Today would have been my Nanna’s 90th birthday. Sadly she lost her fight against cancer a few years ago and so rather than having a party today we are left simply with our memories of her.
My Aunt posted this lovely photo on Facebook today remembering her mum. With her is my cousin, Jo, who we also tragically lost to cystic fibrosis.
Looking at them both today I feel a real pang of love and a real sense of missing them both. I wish so much that I could see them. Whilst I was feeling sad about our loss I had the practical necessity to get on with work. I needed to focus and concentrate on issues completely unrelated. It got me thinking about the best way we can cope with such thoughts.
When I sat to meditate this morning my thoughts went straight to Nanna. I made the decision not to fight my want to think about her. On the day that would have been her 90th birthday it seems completely appropriate that I should want to think of her and remember her. So I started in the usual way by focussing on my breathing but then once I felt settled and calm I pictured my Nanna. I visualised a bright light shining on her making her happy and comfortable. Each time my mind wandered I recognised this and then brought my attention back to her. After 20 minutes I finished my session, I was calm and peaceful and I got ready for work.
Taking this approach helped me in so many ways. I felt glad that I had spent time remembering Nanna, rather than rushing through my day fighting thoughts of her I gave her some quality time in my day. The visualisation meant that I remembered a happy pain free Nanna which was a really good way to picture her. I will repeat the exercise later on and allowing my mind this time to go where it wants to go really eases the pull it has for my attention.
When we try to fight thoughts and feelings their pull for our attention really gathers momentum and it can result in us becoming distracted, unfocussed and unhappy. Finding away to let your thoughts and feelings have time and space to surface is really important for good mental health.
Whatever is pulling for your attention mindfulness can help you to cope. Come on a Revitalise Day to learn the skills you need to train your brain to work how you want to. Don’t fight feelings, learn how to recognise and respond to them.