over me. It wasn't because I was tired. It wasn't because of the pesky strained muscle I have. It was something else! I kept running. So after another kilometre I gave in. I walked down a little path and stood on a rock and looked in the water. Then I thought. What would I want my clients to do here? What would I recommend in session. And it hit me. Stand still till you see a fish. I didn't even know if there would be fish in this river.

So I stood there but before long the desire to move fast kicked in and I left. I started running again. This time faster. But what was I running from? For what purpose? I had hours before my daughters camp finished. I heard my counselling voice take over. "Whose mask are you putting on first"? Yes those of you who have sat in a room with me as your therapist has surely heard that statement a time or ten. Then I saw it, this set of stairs leading right down to the water. That's it I thought, I'm sitting here until I see a fish. So, that's what I'm doing looking for fish in a river that I don't even know has fish.

Being mindful is not a pursuit for perfection. Your mind will wander. As I write this and attempt to be mindful I bring my focus to a father and his young son who have stopped to throw rocks into the water just below. While the boy throws rocks and laughs at the splashes the Dad takes photos to capture the moment. What I want to do is tell him to put his hands in the water too. Stop with the preservation of others moments and take part in your own.

For the first time in a long time, that's what I'm doing. Making a moment. Finding a fish.

Vanessa Foley