Mindfulness Shouldn't Be Called Mindfulness


Mindfulness should be called Self-Awareness.

My grandmother asked me about this as it was on the television this morning, as she’s heard me talk about it before. I have a person come around once a week and do Yoga, but I’ve also gone to places and done Mindfulness exercises. I think the word meditation was used back when I was younger, but the act of Mindfulness has been something I’ve practiced a lot. Talked about a lot with my peers when I was younger. I wrote stories and developed characters throughout most of my life.

I think it would surprise my friends if I said the very first exercise I did with ‘character development’ was Luke Skywalker when I was about eight. I wasn’t really much of a Star Wars fan. I can only really remember sitting and watching the whole movies through with full attention when I was about 12. But I wrote a little story about Luke and Leia’s relationship to each other. It was probably the first in depth writing I wrote. This is relevant as it’s something I would do to myself. I’d pick apart their achievements, their flaws, try and figure out what made them unique as characters and how realistic that made them. How could I relate to them?

I think when I grew into being a teen, not knowing yourself was synonymous with what you wore or listened to. Even though I was a ‘goth girl’ personality wise I've always been the same. 

What’s varied for me throughout my life is the confidence within that. 

I feel like children should be encouraged to practice mindfulness. It's starting to be seen as a hippy thing. I’d call it more ‘Self-Awareness’. Take the spirituality element out of it. I do spiritual stuff, spirit guide, ghosty things. But I really categorise this as something else.

My nan asked if teenagers would actually be interested in Mindfulness if they were given a chance. I said they would.

I remember very vividly having an engrossing conversation over MSN (I’m so old) with a boy about the fact that I didn’t have many friends. My theory was that although I’m generally likeable, I will not change myself to fit into any particular group. That was confusing to other people in our Year and that was what caused me to be a loner. 

At the time I cited an infamous incident in our year group when I was about 13. It probably would have been forgotten about otherwise, but it gave me grief for the next two years. I was invited to a group sleepover, a rare event for me, that consisted of about 7 girls who were steadily being set up to be my friend base for Upper Secondary. The newest member of this group was singled out by the others and mercilessly bullied for the duration of the night. I’d been close friends with the girl hosting the sleepover, so I was included in their nasty whispering even though I’d raised eyebrows when I added my KoRn CD to the pile of Busted singles they’d brought.

I wouldn’t join in the comments, the snark. Responding to every low voiced comment with a loud distaste for whispering. I ended up isolated myself with the girl. Continuing retorting and doing my best to alleviate tension. Bullying against me wasn’t working well, I was so vain at this age that the selfie generation had nothing on me. Gangly and oddly dressed as I was, I was known to ruffle eyebrows when I snorted in the faces of popular girls who made comments on my looks. Or to just respond with:

“You won’t be pretty outside of high school. Enjoy it while it lasts.” (Blame my dad for this)

My constant challenging caused things to escalate with that group to the point where I phoned my mother to come and collect us before things got physical. I didn’t really know the bullied girl. But I wouldn’t change my morals. I was barely a teen but I wouldn’t bully someone just to be part of a clique. A clique that’s still together (Yes, I’ve Facebook stalked, lol) over ten years later.

I wouldn’t do it. It was wrong. Making them recognise their wrongness was what caused it to escalate. 

The boy I was MSNing a few years later had asked me about the afore mentioned incident. Since then I’d flittered through various friend groups and various ways of dressing. But I still had a sense of my own personal morals. My own opinions. I was fully aware of who I was as a core person. I was flawed. But those were flaws I saw as something that age would give me. But I knew deep down who I was.

At this point the 15 year old boy I was messaging logged out. I found out later it was because he’d burst into tears. He’d come to realise that he had so many versions of himself that he portrayed to different people that in the quiet loneliness of his room, he wasn’t sure which one was actually truly him. And it messed with him.

He wanted that self-awareness. His later teenage years were a mess. And I’ve seen him recently. Nothing much has changed. He’s still one of those people who float around your hometown that you see every time you come back. A little fatter, hair thinner, more wrinkled. Stuck in a time warp, fading and crumbling with the buildings we grew up with. But it will forever stick with me how I made him cry by just talking about mindfulness. What mindfulness essentially is. Awareness of self. 

Just how important is it for a healthy life?

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