Online Sessions & Podcasts – #1 Finding Steadiness in Uncertain Times
“When life is so hard, how can we be anything but kind?”
In Podcast #1 from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre the subject of discussion concentrates on finding steadiness in uncertain times, focusing on three central themes. The podcast gives the listener an introduction as to how various mindfulness practices can be utilised to help individuals steer themselves towards steadiness in any unprecedented and uncertain time. It has been produced, participated in and released for free during this particularly difficult time for us all.
This is clearly a very unusual situation we find ourselves in globally and is not a sprint but a marathon, and should be approached in such a way. The session begins with a lesson in understanding and appreciating the importance of routine in helping build one’s resilience to feelings of anxiety, it is possible to control and reduce these anxieties. The importance of taking time out of every day to focus and practice the key values within the following themes is paramount.
Focused on grounding, sanity and balance, theme #1 is an introduction to developing the skills needed to feel one’s body and its connection to its environment. The feeling of feet on the ground, of the body’s connection to where it is seated, the feeling and weight of one’s hands and the practice of breathing. These practices are all key to bringing the mind away from the trains of thought in which it is inevitably set to run away with and coming back to being present in the very moment, with the body.
In order to resource oneself midst difficult times, one must be able to pause and appreciate, and this is theme #2 of the session covered in the podcast. This practice will be different for every individual, and can be as simple as pausing to appreciate the song of a bird, the sound of the rain as it hits the window or focusing our attention on, and appreciating, the full process of the sun rising, or setting. As we allow ourselves to pause and appreciate whatever it is we take our own small moment of wonder with, we can also practice the skills discussed in Theme #1, allowing this moment to become an anchor for us as we seek to find our sense of steadiness.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, theme #3 is simply to practice kindness. The more we practise something, the better we become at it. This is true for not only skills you would more readily associate with a practice-makes-perfect mindset, such as playing tennis for example, but also to mindfulness itself and all that it encompasses. A wonderful saying, quoted by Chris Cullen as he leads this podcast, is ‘When life is so hard, how can we be anything but kind?’ This is about making the choice to live by your best values, making a conscious choice in every action you take to do the best that you can in any given situation.
This post is a very brief summary of the 3 central themes that are discussed within the Finding Steadiness in Uncertain Times podcast. A completely free service to support the mental well-being of the general public, the live sessions that are recorded and become these podcasts will run every Wednesday evening at 19:00 BST and can be participated in actively through Zoom or by watching live on YouTube. See our dedicated session webpage for more information: https://oxfordmindfulness.org/online-sessions-podcasts/
To listen to the podcasts in full, click the player below or you can listen through Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Spotify & YouTube amongst others by searching ‘Mindfulness Sessions & Podcasts’