“Be careful what you wish for” are the words going through my mind right now.
A few months ago I went to see a film in Bristol called “Walk With Me”, a documentary about the Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hahn, and a experiential journey through mindfulness which left me awe-struck.
I was in a dream-like state afterwards and standing in line for the loos at the end of the film, I realised I wasn’t the only one.
Everyone had a kind of dazed look on their faces (happy-dazed, I must add), and there was this weird scenario of people smiling at each other, with a shared sense of connection – something I rarely experience in public places, especially in big cities.
It was the magic of the film, and when I saw they were looking for places to hold screenings around the country, I was inspired. I knew the perfect place. The Powderham estate. Charlie and AJ would love it, it’s right up their street, I thought.
Luckily I knew the perfect partners to screen the event, my old buddies Simon and Stu, from Pop-Up Events, who hold outdoor cinema events all over the area.
I set up a meeting and presented my idea to the group, without really thinking too much about who was going to head it up and make it happen. It turns out that “who” was me.
Before I knew what was happening, it was on, and I’m running An Evening of Zen at Powderham Castle this Friday. I’m excited, but at the same time, I’m terrified as I’ve never done anything this big before and it’s quite a responsibility.
I need 150 to even cover my costs, and although I’m two thirds there as I write this, it’s still a risk and a big deal as I want it to go well and for people to enjoy the experience as much as I did. I don’t want to mess it up. A fear we all have, I guess – the fear we haven’t met expectations.
Managing my nerves, I’ve had to remind myself of what I say to myself before public speaking, which happens to be most days in my work, but it still gives me the heebie-jeebies every time.
“Being excited and scared is the same physical sensation in the body”.
If I tell myself I’m excited, it gives it a positive connotation, and it’s more likely to go well than if I’m telling myself I’m nervous. What I’m feeling is the same physical reaction, whether its excitement or nerves. Yet I have the choice as to how to respond to it, and what meaning I attach to it.
It’s all about taming that little monkey mind which tends to go riot when given a new challenge, one which takes us out of our comfort zone. All our doubts and fears come up, potential problems and worrying if we’ve got it right or not.
Yet it’s these moments that remind us we’re alive, that tend to make life more fulfilling, and ultimately make us stronger.
Another phrase pops into my head and i decide to keep this one:
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”.
And I’m excited about that. Without this understanding of mindfulness, knowing how to observe my thought processes and make more conscious decisions, I would have still been in a blind panic, for sure.