Thirty Days of Practicing Wholeness: Day Five Observations

1.) I’ve realized quickly that I need to focus on a goal of progress, not perfection. As soon as I start getting perfectionistic about it, the wholeness piece actually goes out the window. It becomes, then, about ticking boxes instead of Being.

2.) A single worry tends to explode into the confetti of a thousand fears.

3.) I am a totally mindless eater, and I mean this in two ways: A – I eat out of habit a lot, not out of intention or schedule or … well … hunger. This is not news to me, but I’m a whole lot more aware of it right now as I’m trying harder to pay attention to my every move and thought and feeling. And B – when I am eating, I do not remember to try mindfulness until well after I’ve gulped the last of whatever I just ate. Wholeness here is a big job on many levels. I do have moments, though, where I remember mid-inhale, and I love those moments. I love the (rare) moments when I stop, breathe, and then practice mindful eating – even if I only have two bites left. Chocolate tastes even better when you’re actually paying attention when eating it. Who knew?!

4.) Practicing wholeness in my thoughts and emotions is a full-time job in itself. I have moments where I wonder if perhaps I need to just focus on one aspect at a time – e.g. “Today, my goal is practicing mindfulness when eating,” or “Today, my goal is practicing wholeness in my thinking.” Then again, it’s helping me to try to be deliberate about everything, so, the jury is still out on this one. I can report that what practicing wholeness in my thoughts and emotions looks like, currently, is realizing a thought is getting way from me (becoming fear or hurt) or that I am having a strong emotional response to something, and then asking myself Okay, so what does practicing wholeness in this look like? This question is helping me a lot, in every area.

Sometimes it looks like taking the problem and then listing as many solutions as possible. This helps me move back out of dichotomous thinking and into a space that allows for more than one possibility for things/outcomes. It can look like tracing the strong emotion back to what set it off, or allowing myself to share what I’m feeling with someone, or challenging the thinking that led to the emotional response.

What does practicing wholeness in this _________  (moment, situation, meal choice, interaction, etc) look like? The gift of this question as a tool may be worth the whole experiment/month. Honestly, I feel like even if I don’t have any other realizations or breakthroughs, this nugget is worth the entire endeavor.

5.) I’m not eating as often, (by “eating” I mean mindlessly snacking, overeating, eating when I’m not hungry, etc.), even without having the hang of mindful eating yet.

6.) Paying attention to growth mindset vs. fixed mindset is also helping me a LOT. More on that to come.

I am away from home and at the beach, and I’m so thankful I have the opportunity to begin this venture (mostly) away from home and at the beach. I have been home twice during this trip out of necessity, and being in the two contrasting places has highlighted much to me, more so because of this intentional practice. At the beach, it’s helping me be completely present with being and remaining as unplugged as possible (from stressors, social media, etc), with efforts to relax every muscle, with focusing on the sound of the waves in their ebb and flow, and the feel of the water as it rushes over my feet and runs away again. On the necessary trips home, it made me very aware of a shift in myself when the setting changed, of some pretty visceral responses to things, and of the fact that I need to be deliberate about changing those things when I return. The wholeness practice when I get home is going to need to extend to clearing as much as possible – clearing clutter and excess from the house, clearing stressors if I have any control of them, clearing my feelings regarding certain spaces and places …….

I’ve been coming to this particular beach my entire life. And, my entire life, I have picked up certain shells when I see them. Yesterday, as I picked up another, I asked myself, Seriously, why? This is not really a nice beach as beaches go, and the shells here are mainly always all broken and very commonplace (ugly. Nothing exotic or special.). So why do I still pick them up, especially when I’ve been to this beach hundreds of times and I will be here again? And when I have random shells from other visits stashed in baskets and drawers and other obscure places all over my house? (No, they’re not even displayed, which adds to the mystery of why I take any.) WHY?!

And then I realized: it’s because they’re whole.

© A. L. McMichael

We are drawn to wholeness. And we are drawn to wholeness because we are meant to be whole. So, while I really still don’t have a clear “plan” for this 30 day experiment, I already love this path. It is work, but it feels very …. right. Restorative.

Stay tuned …..

2 thoughts on “Thirty Days of Practicing Wholeness: Day Five Observations

  1. Margaret Dill says:

    I loved your honesty in your writing. I think it takes a lot of courage to write about who you are and what you struggle with daily. I practice mindfulness as often as I can think about it which is throughout the day. Some days I’m better at it than others. Thank you for your blog I will be following you and reading what you have to say 🙂


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