‘Numbing out’ – the opposite of Mindful awareness

Why am I always writing about Mindfulness?  Words from a friend’s email sum up my kind of self-sabotage

* This post is from a series called ‘Words that are in me’ – read more here

Illustration painting print drawing:Doing a Mindfulness body scan in a hammock in our local cemetery

Doing a Mindfulness body scan in a hammock in our local cemetery. Laura Eades 2014

Numbing out’

This is a phrase my friend Retta wrote to me in an email during a trip she made to the States when she read Brené Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection. So really they are Brené Brown’s words, but I think of them as Retta’s. And since Retta is a source of great wisdom and inspiration in my life, and I’ve only just ordered that book, I hoovered them up and made them part of the lexicon of my soul.

The words sum up exactly my own brand of self-destruction

‘Numbing out’ is how I eat distractedly, and get into phases of overeating to the point of sluggishness.

‘Numbing out’ is how I set myself herculean creative challenges (and other challenges too), like one-woman theatre shows or writing a whole novel – things that require aggressive prioritisation to get done – and thereby justify absconding from my friendships, my relationships, and my happiness habits.

‘Numbing out’ is what me and my husband do when we lose our intimacy in the transactionality of everyday life, speaking only about arrangements, and forgetting to look up when the other person is trying to talk to us and we’re busy fiddling with one of our internet-based devices.

‘Numbing out’ is procrastination, avoidance, and getting wired on coffee to try to feel some vibrancy.

‘Numbing out’ is when I switch off all my happiness habits because I think doing things is more important than being. When I fill all the breathing-space in my life with tasking and self-improvement.

Why do I keep coming back and doing the same MBSR course over and over?

Because breathing, and meditation (any ways in which you can practise being, rather than doing), is the best antidote I know.

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This series is absolutely open to you. If you have words that have found their way into your inner lexicon, send them to me by email and I’ll illustrate them. Or just click on the comment thread using the pale grey dot with a plus sign under this post to add your thoughts there.

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Read more on Illustrated Guide to Life: