So there you go: writing another letter to yourself. In this case as part of the MOOC (online course) De-Mystifying Mindfulness you started a few weeks ago.
In the past three years you enrolled in at least a dozen online courses, but this is only the third you completed. Well done, you! I bet you never expected to make it this far, let alone complete all quizzes, write some articles plus this letter.
Thankfully, the video lectures were not too long and could be used as a podcast. Three assignments of short essays were not really a problem, because you are good with words. Even though the last one was far too boring to your liking as opposed to the theme of that module ‘Politics and/or Mindfulness.’ I know, you were so intrigued with the revolutionary evolution – the way mindfulness seems to conquer the world –, contemplating the impact of this and the possibilities of social change. Leaving you wondering if in a more mindful world, there would be no need for feminism, for instance.
On top of that you understood that there is no point in avoiding bodily sensations just because you didn’t want those to be too important. Instead, you opened up to experiences within your body for some moments. Sensing what is really happening without judgment. Bodily sensations are not all bad: feeling the wind on your skin when resting on the lounge bed in the garden, or your bum on the cushion.
You even sensed tiny new discoveries regarding awareness, things that turned out to be epiphanies. Like how you found out you felt movement at the side of your head, just below the top, when chewing. And stretching your left arm over your head, wiggling the fingers of that hand, you felt something different in your left hip, unlike stretching without moving your fingers.
Sadly, it was also hard to deal with this course and some suggestions made by the instructor, Chris Goto-Jones. Very hard, indeed, with him proposing to meet up with others for a study group or joining a mindfulness center. Last week you had visitors from abroad over who only stayed for twenty minutes, because you didn’t feel well. But, since they were only here for a short period, you didn’t want to cancel. Consequently, meeting new people outside of your home is simply not an option.
And then Goto-Jones described his classroom full of students in a heated debate which brought tears to your eyes. Being trained as an art teacher and as an art historian, you want to share your knowledge with others and love to discuss art and question the eye of the beholder, about art, philosophy and perhaps even bodily sensations and mindfulness in the context of contemporary art. Wouldn’t that be great, you sighed.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis does that to you, but at least you tried (and in this case, even made it to the end). You keep trying to find fulfillment or in some measure be at peace with your current situation, and the boundaries plus frustrations that it brings along. Given your circumstances, you are a bloody cracking woman, indeed! And I don’t rule out that one day, you might manage to write a stunning piece about mindfulness, feminism, and social change, or about art and/or mindfulness.
Just keep feeling, sensing, observing and philosophizing… there is nothing more you can do.
De-Mystifying Mindfulness by Universiteit Leiden will start again on October 16.
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This post is also available in: Dutch