How might we offer mindfulness practices that unlock our potential and reveal a better version of ourselves?
You may wonder why not say “best” version of ourselves. I have struggled with this concept and have landed on a Neil Peart Quote, “The point of the journey is not to arrive.” Trying to attain perfection is part of the problem. We need not strive for the best version of ourselves. We just need to take small steps toward better. Better is possible for all of us. Best is possible for nobody.
I want to pass on what I have learned about my own mental wellness with everyone willing to listen or interested in getting help from me. I want to help everyone. I realize this is a big idea, but I am up for the challenge. I am up for the challenge because I know the power of mindfulness practices firsthand. A few years ago, I found myself breathless. I could not catch my breath during everyday activities. Usually, I would be fine in the morning, get a good run in, but sometimes by 9am I would be unable to catch my breath. I found myself hiding from interactions with colleagues at work because I was not confident that I could catch my breath. I realized that I could not even sing Oh Canada during assemblies. To be completely honest I still struggle with this which is why I emphasize “better” in my how might we statement. I could not even catch my breath between bites while eating. I had a respirologist who could confirm asthma but not the debilitating symptoms that I was suffering from. I was sure this was a physical problem stemming from an asthma disorder.
That is until I watched the episode of Ted Lasso where he started to have a panic attack. I realized in that moment that I had what he had. I was experiencing panic attacks. I was in a constant state of panic for almost 2 years without realizing, despite my wife and 2 colleagues telling me they were certain it was panic. It took Jason Sudeikis’ excellent recreation of a panic disorder to get me to alter my mindset and start to seek help.
That was two years ago, and, in that time, I have gone to a therapist, read some impactful books, meditated every day, had consistent yoga practice and have written in a journal every morning. My “practices” as I call them, have unlocked my potential, and revealed a better version of myself.
I have built a resource which I call “Ignite Spak” that works similar to a recipe for living my best life. I work at it every day so that I am calm and moving forward. It is not about being happy all the time, it is about learning and moving forward. I have grown in my relationship with my kids, wife, friends, and colleagues more this year than any other year in the past. Up to this point I have used these practices for my own benefit. I would like to now try to branch out and help others with what I have built. I am not naïve and do realize that just because it works for me does not mean that it will work for everyone else, but I have to try. One of the pillars to my mental recovery is “action impact”, the pursuit to help others. The best way to help yourself unlock your potential is in the service of helping others. My focus on mindfulness in this next phase of my recovery is to share with, and help, everyone. I recently came across a quote from Jimmy Carter that sums up my thoughts. “I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I can, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.”