On Time

In preparation for our next Mindful Living workshop on the topic “Our Relationship with Time”, I’ve been fascinated by the replies I’ve received when asking people what the word ‘time’ brings up for them. Here are some of their statements:

  • There’s never enough time 
  • Too much time to think scares me
  • It’s really wrong to be late
  • Killing time is a problem for me
  • Time heals, doesn’t it?
  • Time flies too fast
  • Wasting time is my biggest anxiety
  • Time passes more quickly as I get older

I’m greatly looking forward to our conversations during the workshop and would encourage you to ponder for yourself what your perceptions and beliefs about time are, where in your conditioning they have come from, and how your perception of time impacts your daily life? Come and share in this ‘time’ with us and bring your sentences with you!

Contact us to book your space at this workshop as numbers are limited. info@mindfulme.me or whatsapp on +971 54 466 8400
Sunday 12 November from 7pm – 9pm
Hosted venue in TECOM, Dubai

What Shivering Taught me about Mindfulness

Have you ever been so cold that you shiver for so long that it hurts? Yes – I am well aware that the very question borders on cruelty for those of us left behind in Dubai during August. I wipe my brow and down my iced tea as I write this. In fact it is the extremity of the heat that reminded me of this old story, as I took brief respite from the sun under the shade of the palm tree (don’t ask why I was walking – I just couldn’t bare another 1km taxi ride). 

When I was about 10 I was in my twice-weekly ballet class and it was freezing. I still remember how the icy Johannesburg winter winds would get in under the door at the studio and that our strict ballet uniform left us freezing, even under the pale pink leotards, tights and leg warmers. The only heater was next to the teacher’s desk in the front of the studio, far from us. We must have looked really cute – 5 shivering little girls trying to prove that they were colder than the one next to them. I recall how sore my body felt from being cold, from contracting every muscle tightly; how self-pitying I felt at being told that it wasn’t that bad and that we were overreacting. Our teacher was rightly frustrated – we weren’t letting open our bodies and we certainly weren’t dancing – we were caught up in our “strike by shivering”. That’s when she taught us something that I will forever remember; a perspective shift that now, upon reflecting, was my personal insight into Carl Jung’s wise words: “what you resist, persists”. She never used those words; I doubt that we would have understood them. What she did say is something I’ll never forget: “O for goodness sake you girls – you can’t dance if you stand there tight and keep telling yourselves how cold you are. Just stop the dramatic shivering for a minute and tell me what that feels like instead!” So I did stop shivering and you know what – it was like a wave of warmth washed over my body – it softened but it also wasn’t as half as icy as I thought! The pain in my muscles dissolved and for a quiet moment my world changed. I could still feel the cold – but I wasn’t cold.

The layers of this memory continue to teach me now – the way that we restricted our bodies and pushed ourselves into misery by getting stuck on an idea – and that we were encouraging each other in this stressed state. How often do friends keep us in a cycle of drama by feeding it? Or when we are so focused on a goal that we lose our flexibility and ability to see what is really happening? I learned about the spaciousness that came from softening and noticing what came from it. At the time it became my trick to overcome the winter – notice my shivering and quickly stop it and enjoy the rush the warmth. I remember proudly showing it to my friends and brothers. Now I realise that this is what we are teaching and speaking about in our workshops and making time for in our retreats – how to find and connect with the space that mindfulness practice brings to our tight, anxious bodies, minds and hearts – when we allow it to.

Learning to Love

I admit I have been searching for love ever since I can remember. I have looked for it in novels, in movies, in friendship, in romantic partners, in motherhood and in my spiritual quest. After years of searching I have come to the conclusion that it is the true purpose of our existence.

I believe this planet is nothing but a school of love. Our biographical events are different scenarios for learning about love. Throughout our lives we experience all sorts of vicissitudes and adventures, ups and downs, crises and ecstasies that help us explore love in its most diverse manifestations.

I have suffered the absence of love and love’s betrayal. I have suffered from unrequited love and the fear of losing it, and each one of these experiences has taught me something about myself and my capacity to love. Every conflict, every disappointment, has given me the opportunity to discover more about my wounds, my insecurities and my lack of self love. The pain and the need for answers have brought me to my inner search, widening my heart and making it more encompassing.

When we love we become vulnerable and exposed and that is when life penetrates and teaches us. Through our relationships we learn to love more and better. We develop our ability to give, to expand our own boundaries and to conquer our own demons. Love chisels us, shapes us, polishes us.

As the poet Gibran says:

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.

Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Isabel works with couples and individuals. If you would like to book a private session with Isabel please contact us today.