Sunday nights are seldom easy for me; it’s been this way since I was a kid when I escaped into a weekend world of books and the imaginary life of a writer.
Sunday nights caused great anguish as I struggled to shift gears and prepare for re-entry into the school, and eventually, the work world. Even today when Monday promises work I love, I still occasionally find myself out-of-sorts and dreading the start of the work week.
Surely I’m not the only one out there with the end-of-weekend blues. Ours is a work hard/play harder culture but at least we get to mostly choose our play. Some of us are blessed with careers that allow a great deal of autonomy (I’m one of those blessed.) so work and play are not on rigid schedules.
And yet I still don’t do Sunday nights very well. I know I’m not alone. So here’s what I propose:
Would you like to get your Sunday evening back? I sure would! Would you like a sure-fire method of not dreading Monday? Me too!
Earlier today, I decided to look this Monday monster thing squarely in the eye. I made a decision to get my Sunday mojo back and that would begin with designating Monday as mindful.
Mindfulness essentially means that one completely focuses on the present moment. Since that is what I write about (she says, sarcastically), I need to learn to practice what I preach.
I’m as likely as the next person to fill my mind with obsessive garbage about what may transpire this week or next month or five years from now. I am a master at dredging up the past to “process” it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against looking at the past with professionals when we honestly need guidance.
But don’t you think some people hide behind their pasts so they don’t have to take responsibility for their present and their future?
So, Mindful Mondays it is, at least for me. Focus on the present moment.
B Here Today
Mindful meditation helps immensely. This kind of work encourages concentration on the breath with an easy acknowledgement of interrupting thoughts followed by a simple return to breathing awareness. I have to be honest. I’m not that great with meditation. Or maybe it’s that I don’t practice the practice of mediation enough to feel comfortable with it. Either way, in theory I love it, but I had to find another way.
I call my method the Pounding Surf and a Spider Web Mindfulness.
Think about these two elements of nature for a moment. Have you ever watched ocean waves slap against rocks when the tide is in? The rolling surf hurls itself against a shoreline or massive outcropping with so much intensity that foamy waves are reduced to bubbles. Mother Nature doing what she does—throwing her elemental self around with intense abandon.
What about the spider web? An industrious arachnid weaves a dainty doily of a web on a railing about 30 yards above the crashing waves. Spray blown by the wind in the waves clings in teeny-tiny orbs of water on the web. It gently sways back and forth in the breeze.
The enormous contrast of the web with the surf pounding behind it struck me as the yin and yang of nature when I observed them in mid-February during my walk along the southern California shore.
I called my walking companion over to see the incredible sight. She was suitably impressed. The photos I took were to record my finding as well as to serve as a daily reminder of mindfulness.
Where is the mindfulness, you ask? It wasn’t the act of finding the juxtaposition of web against waves. It wasn’t even the awareness of web and wave.
The mindfulness came into play when I realized that I was acting in a mindful and present manner. That, my dear friends, is how we become mindful—by choosing to be really, really present to ALL the details that comprise our days.
You’re human and you won’t get it everyday. But much like meditation, I promise you that if you practice, you’ll get better and better until one day you realize it’s Tuesday and you don’t remember the Sunday Night Blues but you do remember Mindful Monday.
Trips to the beaches and islands help too and encourage the behavior of practicing presence at other times during the week. Heck, a trip anywhere—even the neighborhood park—will do the trick if you’ve been bitten by the boo-hoo bug.
The key is lots of practice, lots of noticing, lots of presence and awareness. Try it for 30 days and if it doesn’t help with the Sunday evening blues, let me know and I’ll happily refund your money. Seriously, make a commitment to try.
Also, let me know your successes. Better yet, take a picture of what you observe, then email the picture to me along with a few sentences about how and why what you snapped affects your mindfulness. I’ll feature you in a follow-up post.
Let’s celebrate mindfulness on this Monday!