I Asked My Husband To Do 7 Days of Mindfulness...
The other day I had the privilege of creating and delivering a professional development presentation to my entire school staff on mindfulness and how trauma effects the brain. I was blown away with how well it was received and I am hopeful that my staff will not only begin to use it themselves, but use it with their students as well.
A few weeks ago I asked Perry to give me 7 days to teach him mindfulness and complete the 7 days of calm on the Calm app. Each day I wrote down his observations. Below is a summary of what he thought about the program, the changes I saw in him, and his plans to use it in the future.
Before you read on I must preface this post, Perry was NOT excited to do this. He was hesitant actually. He has always seen mindfulness as something that I needed and not something that he could benefit from too. It took me months of begging. Thankfully he loves me, and because of that he decided to give it a try!
Day 1: Our first session was out on the patio after Winter went to bed. We talked about the misconceptions of mindfulness and what to expect from his first session. After the first session Perry noticed how relaxed he felt and stated that he was ready for bed. He tends to struggle with winding down before bed and often battles with insomnia. The fact that he said he was ready for bed and fell asleep within 10 minutes of laying down was a huge win for his first day!
Day 2: We did this session on the beach in Hawaii. Perry noticed that it was easy for him to concentrate on the session and follow along with his breath. He noticed that the waves seemed to syncopate to his breath, an observation that he wouldn't have observed had we not done this session. He stated that he also observed the moments of quiet when the waves and wind were no longer active. He really liked being able to pick up on the moments of silence just as much as he had with the sounds of the ocean. After our session we sat there in silence for a while. I laid my head on his shoulder, both of us staring out into the ocean marveling at the waves. At the same time we both jumped up when we saw the brightest falling star. It was so beautiful. It looked like it fell across the entire sky. It was a special moment for us both.
Day 3: Perry had a hard time concentrating and felt annoyed during the session. He kept thinking about the water that he had stuck in his ear. We had gone snorkeling hours before the session and the poor man is prone to ear infections. I reminded him that not every session was going to be this wonderful, calming experience. During some sessions it is perfectly normal to feel uncomfortable and experience intense feelings. This is your body's way of releasing stress.
Day 4: Perry stated that he felt more in tune with his breath this session. He was able to stay focused and conveyed how connected he felt to me after it. We did the entire session holding hands, so that may have helped!
Day 5: Perry was tired and didn't want to do it. I told him that I noticed that the little things that he used to get so visibly upset about didn't seem to phase him as much today. Once I told him about this observation and stated that I really think it was helping him already he agreed to do another session. He didn't have much to say about the session afterwards but I am certain that it was helpful for him.
Day 6: Perry indicated that he can see why I have to do this "mindfulness stuff" everyday. He said that it was great way to unwind and that he was thankful that I was doing it with him.
Day 7: The last day Perry noticed that he felt a sense of accomplishment. Overall he enjoyed the experience, and while he knows that we just scratched the surface he has seen the way that it has helped me cope with stress and anxiety. We talked about whether we would make this something that we did together every night but decided that it wasn't realistic to expect that we both would be ready and willing each night, let alone at the same time. Mindfulness, while amazing to do with others, can be a very personal and intimate experience. We agreed to do one session a week together and the rest of the days to do it on our own during a time that suites our individual needs the most.