Mindful Challenge Feedback

On the 1st of May, I took on Dr. Martina’s 16-Day Mindful Reset Challenge. I should have shared my feedback earlier as she did (here) but I was working on my other WIPs and I couldn’t finalize this post although I was making notes each day.

I guess this post is more for me than anyone else. However, since I posted about the challenge at the onset, it’s just fair that I post the feedback. It’s me being accountable. 🙂

A day without assumptions

I was a bit late for Day 1 of the challenge. Contemplating on the day though, I realized that while I made some comments about the usual expectations based on history, I remained pretty open.

One of the closest friends has a habit of bailing out on me last minute although not as bad as our other friend. And I do it as well. Birds of a feather. I’m laughing but perhaps I shouldn’t. Anyway, she said she was going to come by the house but she hadn’t by early evening. It has become a joke and my son was convinced she was going to drop me instead of drop by. I told him to give her a chance. She showed up. It’s definitely better not to decide for others.

However, immediately after my friend’s quick visit, I almost took it for granted that my little one would agree to stay at home with her big brother so her daddy and I could go to the casino. She wasn’t keen so we didn’t go. If I had assumed that she would be okay staying home, if I had expected it, I would have been disappointed. Expectations breed disappointments.

So, I’d rather be open to surprises. I am reminded of John Powell’s book, ‘Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I am’. He wrote: “If you knew me yesterday, please do not think that it is the same person that you are meeting today.”

A walking meditation

I didn’t know about walking meditation until today. I learned that it is exactly what I thought I’d do: walk up and down the front yard. I didn’t do this although I was convinced that I could take a walk, albeit not a proper walking meditation. My little chatterbox already said she would join me, which means no meditation at all.

As it turned out, I had a hectic day at work, followed by an equally hectic traffic. Then, it was time to get food. More traffic. After supper was reading bedtime stories to my little princess. I was actually quite tired so I thought I’d sleep early. That was at 9 o’clock in the evening. Still, I went to sleep after 1 o’clock, next day, sort of almost morning.

Sadly, no walking meditation for me. I did get to write later in the evening. I’m trying to make myself feel better. But, I was stuck in traffic and if it’s less than 10km/hr, as in Pokemon Go, it’s walking. I contemplate when in traffic and on this day, I was strangely cognizant of everything I am and all I have in life. I was filled with gratitude despite my frustration from not being able to do all that I’d like to do, like writing. I know that life can be better but it’s good enough.

My morning and afternoon drives in traffic did not go to waste. As I pondered, I realized that we really cannot change some things. As I said before: Sometimes, life is really beyond my control. I thought that AA’s Serenity Prayer (which I found out was not originally AA’s but a prayer for a sermon written by an American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr) applies to almost everything in life.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.


Get one thing that you have been putting off done

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to attend to any of my writing work-in-progress. Being a work day, I attended to some of my least favorite to do at work. These were activities that I postponed. After all, they were not urgent. Thus, a lot of work become urgent. I do feel that I failed today.

Make a list of your habits

It was only later that it became evident that I associate habits to bad ones. This is reflected on my list below.

My habits

  • Snoozing my mobile phone alarm clock — a few times!
  • Dilly dallying before doing what I need/intend to do – I do other things first, or I let myself get distracted before I shower, before I go to bed, etc.
  • Cramming / leaving everything last minute, bathroom visit included
  • “Sporadic gambling phases”
  • Doing many things at one time

I will have to do a new list with my good habits. I sure hope I have some. 🙂 I am also working on getting rid of the nasty ones.

Ask “Why am I doing this?”

Because I am crazy and I have a restless spirit! I think…

I hope to get to know myself more. I think that the exercises enable me to be cognizant of all the things I do that I don’t think about and in recognizing them, I get a better understanding of me. The best thing about it is I become present in my life.

Wear the worst clothes you own

I didn’t get a chance to show off to the public the worst clothes I own. *grin* Today was one of those Saturdays I stayed in my pajamas the whole day from the time I woke up at about 11:00 am, even when two Filipinas (Filipino ladies) came by for an impromptu visit. I finally got to shower at midnight and put on clean pajamas. It was fantastic! It was a truly relaxing day. I felt no pressure to get dressed. Of course, it might have been different if we went out somewhere. Pajamas are not the worst clothes but they would be for going out. I sometimes wonder if I’d be turned away if I go to the mall in my pajamas.

Spend the day on your own without social media

Spending the day on my own is practically impossible. Weekend is family time, especially Sunday. We have fun together on weekends. Having a 5-year old girl means I can’t really be alone. BUT, I was superb at spending the day without social media. WordPress isn’t social media, is it? I survived the day until I went to bed at about 11:00 pm without opening/checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media apps. It proved to be a good day. I even stayed away from Whatsapp. The best thing was I didn’t do any work (related to my job).

Write down the things that annoyed you

I thought that this would be a long list. I was going to say traffic jams annoy me. The construction people annoy me. Congestion is an obvious cause of annoyance. The horrendous traffic condition is caused by construction works in the Fourways area. The problem on the road is aggravated by people’s inconsiderate attitudes. These days, it seems people are rude, selfish, egotistic and disrespectful…

I figured, bad attitudes and lack of manners annoy me.

I was also slightly annoyed that our Friday plan fell through but I later thought I needed to rest anyway so the annoyance was really short-lived.

I was going to say work calls on a Sunday annoy me but I don’t have to pick up. I can return the call when it’s convenient for me.

It dawned on me that there is little that annoy me. However, I was certainly annoyed by some people’s lack of consideration and common sense. It is worse when inconsideration messes with my beauty sleep. It isn’t rocket science to think just a little further. It takes less than a minute to check what time it is in other countries/cities. I don’t think we should be persistently calling sleeping people. There’s nothing wrong with giving up after one try and calling only hours later as opposed to minutes later for the next five hours.

Go through the notification settings on your phone

I had to turn off most of the notifications I don’t use often. I also don’t need to be notified all the time. This was a good exercise. I must say though that notifications don’t really bother me. They don’t make noise and I swipe them away.

Try some mindful cooking

I hardly cook so this was a fail for me. I did cook a few days later. I even baked. I do believe that I am always mindful in the kitchen. Doing dishes is meditation for me.

Note how much of the stuff you do isn’t for you

I think that I have pretty much mastered the art of selfishness. I am all for practicing the virtue of selfishness. I do stuff for me. At work, I didn’t do anything that’s not my responsibility. I didn’t go out of my way for anyone else. So, except for my children and hubby, I don’t really do a lot of stuff for others that are not beneficial to me. Even when I do things for others, such as for friends or relatives, I feel good so it’s basically for me, too.

Look back at where you came from and see where you are now

I look back quite often. I almost always ruminate about my life, where I was, what I’ve done and how far I’ve come. I am very much aware of my journey and I write about it sometimes. After all, I am working on the first draft of my memoir.

Pay attention to the people in the shop queue

I didn’t go to any store today. I did go [out] to the new casino complex in Menlyn, Pretoria with the family and my good friend. People-watching is a pastime for me. I have been watching people for years now. I am able to appreciate but I have to confess and ask to be excused because I also do the opposite. Apparently (hubby says), people in the north (northern suburbs of Johannesburg) are snobs. It’s fun to watch. There are those moments when I really want to reach out and help them choose their outfits and shoes.

Check email only twice

It’s a Sunday so I didn’t check my work email at all. I did go to my private email to read the blogs I follow.

Look back at your 5 last purchases and ask if you needed them
  • 15 May – Pharmacy (drug store) – 1/3 unnecessary
  • 14 May – Petrol (gas) and groceries – all necessary
  • 13 May – Time Square Casino (Ashoka, Megusto, Casino) – all unnecessary
  • 12 May – Petrol (gas) – necessary

Even the unnecessary purchases are “necessary treats”. Fine, the casino is never a need.

Thank yourself for trying so hard

I did considerably well although I could have done better. I’ll give it a try another time. I do think that I could benefit from it more next time. They were good 16 days!

Perhaps next time, you can join us/me.

8 thoughts on “Mindful Challenge Feedback

    1. My pleasure, Dr. Martina. I am so glad I took on the challenge. Thank you for sharing. I think that we can get some surprising results, depending on where we are in our life.


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