Imagine you are standing in a garden that is somewhat overgrown with prickles and brambles, and you have the intention to grow, say, vegetables. (Self-centred of me; I love vegetables.)
You clear the garden of what is not relevant including – with care – the prickles. Then you prepare the soil, then you sow the seeds or plants, then over time you nurture the early growth at the vulnerable period… you know the rest.
As you go along, you might make changes to your ideas according to what what you find – how the soil is, for example. And so it goes, moving forward with a flow of intention, curiosity and discovery (otherwise known as attention) of how things are and what is happening.
Easy and quick is not always better
For nearly three decades I’ve worked with a highly effective technique for personal development and life change – one that I wholeheartedly respect, and it’s NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). But for me, a problem of the world of NLP, as opposed to NLP itself, is that many of its practitioners promise magical results for their clients.
We live in a world that wants things to be easier, quicker and better: they are known marketing and selling advantages. And while ‘magic’ can mean results from something unseen, and heaven knows there’s magic in this wonderful world just like that, it has often been used to imply that kind of magic where someone waves a wand and change happens, instantly and without anyone doing anything. When it comes to human growth, that doesn’t work – at least, not for long.
For many reasons these are false promises and one of those reasons is that too much too soon and without understanding is unlikely to ‘stick’. This can be because we have often been living with a problem for some time before we come to the point of making a change that will significantly alter things in ways we can only imagine. That means that troubled part of ourselves is not only unhappy, but is so very, very tired. Ironically, too much too soon and with no time for reflection, even if it’s great at first, can be too much to handle.
Example: try to go on a drastically tiny diet to lose weight, and you will become more tired and low, and are unlikely to stay the course. Another: tell yourself you’re going to clear that garden of weeds and plant your vegetables in one day, and you will likely be too tired to finish the job – plus, of course, you will not be working with the seasons and the soil….
For personal and life developments to happen, to stick, to be relished, to be understood, to be authentic and to be yours, it has to be made space for, nurtured, cared about, given time and given attention, at a pace that is sustainable to you, the cultivator, and the world in which you live. So you’re not only taking this glorious task on board with time and effort, but also flourishing your intention within its natural cycles and climates.
That’s cultivation. And that, I’m so thrilled to say, is how Mindfulness – which is both practice and results – works.(And, also, it’s an indication of its happy relationship with the workings of NLP.)
The keys to cultivation
Briefly, being mindful is bringing to light what’s going on in your mind and body. The process of doing that and recognising those items of thought and feeling is through your awareness. The purpose of doing that – whether it’s peace, altering a troubling thought or feeling, calming physical pain as much as possible, reducing stress while you go through troubling circumstances, establishing new and resourceful beliefs – is your intention. Recognition, awareness, intention.
The keys to mindful cultivation of mind, body, life and vegetables are these: authentic intention and kind attention. Then you know what to clear, what to sow or plant, how to encourage and nurture, with curiosity, interest and heartfelt engagement.
My Mindfulness Training for falling in love with life happens on 17th November 2019 at Bromham, Wiltshire. Please get in touch for any further information. All good wishes…