S halva

First up today (after mindfulness practice): homework review, the most uncomfortable part! I hate trying to come up with something good and not feeling like a fool in front of the other girls, so I spent last week watching myself like a hawk for a good Wise Mind example (not very relaxing).

I ended up talking about the night that I got overwhelmed by homework — emotionally, I was nervous about getting it all done; reasonably, I knew it wasn’t all due the next day. I decided to do whatever was due in the following two days, and scheduled the rest to assure myself that there would be more time to do it.

After recapping last week’s skills and reviewing homework, we moved on to new skills. I was excited; I’ve actually been doing the “observing your breath” exercise (though not anywhere that other people might see, I haven’t figured out how to do it surreptitiously enough yet).

Some of the new mindfulness exercises (particularly the participate ones) seem more like those little games our Bnos counselors used to make us play (you know, the ones we deemed babyish after fourth grade or so); my first impressions were doubtful.

How can games help me stop caring what other people think?

Bashi explained that the more we practice participating without self-consciousness, the easier it’ll get. The “how” skills teach us how to participate (and observe and describe, too) properly.

The first “how” skill we learned is don’t judge. Now, I’ve never thought of myself as a judgmental person. If anything, I usually judge pretty favorably. But what I didn’t realize is just how much I judge… myself.

So for starters, my short-term goal for this week is to participate without judging myself. Joining a kumzitz or conversation without judging what comes out of my mouth is totally not happening anytime soon, so for now I’ll try singing in the shower without cringing at my own terrible singing (replacing “I sound horrible, I should never ever sing in front of anyone and maybe not even in front of myself” with “my pitch was off on that chorus, I’ll try a lower octave”).

One small step for Shalva…

(Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 667)