As a teacher, I was taught the importance of self-reflection. We were to use it as a daily practice – looking at what we did, and the outcomes and reflecting “was that what I expected to happen?” and “how could I better be assured of my planed outcome?”
As a person, I wasn’t a natural reflector. I didn’t like to slow down. If I made a mistake or if something didn’t go to plan, the key action from my feet was to do into something new. My plan was to just explore all the different options until I hit pay dirt.
As strategies go, – well it can go well, or can go very badly. Sometimes it meant I hit gold fast, and other times, it meant I went round in round in circles, coming up against the same old mountain disguised with a new hat and glasses. Sometimes I preferred to keep on knocking on closed doors, because that was the way I wanted to go, instead of letting go, and just enjoying a journey towards the new.
About eighteen months ago I began to change my methods. I started to slow down, stop, reflect. I started to look at my input, and then look at my output. What was working? What plainly wasn’t?
I found this slowing down and becoming more aware began to positively affect my head space, and then this began to change my life. I changed habits, I focussed on only maintaining things that made me feel better (not in a hedonistic rush way, but more of a soulful yes), and I dropped things or situations that did not positively serve me, or fit me.
It’s a journey of a thousand tiny steps. It’s slow, and it’s evolving. But it’s a happy journey when you become mindful and start to slow down, reflect, and then make incremental changes.
There is a great deal written and said about mindfulness. I’ve not read a great deal on it – I’m very much a person who prefers to find my way, rather than another’s. But I do know the more I’ve taken time to know me, and to focus on my own thoughts and actions, rather than the actions of others, I’ve begun also to really know others. I’ve begun to see myself grow, and out of that my life has grown.
I used to think the practice of reflection as a teacher was a bit boring and unnecessary. Now I see it as a natural and essential part of finding happiness, success and fulfillment.