Two things are true for me.
Louis C.K. is hilarious.
Mindfulness is hard.
So when I saw this clip earlier this week, I found his rant about smart phones profound and entertaining on so many levels. Before I go into too much detail about how this issue of smart phones is connected to mindfulness, watch the clip. It’s only about six minutes and oh so worth your time.
I love how Louis C.K. takes something so mundane like using a cell phone and makes a huge philosophical, existential point that everyone is ultimately alone and this is hard.
The fact that life is hard and bad feelings happen are so difficult to even approach that we constantly run from it with THINGS and ACTIVITIES. Addictions start as a way to escape whatever feeling is occurring within our bodies and eventually take over everything.
Practicing mindfulness is being simply aware and really tuned into what is going on around and within you at all times. Being mindful can feel really good or really lousy. For instance, if you are aware that you have hot water in the morning and are thankful for this, then practicing mindfulness is good and makes us feel better from the outset. Other times, being mindful doesn’t feel so great.
When I’m in my bed at night and thoughts are racing through my head about “what if” to so many different things, being mindful and present to my real feelings of insecurity and dread feels horrible. Like really bad in my body and I want it to stop.
It’s easier to get up and get some cookies or check my smart phone, like Louis C.K. suggests. If I do these things, the bad feelings abate for a bit but nothing really gets fixed or solved.
Being mindful of ALL things allows us to realize that even bad feelings are just that- feelings. They aren’t something that will cause us to die. If we feel the sadness of life, like is suggested in the video, then we can truly appreciate the good. Escaping life does work in the short run but we miss out on so much of what makes life memorable.
My mom used to call crappy situations “making memories.” These “making memories” times were bad things that our family all got through and made us who are. Those things that really sucked are the ones that my siblings and I most often laugh about now and bonded over throughout my childhood.
Jeff Goins has a new book out called The In-Between: Embracing The Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing that discusses mindfulness without actually using the word. It’s a short book and worth the read.
Kelly Wilson also co-authored a book titled Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong: A Guide to Life Liberated from Anxiety. Again, a short book but so powerful. He’s one of the seminal authors of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). All of his stuff is great for the therapist and client alike.
So your homework now, if you so choose to accept it- practice noticing five aspects of your life, including your feelings, on your drive to work tomorrow. Do what Louis suggests- just let it be. See what happens and let me know. I’m interested.