Right. So at the start of this week I set out to catch myself whenever I was stepping on the mindfulness toes of others. In particular, I'd noticed lately the way I tend to shovel food into my son's mouth rather mindlessly, which doubtless impacts his ability to be present. Likewise, I'd find myself waving around various toys, singing and dancing like a crazed mummy in some weird attempt to quell my rising fears that I'm not a good enough mum. Then there are all those times I start speaking with my husband while he's watching telly, on the computer/smart phone/driving when I know I don't have his attention and then get frustrated because he doesn't immediately make me his sole focus.
I was actually a little surprised when I stepped back from this and noticed the way my own ability to be mindful was enhanced when I was more conscious of other people's space. Then, on the other hand, I have found it so, so hard to do it! My practice this week hasn't been perfect - I have inadvertently trod on some mindfulness toes - but it has been a fascinating exercise.
What are the biggest blocks I've faced?
For me, I noticed that this is far harder when I'm feeling stressed or rushed (hurry up, shoes, no time, let's go!), when I'm frustrated with the person I'm dealing with, or (and this is a big one) when I'm feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.
That last point needs some clarification perhaps. I realised this week that in those social moments when I'm uncertain of myself, I tend to deal with this by falling back on my old faithful companion - Mrs. Interruption. For whatever reason, if I feel any social anxiety, if I feel judged/un-liked/unsure/out of my depth, I interrupt (not in a negative way, more from a place of nerves and over-compensation), I babble, I become vague and kind of out of place. I watched myself do this at least a couple of times this week ...
I know that this week's challenge won't be dropped by the wayside just yet. Becoming more and more aware of how I impede or get out of the way of others' mindfulness stands to teach me a lot.